Rock solid for regional bash
FIVE top-order batsmen will be the key for Northern Rivers Rock in the NSW Plan B Regional Bash Twenty20 competition next month.
Tait Burns, Abe Crawford, Jayden Hoare, Justin Moore and Caleb Ziebell will bring plenty of experience in the first round of the competition at Port Macquarie on October 6-7.
They will need to get past the Coffs Coast Chargers, Macquarie Coast Stingers and Northern Inland Bolters to book a spot in the state finals at the SCG in December.
The Rock have performed well in the past reaching the semi-finals last year and playing under lights in a final against Orana at the SCG in 2016.
"The other teams will be a bit stronger this year with players who have come back from Sydney but hopefully we'll be there again," Northern Rivers coach Phil Melville said. "We want to be back playing on the SCG and it would be a great experience for our guys that haven't played there."
Most of the team have played in the regional bash with opening bowler Terry Murphy and top-order batsman Nathan Hoey joining the squad this season.
They have lost some experience with all-rounder Sam Adams, opening bowler James Julius and wicket keeper-batsmen Adam Rogers unavailable.
Hoey is better suited to the longer version of the game but brings plenty of experience having scored 1570 runs over the past three seasons in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League.
"He's demonstrated that he can hit the ball as far as anyone and all the selectors backed him when he made himself available to play," Melville said. "If the top order fails you want someone like him out there who can graft out a few overs and steady the ship.
"The game can change dramatically by the ball in T20 and we saw that last year where Lachlan Barnsley got us home in a game.
"We're probably a bit short of a spinner if Anthony Kershler doesn't play but it looks like we'll be stronger in the middle order.
"We've picked Connor Ziebell for his bowling but he is someone who can stick around for a few overs and score some runs."