Timberjacks cut it with the best
By GEOFF HALLMANN
AFTER a solid start to the baseball season, most teams will take a break over the long weekend, while the Rex Airlines Far North Coast Timberjacks and three club sides compete in the annual Tamworth Invitational Challenge.
The Timberjacks 'A' team will take on Tamworth, Queensland Colts and two Sydney clubs.
The three-day tournament provides an exceptional standard of competition and the opportunity for Far North Coast to capture the $4000 prizemoney for the second time in three years.
Notably absent this year will be Gold Coast, affording no opportunity for the locals to continue their annual rivalry.
Coach Paul Simes has assembled a solid line-up, rivalling the 2003 team that stole the money from the home side.
Simes has a combination of youth and experience, drawn from within the FNC Major League competition and including a number of promising juniors.
Major League premiership leaders Workers have provided a solid core to the rep team, with pitchers Josh Daley and Troy Pruess joining hitters Michael McClelland, Dallas Knapp, Nathan Olley and Division 1 player and Queensland Under-16 squad member Trent Clark.
Pruess and Daley give the Timberjacks an effective battery, and it will be a strong complement to Paul Simes, Steve Ross and Jason Britt.
A solid backbone of hitters includes Shane Edwards, Matt Maguire, Ben Daly, Reece Smith and Graham Snape.
The tournament will also feature teams such as Norths, Workers and Casino in the lower grades, providing the largest Far North Coast contingent to travel to Tamworth in three years.
Norths have a solid team with speed and agility ? assets that will serve them well in the tough B-grade tournament.
The addition of a number of players from Redbirds will enhance their depth on the mound and with the bat.
In C-grade, a combined Norths and Casino team will go head to head with Workers, among other teams, in a play-off for $400 prizemoney.
Workers have an exceptionally strong side, made up of quite a number of their Division 1 players. They should reach the final.