Central North have been bolstered by the inclusion of Will Fort as they chase home NSW Country Colts Championship success this week.
Fresh from helping the ACT/NSW Country under-19s take out the national championships, Fort will lead the side at Narrabri.
The leading run-scorer at last year’s championships in Tamworth, selectors originally thought he was unavailable.
He comes into the carnival in good form, notching two half centuries in Adelaide, and will solidify the home side’s batting.
“He’s obviously a good player. If he can dominate that level above he’ll be very handy this level,” co-coach Tom Groth said.
Groth is in charge of the side along with Tom O’Neill and Jeff Cook, and said it is a pretty strong squad.
“We’ve got some depth in the bowling and got a bit of variety as well. We’ve got a left-arm spinner, a left arm quick and a couple of right arm quicks,” Groth said.
He expects the slow bowlers to play a “pretty big role” particularly later in the week with the decks at Narrabri traditionally not providing much sideways movement.
They are well covered for slow options with Sean Gibson’s left-arm orthodox to compliment the leg spin of Conrad George and Kaleb McIlveen.
Isaac Barry, and pace duo Jackson Gywnne and Jack Montgomery have already pulled on the baggy red this season, stepping up to the Central North opens side for last month’s championships in Inverell.
Groth captained that side and was impressed by the trio.
Barry was the next best performer, behind Fort, for the Central North side last year and is expected to again be a key with the bat, Groth noting that they bat deep.
“We bat to 11. That’s important for a carnival,” he said.
As is starting well.
“Getting a win nice and early gives everyone a bit confidence and creates a good feeling,” Groth said.
“The first two days will be crucial. You don’t want to be chasing your tail.”
He also spoke about the importance of gelling as a team.
“I think obviously we’re only together for four days so I think the team that finds a way to play as a team quickly will be the most successful team,” he said.
Central North begin their campaign against Western at Collins Park on Monday.
Central North Colts: Shannon Threlfo, Lachlan Barton, Conrad George, Jackson Gwynne, Jack Montgomery, Liam Rodgers, Jack Sylvester, Henry Smith, Adam McGuirk, Kaleb McIlveen, Will Fort (c), Rex Greaves, Sean Gibson, Jacob Page, Isaac Barry. Coaches: Tom O’Neill, Tom Groth and Jeff Cook.
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