Harwood juniors get chance to shine
CRICKET: Harwood will be missing three of its key personnel as they aim to continue their successful start to the North Coast Premier League season at Harwood Oval.
But it has not taken away from the team's intent as they aim up for the first "local derby” of the season against joint venture Coutts-Coffs Colts.
All-rounders Ben McMahon and Brandon Honeybrook, as well as wicket-keeper Hayden McMahon will all be out for the clash today as they represent North Coastal Zone at the NSW Country Championships in Inverell.
The opening in the squad has given an opportunity to a few of Harwood's burgeoning juniors with Zac McMahon, Josh Johnson and Oscar Pilon all stepping up for the side.
It will also give young all-rounder Hayden Ensbey an opportunity to shine with the bat up the order.
"Haydo has been in the side for over a year now and he has really impressed with the way he has grown in that time,” captain Nathan Ensbey said.
"He will go up the order a bit which should give him a bit more time with the bat than usual, and I can't wait to see what he does with the chance.”
Pilon started the year with the Harwood side last weekend in their opening win against Nambucca Valley, and Ensbey said his value in the field was almost unmatched.
"I can see him becoming a regular in the first grade ranks this season,” he said. "He has earned his stripes playing for our under-16 representative ranks in the Lower Clarence.
"He is quite mature for his age and has quite a good attitude, and there is a chance he will take the gloves for a bit this weekend.”
Ensbey also heaped praise on recruit Harry Bird, who impressed on debut for the club last week guiding the side to a six-wicket win with an unbeaten 44 off 53 balls.
"He hadn't played a lot of cricket in the past couple of years so he took a bit of time but was very happy to dig in and score runs,” Ensbey said.
The Colts side will aim to avenge their early season hiccup against Sawtell last weekend, with captain Luke Cox keen for the challenge of going up against a former foe.
Colts have also lost a few players for this weekend, with Coutts Crossing first grade fast bowler Hayden Ensbey getting the opportunity to step up for the side.
"It will definitely be a bit of a challenge, but it always is against Harwood,” Cox said.