THE stranglehold Dubbo once had on the Western Zone looks to be over after seven players from the combined Lachlan-Mitchell earned selection in the zone’s 13-man squad for the upcoming Country Championships.
Named after a rain-affected trial at Orange’s Riawena Oval yesterday, Orange’s Trent Colley, Nathan Rosser and Craig Wallace won selection alongside Bathurst’s Josh Toole, Blue Mountains quick James Heath and Parkes duo Pat Rosser and Scott Knights.
Western Zone chairman of selectors Matthew Crawley said despite the rain delays, he was impressed with how all 22 players performed.
“A few questions were answered from a selector’s point-of-view,” Matthews said.
“It was a tough call on a couple of positions but we think we’ve come up with a pretty competitive side to go away.”
Dubbo still hold the majority in the squad with captain Tim Cox joined by Declan Hoare, Tom Quilter, Ian Redpath, Jason Ryan and Ben Strachan.
Last year, Dubbo had nine players earn Western Zone selection.
Out in the middle, Orange wicketkeeper-batsman Wallace filled in at the top of the order for Macquarie Valley and made the most of the opportunity, hitting 28 and along with Redpath (30), Ryan (40) and Hoare (57 not out), shone in a total of 7-197.
With the ball, Lachlan-Mitchell’s Heath (2-26) and Bathurst-based skipper Russell Gardner (2-17) were the only multiple wicket-takers.
But that was as good as the game would get.
Lachlan-Mitchell fought hard to get to 4-86 from 37 overs on a damp Riawena Oval wicket.
Opening batsman Colley (23) shone, while the middle-order duo of Nathan Rosser (30no) and Toole (18no) combined for a fifth-wicket stand of 49 before the weather finally ended the trial.
Crawley said any batsman that got runs yesterday had to work hard to do so.
“For Mitchell, who probably had the worst of the conditions, Nathan Rosser was exceptional, Trent Colley did a good job at the top of the order and Josh Toole batted well. Those guys were probably the standouts with the bat,” he said.
In two weeks’ time, Western Zone play at the Country Championships against Central North before taking on country cricket powerhouse Newcastle.
Their last game of the pool phase is against North Coast.
“We’re confident we have a really strong squad,” Crawley said.
“We had a strong group last year and we believe this group is comparable with that group. We expect to do well.”
❏ WESTERN ZONE SQUAD: Tim Cox (c - Dubbo), Trent Colley (Orange), James Heath (Blue Mountains), Declan Hoare (Dubbo), Scott Knights (Parkes), Tom Quilter (Dubbo), Ian Redpath (Dubbo), Nathan Rosser (Orange), Pat Rosser (Parkes), Jason Ryan (Dubbo), Ben Strachan (Dubbo), Josh Toole (Bathurst), Craig Wallace (Orange).
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