WESTERN Zone coach Trent Colley is confident he has exhausted every possible avenue to ensure his side is at its best throughout this weekend’s NSW Country Under 17s Championship at Raymond Terrace.
And the form of the zone’s best up-and-coming cricketers would suggest he’s right.
Whether it be in the Independent Schools Association, with the Mitchell Cricket Council’s under 16s side or in the Dubbo District Cricket Association first grade competition, the majority of the side is taking wickets or scoring runs.
Batsmen Charlie Litchfield and Jeremy Judge both compiled impressive knocks for Mitchell’s under 16s last weekend, with Litchfield’s 130 and Judge’s 68 helping their side to 4-268.
At the same time, quick Ben Patterson took 5-32 for club side Newtown in Dubbo.
And they’re just the cream of the crop.
“The boys are performing exceptionally well,” Colley said, following on from his side’s wins in the Rod Hartas Trophy against St George and Uni of NSW.
“Hopefully it translates into some sort of form for us over the weekend.”
Western Zone has been competitive without setting the world on fire at the under 17s level for the last decade.
Colley was optimistic about his side’s shot at improving its record this weekend when Western meets Riverina and Central Coast over the next two days, labelling the team’s preparation “up there with the best in the under 17s level”.
But, with six of the 13-man squad eligible to again play at under 17s level in 2013-14, it’s more than likely this championship will be a stepping stone to a bigger and better campaign next summer.
Still, Colley was expecting to see plenty of good cricket over the three days.
“We’ve worked hard over the last six months with training camps and preparing the team and getting the boys in the right mindset to be successful,” he said.
“The biggest thing for me now is to get the guys’ warm-ups going well so they’re prepared to play.
“I’m just looking forward to sitting back and enjoying some good cricket.”
Western Zone begins its under 17s campaign today at Raymond Terrace against Riverina.
Following tomorrow’s game against the Central Coast, Western Zone will then play two Twenty20s against Illawarra and Southern.
WESTERN ZONE: Henry Hunt (c), Charlie Litchfield, Nick Duffy, Michael Waldren, Jeremy Judge, Ben Page, Max McIhatton, Stuart Fredericks, Nick Chapman, Ben Patterson, Corey Suckley, Mick Corbett, Callem Taylor.