ALL-ROUND TALENT: Cudgen fast bowler Caleb Ziebell sends one down against Marist Brothers in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket. Ziebell has been selected for NSW Country for a second straight season.
ALL-ROUND TALENT: Cudgen fast bowler Caleb Ziebell sends one down against Marist Brothers in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket. Ziebell has been selected for NSW Country for a second straight season. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Ziebell gets nod for Country again

FAR North Coast cricketer Caleb Ziebell has made the NSW Country cricket team for the second straight season.

The Cudgen all-rounder is one of three under-23 players selected and was an obvious choice after his performances last summer.

He was one of four Bush Blues chosen in the Australian Country merit team at the end of the Australian Country Championships in Western Australia.

Ziebell was named the player of the Twenty20 final after a stunning 110 not out from 60 deliveries against Queensland.

He was the leading run-scorer at the Country Championships with 395 runs at an average of 43.89.

Ziebell and Ballina Bears batsman Justin Moore were the only FNC players in the North Coast team for the NSW Country Championships at Port Macquarie last month.

They opened the batting with Moore 162 not out and Ziebell 99 not out in a 10-wicket win over Central North.

Ziebell scored 71 before he was run out in a 74-run loss to Central Coast.

He is yet to fire with the bat in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League this season with Cudgen winless in the two-day competition and needing some big performances to kick-start their premiership defence.

South Tamworth gloveman Tom Groth will lead a 14-man Bush Blues squad to defend their title at the Australia Country Championships in Shepparton, Victoria, in January.

The NSW Country selectors have named seven debutants and three players under the age of 23 for the carnival.

Last season the Bush Blues claimed their first title at the Country Championships since 2012-13.

Groth was the leading wicketkeeper at the carnival.

He held 13 catches and made three stumpings with the gloves.

His performance earned him the Ian Healy Award as wicketkeeper of the tournament.

Central Coast has the most representatives in the squad with four.

Newcastle is the second best represented zone with three debutants selected - all-rounder Adrian Chad and batsmen Jed Dickson and Josh Geary.

The other four debutants named are all-rounder Chris Archer (Central Coast), Alec Baldwin (North Coast), Dubbo all-rounder Ben Patterson (Western) and Adam Taylor (Central Coast).

Carnivals loom

TRIALS will be held this weekend for Far North Coast teams to play in the Lismore Under-12 cricket carnival in January.

The trials are set down for the Alstonville nets at Geoff Watt Oval tomorrow starting at 10am.

From there, 24 players will be selected to play two matches against teams from the Gold Coast on December 9 and 16.

The Under-12 carnival will be played from January 8-11.

The Ballina Under-13 carnival is on the same week, from January 7-11.

The carnival will comprise 16 teams including Ballina, Lismore and Far North Coast.