They’ve done the job with the new ball for Tamworth and Landan Price and Matt Holmes are ready to rip in for Central North in their Kookaburra Cup quest in Armidale this week.
The bowling duo will be joined by Tamworth under 14s Blues team-mates Kilian Apen, Jack Hamilton and Callum Henry for what will be four days of some of the toughest cricket they have played.
Henry knows that first hand after keeping for last years Kookaburra Cup side.
One of two bottom age players then, he said it was a bit daunting at the start but he got more comfortable in his role as the week went on, and was pretty happy with how he performed.
“Except for the last day,” he qualified.
The Tamworth contingent have all been among the runs and/or wickets so far this season.
After starting the season with a first day 67 followed by a brilliant 103 at the Central North Invitational Carnival, Hamilton has scored three half-centuries – a 70* and an 87 in the Northern Inland competition, and 52 for his South Tamworth second grade side the game before Christmas.
“It’s going alright,” he humbly assessed his season, intimating he would like a few more runs in second grade.
Henry has also been enjoying a pretty fruitful season with the bat.
“It’s been pretty good. I’ve scored a couple of half-centuries in third grade (for City),” he said.
He also scored 92 at the Central North carnival.
Price and Holmes have meanwhile formed a formidable opening partnership, and are hoping to do the same this week.
“One puts the pressure on and the other is taking wickets,” Price said, adding jokingly that “normally it’s Matt that gets the wickets”.
After starting the season in third grade for North Tamworth, the right-arm quick has played most of the season in second grade.
Apen will provide spin back up.
Another talented youngster coming through City’s ranks, the right arm offspinner has has a pretty good season.
“I had a bit of a dry spell in the middle but it’s picked up again,” he said.
Central North open their campaign against North Coastal at the Armidale Sportsground on Monday and will go in confident after thumping them in a recent trial game.
After making 5-143, with Henry and Hamilton both among the runs, Holmes, Price and Apen helped them dismiss the coastal side for just 82. At one stage they had them 6-20.
In the other first day clashes, Illawarra face Newcastle at The Armidale School, Central Coast take on Western at Rologas and ACT Southern match up against Riverina at Harris Park.
Central North under 14s: Lachlan Page (C), Baylee Borrow, Sam Johnson, Callum Henry, Tommy Dixon, Jack Hamilton, Max Farmer, Jed Collins, Matt Holmes, Kilian Apen, Landan Price, Jake House, Ryan Simpson. Coaches: Barry Smith, Tom O'Neill