THIS cricket season, the NSW Speedblitz Blues have a wealth of Western Zone products to choose from and Carl Sharpe knows why.
Yeoval’s Chris Tremain, Bathurst’s Trent Copeland, Mudgee’s Scott Henry and Cowra’s Daniel Hughes are all in the NSW squad with Copeland, Henry and Hughes playing in Bupa Sheffield Shield match currently being played.
Add to that, Young’s Nathan Lyon went through to the Western Zone Academy before going to South Australia and eventually representing Australia.
Sharpe, the Western Zone coaching administrator, said the zone had simple but effective methods which were helping their cricketers climb the ranks.
“The secret around here is our intensive training programs. Plus we’ve got high quality coaches,” Sharpe explained.
“You look at a guy like Greg Griffiths (Bathurst) who’s been around for a long time and has a wealth of knowledge. He’s a fast bowler as well. Then there’s Trent Colley (Orange) who’s a specialist batsman and Jordan Moran (Dubbo) is a great all rounder.
“Then you’ve got the regional directors like Matt Tabbernor who go out and identify talent and direct them to the zone. There’s not too many falling through the cracks. We identify talent early and then we’ve got the coaches to take them to the next level.”
Sharpe said coaches in the region are also offered extensive training to update their knowledge and skills.
“You put all that together and you’ve got the secret to why we’re doing so well,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe said there would be very few zones who could boast having four players in the NSW squad
Imagine how good the Western Zone team would be if these players stayed in the area.
“That’s not what we’re about,” Sharpe said.
“Our object is to take them through the pathway to get them to where they want to go. We would have a very strong side if we had all the guys playing grade cricket in Sydney and higher back.”
The zone is also having success in another on-field role.
Bathurst umpire Tony Wilds has been promoted to the State Umpires Panel and is in line to get a Sheffield Shield or international match this season.
Copeland is showing his versatility in the Sheffield Shield match between NSW and Tasmania at Sydney’s Bankstown Oval.
Coming in at number nine, Copeland made 55 to help NSW to 442 in their first innings.
At stumps yesterday Copeland helped to restrict Tasmania to 3-111 with his figures of 1-28 off 14 overs.