Going first class all the way

Stewart Sutherland

Colac district’s Country Week squad will go first-class all the way this year.
As well as having their accommodation and transport covered for the first time ever, the district’s top stars will also play on two of the state’s highest-rated country cricket grounds.
As part of its Division Three fixture, Colac District Cricket Association’s representative team will play on Victorian Premier Cricket grounds Geelong and Punt Road Oval.
Colac District will start its campaign against Gisborne District Cricket Association at Geelong Cricket Ground on day one of the tournament.
On day three, Colac travels to Punt Road Oval in Richmond to take on Benalla District Cricket Association.
Seymour District, Yarra Valley – both Division Four elevations – and Wangaratta District will also play in Division Three during the five-day carnival starting on February 7.
Colac District skipper Leighton Hart said the squad’s batsmen would appreciate playing on Premier Cricket-calibre turf wickets after a frustrating season plagued by rain.
“The biggest thing this year has been the rain,” Hart said.
“There hasn’t been that continuity of playing cricket week after week so it’s been hard on the batsmen, there hasn’t been a lot of runs scored,” he said.
“Apart from David Dunne, no one has really fired up with the bat this year.
“But hopefully playing on these really good decks, it will be a good opportunity for guys to find some form.”
Selectors released a 20-man Country Week squad this week, chosen from the initial 37-man group.
The squad will have one main training session – at Colac Lake Oval on January 30.
The association has made the week “cost neutral” for players and has secured sponsors in a bid to make the experience more professional and lure the district’s top stars.
The strategy appears to have worked, with classy Colac batsman Stewart Sutherland and City United speedster Kane Leersen among a “core group” of players already committed to playing the full week.
Selectors are confident Division One’s main man, Warrion all-rounder David Dunne, and Alvie spearhead Jake McGuane will be available for at least two games, if not the whole week.
The “full week” stable also includes City United skipper Matt Nelson, Alvie wicket-keeper batsman Liam McGuane and Apollo Bay spinner Matt Beckett.
Alvie’s Country Week veteran Mark Kent and Irrewarra skipper Tim Foley are the vice-captains.
Hart said the squad could change before the tournament and players not named in the 20-man squad could still be asked to play.
“We’re still ringing around different blokes checking on their availability,” Hart said.
“We’ve got a core group of guys that will play the whole week,” he said.
“Then it’s just a matter of working in guys that can only commit to a couple of days and working out which days they can play.”

Comments are closed.