The Tamworth under-14s will make an overdue return to the pitch in Newcastle this week.
It's been over two months since they last played a game. They had bye in the last round before Christmas of the Central North junior competition, and their game before that was washed out.
"I'm looking forward to going down and seeing how we perform as a team," manager Simon Hood said.
He said they probably weren't at their best in their first two games but did also play what, in his opinion, is the two best teams in Maitland Maroon and the Tamworth under-15s.
Tamworth has been sending teams to the Newcastle carnival since their own under-14s carnival pulled up stumps, and it is always a good challenging week, Hood said.
"The good part about a carnival is you get everyone together, and you get to play some cricket but you also get to build that camaraderie," he said.
"We've got a couple of team activities planned.
"We're going to have a pizza night on the beach."
They will be without opening bowler Tom Holmes. He will be playing for the Northern NSW under-14s at the State Challenge in Dubbo.
"It's a great opportunity for him," Hood said.
As it will be for Archie McMaster, who is coming up from the under-13s to play for them.
The young gun is having a season to remember, and was at the recent under-13s carnival at Ballina named allrounder of the carnival and player of the tournament after scoring 134 runs at an average of 44.67 and taking seven wickets at an average of 6.57. He also had three catches and one run out.
"We've lost a bowler and gained a very good allrounder," Hood said.
He has had a bit to do with McMaster in the past.
"He's a cricketaholic," he said.
The carnival will feature a mix of Twenty20 and 40-over games.
"Our first two games on Monday are T20s, and then it's 40 overs for the rest of the carnival," Hood said.
That will be one of the challenges for them - how they adapt to the different formats. Playing back-to-back cricket will be another good challenge, and learning curve.
"We'll be stressing to them how to recover and keep hydrated, and teaching them about fatigue management," Hood said.
They have Blacktown followed by the home side on Monday.
It will be a full week of cricket.
On their way back, they have organised to play their round 7 Central North clash against Coalfields on Friday.
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