The Orange Invitational XI kicks off its Western NSW Under-13 Carnival against last summer’s victors Mosman on Monday, which by anyone’s standards is a tough first-up encounter.
Orange District Junior Cricket Association vice-president Matt Winslade thinks Orange is a real chance to down the reigning champions though, and says the black and golds will push the more highly-fancied Sydney and ACT sides all week.
But, he admitted, the carnival is as much about gaining experience for Orange as it is about winning.
“It is a bit of both, definitely,” Winslade said.
“Because it’s in our own backyard we always like to give the Orange kids an opportunity to gain this kind of experience and be exposed to this level of cricket, those Sydney and ACT sides.
“They certainly won’t disgrace themselves either. Last year Mosman won it, but I think our boys will do well against them.
“We’ll have a bit of a connection there too, Mosman might be a bit short on a couple of days so some Orange players will fill in there.
“We’ve done that in the past, it’s another good way to get our kids some experience but also helps those visiting sides out so they don’t have to forfeit or not come at all.”
Winslade was loathe to single out any of the Orange XI as potential stars during the week, but did say the side is very well balanced.
“I think it’ll be more of a team effort than any individuals really shining, it’s a well balanced side,” Winslade said.
“I’d hate to single any of them out anyway.”
Orange will have somewhat of an advantage before the carnival even kicks off on Monday, because few of the visiting sides will ever have played on turf before this week.
“A lot of our kids have played on turf, and they’ll know the Orange wickets so yeah, I guess it is an advantage for them,” Winslade said.
Orange City phenom Ben Anderson headlines the 13-strong Orange group as skipper and is joined by four other Warriors in Harry Gutterson, Jono Rasmussen, Jarryd Seib and Angus Staniforth while CYMS are the next best represented club.
Four of the green and golds’ up-and-comers received the call-up, with Nick Murphy set to take the gloves and Rowan McFarlane, Hugh Thornhill and Rayne Canham all named as well.
Kinross trio Arnie Tancred, Hugh Thompson and Luke Hunter, along with Waratahs’ Lawson Hamling, round out the squad.
The Orange XI will take on South Coast and Shoalhaven after Mosman, before the finals on Thursday.
Winslade was succinct in his answer when asked which teams head into this week’s Western NSW Under-13 Carnival as favourites.
“ACT, it has to be the ACT sides,” he said.
Winslade didn’t miss a beat in nominating the two Emerging Comets sides, saying Cricket ACT has long been a supporter of the carnival and its teams continually show up to play.
They’ll be there or thereabouts again,” Winslade said.
“They have very strong sides and they always come to play, they’re here to have a good time and that sort of thing but they’re also here to win, without a doubt.
“Any of the Sydney-based sides, a lot of the time we don’t actually know what they’re going to bring but they’re normally strong.
“Mitchell played in the final last year. Who knows really, but I’d say the ACT will be right up there again.”
In the carnival openers on Monday, Orange plays Mosman, Mitchell plays Blacktown, ACT Gold plays Manly Warringah, ACT Blue plays Dubbo, Penrith plays Shoalhaven, Wagga Wagga plays Illawarra, Northern Districts plays South Coast and Lachlan plays Parramatta.
All games start at 10.30am.
ORANGE INVITATIONAL XI: Ben Anderson ©, Harry Gutterson, Jono Rasmussen, Jarryd Seib, Angus Staniforth (Orange City), Hugh Thornhill, Rayne Canham, Nick Murphy (wk), Rowan McFarlane (CYMS), Arnie Tancred, Hugh Thompson, Luke Hunter (Kinross), Lawson Hamling (Waratahs)
MITCHELL: George Cumming (Orange), Cooper Brien, Tom Siede, Thomas Lynch, Declan Fawkner, Hamish Siegert (Bathurst), Jim Schoeler-Jones, Charlie Griffith, Henry Horwood, Ashton Taylor (Blue Mountains), Kye Cameron, Blake Goldspink (Lithgow), Fergus Fergusson (Mudgee)