SOUTH Tamworth will enter the new cricket season without one of its most potent bowling weapons.
Fast bowler Tom O'Neill has opted to sit out the summer of cricket, instead choosing to focus on his blossoming coaching career.
Taking the reins as the Central North under-18 coach, O'Neill said the time was right for him to "have a year off".
"Things have been a bit full on lately with the coaching and everything, so I thought just having a year off would be pretty handy," O'Neill told the Leader.
"I have been coaching the under-18 Central North side and an academy side, so I want to give them a bit more of my focus."
O'Neill said his coaching roles were "very enjoyable".
"For me it is really great to see the young guys take something you have taught them and use it in a game," he said.
"I'm really enjoying coaching at the moment and it will all start to pick up in the lead up to Christmas.
"From there it eases up a bit, but picks up again in the new year. I'm really enjoying it so far and I'm looking forward to what's ahead."
A NSW country representative, O'Neill took 25 wickets for Souths last season, taking his total to 119 wickets since joining the club in 2015-16.
"I still really enjoy my cricket, but I am just keen to give coaching a good go," O'Neill said.
"My body is still feeling really good as well.
"I'll definitely be keeping tabs on how Souths are going, but I have decided to take the year off."