AS Parkes opener Anthony Heraghty plundered boundary upon boundary to bring up 178 of his side’s mammoth total of 5-380 against Orange in the Western Zone Premier League on Sunday, the powers-that-be in Orange’s set up must have been wondering what if.
What if Orange had its best side out in the middle?
Even if only for one week.
Representative cricket has been the bane of the Orange District Cricket Association since the senior side won the Western Zone final of the SCG Country Cup in December 2010.
Since that game Orange has had a staggering 44 players don the baggy blue.
Considering a five-team competition has been operation for the majority of that time, 44 is an unfathomable number of players to have started in 15 games of representative cricket.
It’s tough to win rep games on a regular basis.
With such a large turnover it’s nigh on impossible.
I’m not privy to all the goings on at ODCA selection meetings, but something is amiss in Orange cricket if those in charge of picking teams have had to call upon such a large number of players to field an open representative team in just two summers.
No one is arguing the standard of cricket in Orange has slowly declined over the years.
Shift work has played its part and most teams week-in, week-out field a slightly different first grade XI.
You also can’t begrudge players wanting to spend their Sundays with family.
But has the standard of cricket in Orange slipped to the point we’re 199 runs worse off than Parkes?
Has the pride associated with playing for Orange completely disappeared?
Does anyone care?
Maybe they don’t, but it’s obvious most other towns still do, and Parkes is the perfect example of that.
But the best 12 players in the ODCA are more than capable of cutting the mustard against the zone’s premier cricketers.
If I were assigned to pick an Orange side, it’d look like this: Richie Venner, James Ryan, Matt Findlay, James Conn, Shaun Grenfell, Stu Middleton, Adam Shepherd, Lincoln Duncan, Hugh Le Lievre, Jackson Coote, Liam Gough, Al Dhatt.
Experience mixed with form, this side would be able to compete for both the WZPL title and another shot at the SCG Country Cup final eight.
I’m sure co-coaches Steve Warrington and Steve Ryan would have loved to made the trip to Parkes last Sunday with this side.
It would have made the bus trip home a little more fun.
Sadly, I don’t think they’ll ever get the chance.
It’ll be a battle this summer against the likes of Dubbo, Bathurst and an impressive Cowra, and if Orange is a hope of bringing up a win this season it’ll have to be in a dogfight against proud Mudgee and Blue Mountains outfits.