WESTERN Zone selectors have shown faith in last year’s country championship-winning side, naming nine returning players in the zone’s 13-man squad set to defend the title at Wade Park in two week’s time.
After a weekend where only Macquarie opener Mitch Bower stood up to be counted with the bat courtesy of a knock worth 101, zone chairman of selectors Neil Doherty said there was little option but to keep the faith in last year’s group.
Suspended Mitchell batsman Trent Colley is the biggest surprise, having not played a game this season.
Orange spearhead Liam Gough also got the call-up despite not playing for Mitchell in 2013-14 thanks mainly to HSC commitments and a side strain that ruled him out of Saturday’s loss to Macquarie.
Doherty said selections were based on past performances, with the likes of Colley picked on reputation after helping guide Western Zone to last year’s country championship title as well as handling a similar role with the successful Bush Blues.
“Trent’s a country player, was our best bat last year by a long way and based on past performances and no one standing up to take his place,” Doherty said.
Gough was also last year’s leading wicket taker at the country championship with 10 scalps in four games.
After taking out the inter-council trials with a hard-fought three wicket win over Macquarie yesterday at Wade Park, Lachlan skipper Pat Rosser will lead Western Zone alongside Lachlan teammates Anthony Heraghty, Phil Dunford and Joe Kershaw.
Macquarie boasts six players led by Tim Cox, Jordan Moran, Ryan Medley, James O’Brien, Jason Ryan and Bower.
Bathurst’s Josh Toole is the other Mitchell representative.
Hitting 88 as Lachlan chased down Macquarie’s total of 175 with three wickets to spare, Rosser said a solid start in the morning session set up his side’s win.
“We got a few quick wickets, got on top and we closed the innings down,” Rosser said.
And he was confident the same premise would be successful as Western Zone prepares to take on the pressure associated with being defending champions.
WESTERN ZONE: Pat Rosser (c), Tim Cox, Mitch Bower, Trent Colley, Phil Dunford, Liam Gough, Anthony Heraghty, Joe Kershaw, Ryan Medley, Jordan Moran, James O’Brien, Jason Ryan, Josh Toole.