Ed Morrish's Western Zone call-up for the McDonald's Country Cricket NSW Championship is an ultimate example of perseverance, the Orange City skipper's much-coveted, deserved selection is several seasons in the making.
Morrish, also Orange's captain, concedes a lack of consistency probably cost him a spot last summer and he admitted to moments of frustration in which he doubted he'd ever earn a Western cap.
Not unfounded either, across the board since the beginning of season 2016-17 he's taken more than 100 wickets at just 16.92 apiece and has long been on the Western Zone Premier League's leading quicks.
At one stage I did wonder what more I could do ... so it's nice to get the reward for the hard work.Western Zone quick Ed Morrish
"I've always done okay in terms of taking wickets, but consistency has been an issue in the past. There were times I'd be on one day and take five or six, but then be off for three or four weeks and then take another handful after that," Morrish said.
"Being consistent and chipping in with one, two, three wickets every week is really important and I've probably only been doing that the last summer or two, which might have been the difference."
Although he didn't say in so many words, Morrish basically forced the selectors' hands.
Last summer he took almost 40 scalps at a tick over 19, snaring 30 of them as he skippered Orange City to a second straight Orange District Cricket Association title and the Royal Hotel Cup grand final as well. He cleaned up a handful of the club's most prestigious awards as a result.
He's brought that form into this summer too, already taking 12 scalps at 14 apiece, with all but one of those coming in either the Premier League or Central West's unbeaten Cricket NSW Plan B Regional Bash preliminary campaign.
And that's just with the ball, he cemented his all-rounder status by averaging almost 40 with the bat for Orange City last summer and he's already blasted a half-ton in the Premier League this season too.
"I was hopeful, but I still wasn't expecting to be named this summer," Morrish said.
"I've probably genuinely been eyeing off a Western spot for the last two or three seasons and outside last summer I was never too disappointed to miss out, I thought I was a shout last year.
"At one stage I did wonder what more I could do, to be honest, but I had a pretty good summer after missing out and I've started well this season, so it's nice to get the reward for the hard work. I'm stoked."
Morrish is among a horde of debutants for Western's Southern Pool campaign at Goulburn, from November 8-10, with Kinross' James Larkin the other Bluebaggers gun given the nod.
Incumbent wicketkeeper-bat and reigning ODCA cricketer-of-the-year Matt Corben was reportedly unavailable for Friday's first clash, and therefore wasn't named in this summer's squad.
"It's no surprise to see 'Larko' named. He's played a much higher level of cricket than this and you can tell that in the way he carries himself, I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do at the next level," Morrish said.
"He's just a really classy bat. He made that 70-odd [in the Wranglers' opening round win over Orana] in his first bat since last summer and din't really look like getting out. He was good across the weekend for Central West and he scored for runs for Kinross on the weekend, he's certainly in form."
Western Zone take on Illawarra in their championship opener on Friday, November 8 before taking on ACT-Southern Districts and Riverina over the next two days.
"I have no idea what to expect," Morrish admitted.
"We played Illawarra in the Regional Bash but no doubt they'll have a very different side in 50-over cricket, so it's just about taking it as it comes I think and trying to do my bit for the side, here's hoping we can pick up a few wins."
- WESTERN ZONE: Jameel Qureshi (Bathurst - captain), Jaden Ekert (Bathurst), Marty Jeffrey (Dubbo), Brock Larance (Dubbo), James Larkin (Orange), Ed Morrish (Orange), Henry Shoemark (Bathurst), Matt Skinner (Dubbo), Connor Slattery (Bathurst), Myles Smith (Parkes), Matt Stephen (Bathurst), Mitch Taylor (Bathurst), Brent Tucker (Parkes), Imran Qureshi (Bathurst)
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