A lack of regular, quality representative cricket might seem like a strange reason to explain why Macquarie Valley’s junior outfits consistently perform at such an outstanding level, but Dubbo’s Lindsay Wood certainly thinks that’s the case.
Wood and Mick Fraser again teamed up to lead Macquarie’s under 16s to this summer’s Western Zone Inter-Council title, while the under-14 outfit won its division as well and the under 12s lost just once game on their way to second.
The Macquarie sides are always made up largely of Dubbo-based players, and in the eldest age group that makes the title win – which is no fluke, the maroons won three of the last four under-16 titles – all the more impressive.
That’s because Dubbo’s under 16s don’t play any other representative cricket, they’re plucked straight from their clubs to represent their council.
In comparison, Mitchell Cricket Council hosts its own Inter-District competition, which pits Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, Lithgow and the Blue Mountains against one another. Players are selected for the Black Caps from there.
Wood’s explanation for Macquarie’s continued success despite the lack of an equivalent competition is simple.
He thinks it’s because almost all of his under-16 outfit play in Dubbo District Cricket Association’s senior ranks, including a number in the RSL-Whitney Cup – the top grade.
“In the last three years we’ve really dominated (selection in) the Western Zone sides and that’s a credit to the boys (too),” Wood said.
“I think other sides might not be as exposed to tougher cricket while ours are used to that bit tougher cricket. They grow up playing senior cricket and play that bit tougher a bit earlier.”
While Wood’s point is valid, the entire Mitchell side that his outfit defeated on Sunday have played or are playing senior cricket as well, which could potentially bring the standard of each associations’ respective competitions into question.
I think other sides might not be as exposed to tougher cricket.Lindsay Wood
Sunday’s win followed back-to-back wins over each council in previous matches earlier in the season, which came after a heavy, first-up loss to Lachlan.
“Every player contributed in one way or another,” Wood said.
“We got towelled up in that first game and then we didn’t really look like losing another game.
“Mick and I just got to spend a bit more time with them and put that cricket knowledge into them. Cricket isn’t the first sport for a lot of them so it was more about that focus and having good fun.
“When it all worked, it worked beautifully.”
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