A wet wicket failed to dampen the spirits of more than 100 rising cricket stars on day one of the Walter Taylor Shield.
Nine of the state’s best U15 teams are in Armidale to contest the coveted shield, including defending champions Penrith and 2015 winners Tamworth.
The home side opened their account in cool and windy conditions with a loss against competition heavyweights Manly Warringah.
The game was moved to the synthetic pitch at Newling Oval after the sportsground proved unplayable due to rain.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat, scoring 142.
But against a strong Manly pace attack, the locals could only manage 91 in reply.
Benji Marshall top scored for Armidale on 37 and was also the best of the bowlers with a handy 3-17 off 3 overs with the ball.
After lunch, the sportsground turf was dry enough for Armidale to backup with a second Twenty20 match against coastal side Camden Haven.
It’s the first year the short form game has been a fixture the in competition.
And Armidale skipper Henry Sindel said it was good opportunity to play both forms of the game.
“Twenty20 is one of the most exciting forms of cricket to watch,” he said.
“It's also one of the ways that you can enter into higher levels.”
But again Armidale failed to fire against Camden Haven, unable to run down their 121 total.
Coach Andrew Page said his young side worked hard but need to have a little more self-belief.
“Manly had a group of bigger stronger young men,” he said.
“And I don’t think they could have done much better against them.
“They were hitting fours and sixes where we were hitting ones and twos.
“Against Camden Haven, we should have bowled a lot better.
“And we didn’t bat with a whole lot of application.”
Title favorites Tamworth also began their campaign with a tight loss to Ballina.
The country music team’s 261 runs was not enough to stop the coastal team overhauling them in the final over of the match.
In other games, Hunter Valley rolled Lismore by three runs and Penrith also began with a win over West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook.
Tomorrow Armidale play West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook, Lismore takes on Manly Warringah and Tamworth tackles Camden Haven in the 50 over matches.
While Penrith, Hunter Valley, and Ballina play two Twenty20 matches each.
“We’ve got a younger side - nine of them are under 14s,” Page said
“We might not win it this year, but this is building for next year.”