ORANGE will next week be flooded with a record number of junior cricketers following a bumper number of nominations for the annual Western NSW Junior Cricket Carnivals.
Run by the committee of the Orange District Junior Cricket Association, the four-day under 13s carnival starting on Monday will feature 14 teams from across the state, a record number for the tournament, in its 19th year.
The following week, the under 15s carnival will boast eight sides.
ODJCA treasurer Scott Larsen said the carnival was well supported, mainly because it provided junior cricketers from Sydney the opportunity to play cricket on turf pitches.
“Some Sydney teams don’t play their rep cricket on turf,” Larsen said, with president Nick Cooper and secretary Steve Ryan the other primary organisers of the tournament.
“It’s a good opportunity for these teams, and they’re playing players they wouldn’t normally get the chance to. We promote it as four hard days of cricket.”
The under 13s carnival will be held across the city from January 6 to 9.
North Shore and Parramatta are new sides to the tournament, while Camden is returning after a three-year hiatus.
Defending champions the Northern Districts, Penrith, ACT under 12s, ACT under 13s, Wagga Wagga, Illawarra, South Coast, Shoalhaven, Lachlan, Mitchell and Dubbo are returning outfits.
The under 15s is run the following week from January 13.
Illawarra, South Coast, Shoalhaven, Mitchell, ACT under 14s, ACT Under 15s, Wagga Wagga and Dubbo will contest this year’s carnival.
The ACT under 15s is the defending champion.
Orange players will feature in the Mitchell teams, with Cooper Bingham and Sam Ridley in the under 13s, while some of the city’s best talent will line up in the under 15s, with Michael Hannelly, Hugh Britton, Charlie Mortimer, Fletcher Rose, Mitchell Winslade and Josh Coyte in the Mitchell line-up.
Pat Harris will play for South Coast.
“We hardly have any problems. There are a couple of teams that take it pretty seriously but most are very appreciative,” Larsen said.
“There’s some teams that come back year after year so we must be doing something right.”
Twenty20 matches with players selected from each participating side will be played at Wade Park on consecutive Tuesday evenings (January 7 and 14) starting at 7pm.