Tamworth pins faith in young guns

TAMWORTH selectors have come up with an exceptionally young side to face Gunnedah in Sunday’s War Veterans Cup clash at No 1 Oval in Tamworth.

Apart from opening batsmen Adam Lole and Simon Norvill, all of the side, including skipper Nick Pearson, are teenagers or in their early 20s.

It includes three in-form young players – Jack McVey, Hamish Batley and Matt Everett – who all polled the Best and Fairest three points in their Tamworth first grade victories last Saturday.

McVey also snared a hat-trick against reigning premiers South, which included the third and final scalp of NSW Country keeper Tom Groth, who is the regular Tamworth skipper.

Groth is being rested after last Sunday’s Country Cup loss to Hamilton Wickham along with Michael Rixon and Aaron Hazlewood (work).

That has left the door ajar for selectors to add Pearson and Angus McNeil – both ineligible for the Country Cup side – to come back in.

“It’s a very young side,” Pearson said.

“They are resting a few of the boys like Grothy and Mick Rixon while Aaron Hazlewood would be away working.

“However it still looks a strong side even though it is very young. 

“Matty Everett, Hamish Batley and Jack McVey have all been performing for their clubs and in great form.”

He said Everett was likely to keep, with fellow keepers Luke Fox and Layne Berry likely to play as batsmen.

“Angus and Hamish will probably take the new ball with Ben (Semmler) able to swing it about a bit. 

“Jack and Mitch Holt (left armer) complement them. 

“It’s a very versatile attack as well with Luke Paterson to bowl off-spin.”

Pearson has seen Paterson’s development first-hand at Bective and is confident he will play a valuable role on Sunday.

“He has really matured this year and he’ll be looking for a bagfull,” Pearson said. 

“He bowls the perfect line and length and does change his speed as well.”

Pearson is confident the young side can perform well in front of a home crowd too.

“It’s our first home game of the season,” he said.

“But Gunnedah will have a fairly strong side too. 

“Ben (Middlebrook) always brings a good side over for this.”

Gunnedah is  lying third in the WVC behind joint leaders Tamworth and Armidale after three of the six WVC rounds.

While Tamworth hosts Gunnedah, Armidale goes to Narrabri.

A round of MA Connolly Cup is also being played although Gunnedah has already forfeited its Southern Conference game to Narrabri.

 In the Northern Conference, Pilliga is at home to Inverell while Glen Innes plays Dumaresq Colts in their Eastern Conference match in Armidale.

TAMWORTH: Simon Norvill, Adam Lole, Nick Pearson (capt), Luke Fox, Matt Everett, Hamish Batley, Layne Berry, Mitch Holt, Luke Paterson, Ben Semmler, Angus McNeil, Jack McVey.