The best under-15 cricketers in the country will take to the crease early in the new year, and three young Tamworth tyros will be among them.
Landan Price, Callum Henry and Zac Craig received an early Christmas present when they were named in the ACT/NSW Country side to contest the nationals at Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in February.
For all three it will be their first time wearing state colours, and they can’t wait.
At 13, Craig is bottom age for the 15s, and was “pretty shocked” by his selection.
“I was pretty happy getting to the State Challenge let alone getting past it,” he said.
The two-day challenge was the final stage in the selection process.
The young leg-spinner was among the wickets on both days as he continues to hone his craft.
He has only been bowling leg-spin for about four years after making the switch from off-spin.
“I’ve been working on variations and getting more spin with my leg-spin,” he said.
Craig is also part of the Central North side that will contest the Kookaburra Cup at Albury/Wodonga from January 7-10.
It will be his first time playing at the under-14s Country carnival and he is expecting a pretty high standard of cricket.
“It’ll be fun,” he added.
After playing at the under-14s state challenge last year Price said making the state side was a goal.
He put a good case forward with Cricket NSW Country Coaching and Talent Manager Brett Rankin remarking how impressed the selectors were by the fast bowling stocks particularly Price and Nick Toohey.
“I felt like I performed pretty well. I got two wickets each day,” Price said.
He spoke about the big difference this season compared to last season being a bit more confidence. Last season if he bowled a bad ball he’d tend to bowl more of them.
This season he’s been able to get things back on track quickly.
Playing first grade has helped build his confidence.
Moving to Old Boys from North Tamworth this season he has been a regular in first grade and, until the return of Chris Coulton recently was opening the bowling.
The prospect could seem a daunting one but not to Price.
“It’s a bit more of a challenge, but it’s really the same stuff just better cricketers,” he said, adding that his game has grown with the first grade exposure.
Craig and Henry both also play local grade cricket, Craig third grade for South Tamworth and Henry second grade with City United.
Henry will be behind the stumps for the state side and will also suit up for Central North for their Bradman Cup campaign. The under-16s carnival will be held concurrently with the Kookaburra Cup.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.