Junior cricketers hit the pitch this weekend

STEAMING IN: Henry Sindel is back in the under 16 representative team to take on Northern Inland's best this season.

STEAMING IN: Henry Sindel is back in the under 16 representative team to take on Northern Inland's best this season.

Seniors returned to the pitch last weekend and now it’s the juniors’ turn to step up to the crease. 

The Armidale Association’s local competition begins on Saturday morning with under 10s taking on the newly re-formatted Milo In2Cricket competition and the under 12s through to 16s playing in the round-by-round tournament. 

While player sign-ups looked dismal in the early stages of planning the season, a number of juniors have since come forward.

Junior convener Andrew Page said he is still hoping for more youngsters to join in at the come and try day this Saturday which will be led by The Armidale School’s cricket captain Nick Farrar. 

“We have had some more teams enrol in the last week or so.

“That brings us back to about the same numbers as last year but we are down a few Milo cricketers, just haven't registered yet. 

“Nick Farrar is the facilitator for that which is good to get someone younger in rather than us old fellas all the time.

“We have six teams so far and hopefully we get another couple. 

“It is just a come and try day. 

“I am pretty confident we will just get kids rock up.

“We have reduced the size of the teams but still have the same amount of teams so that means we have less kids.” 

A host of the region’s young cricketers stepped out on to the pitch earlier than their peers with representative carnivals taking place throughout the state.

Last week a number of Armidale players stood out for Northern Inland at the Central North carnival in Tamworth. 

Sam Johnson was dangerous with both bat and ball for the under 14s while Benji Marshall piled on the runs in the under 16s. 

In more representative happenings, the Armidale selections for the Walter Taylor Shield side will commence at midday on Sunday. 

The under 12, 14 and 16 Northern Inland tournament begins in less than two weeks with Armidale taking on Tamworth. 

“I would say the 14s are in with a great chance of winning the whole competition,” Page said. 

“The 16s will hold their own in that competition but people that I have met around the traps have talked about what a strong competition it is going to be across all the towns, they all have gun sides this year.”

Page said it has taken a lot of work to get the junior competition ready in time for this weekend and the committee is excited to continue on with the success they’ve had in recent years. 

“We are just looking forward to getting going,” he said. 

“There has been a lot of planning going into it.”