War Veterans Cup: Tamworth name strong side for opener against Inverell

Good nick: City United's Tom Fitzgerald has returned from a stint in England over the winter in good form. On Sunday he will pad up for Tamworth as they open their War Veterans Cup campaign against Inverell.

Good nick: City United's Tom Fitzgerald has returned from a stint in England over the winter in good form. On Sunday he will pad up for Tamworth as they open their War Veterans Cup campaign against Inverell.

They’ve had an iron-like grip on the silverware in recent times and on Sunday Tamworth begin another War Veterans Cup title defence.

After a few structural tweaks the last couple of seasons, the competition has reverted back to it’s more traditional format.

The reigning champions host Inverell at No.1 Oval and boast a very similar side to the one that defeated Armidale in last years final

The only really new face in the side is Bective East young gun Lachie Barton.

“It’s a very strong side. I’m very confident,” batsmen Tom Fitzgerald said.

Four of the side, including skipper Tom Groth, will feature for Central North at next weekend’s Country Championships in Inverell.

One of the notable attributes is the batting quality and depth, and Fitzgerald said the likes of Simon Norvill and Adam Lole are great to play alongside and learn off.

Last season was a bit of a breakthrough season for him on the representative front. 

He was the leading run-scorer for Tamworth and finished runner-up to City United team-mate Tait Jordan in the rep player of the year.

“Hopefully I can perform in rep again, and hopefully in grade,” he said.

Spending the winter playing for Farley over in England, Fitzgerald said it was an amazing experience.

“It was one of the best times of my life,” he said.

“It was a completely different experience.”

From how the clubs operated to the structure of the competition. With only one or two teams in a town there was a lot of traveling away for games. They also play a lot of mid-week games.

“Probably midway through the season we were playing three times a week,” Fitzgerald said.

Then there are the conditions and the different challenges they create.

“The thing I found most hard was that because the bowlers weren’t quite as quick, I struggled a bit to score freely. I rely on a bit of pace on the ball,” he said.

He admittedly found himself in a bit of a rut and had to find a new way of scoring.

That was really about playing to his strengths and moving around the crease a bit more, and “really trying to get over the mental side”. 

It had the desired effect. 

“I had a bit of a rough patch in the middle but towards the end of the season I started to find a bit of form.

“I got 120 in my second last game and then 50 not out in my last so not a bad end to the season,” he said.

He scored a few other 50s in the Twenty20s and a couple of 49s in Saturday games.

He also did a fair bit of bowling and discovered he could bowl a bit better than he thought he could.

It is something he is looking to do a bit more of with City this season.