THE last-minute inclusion of Dubbo's Tim Cox to the Western Zone team paid off when the side took out Sunday's NSW Country Cricket Championship final.
Cox, who is the Western Zone chairman of selectors, wasn't named in the original side due to injury and he didn't play in the Southern pool carnival in Wagga Wagga earlier this month.
However, the other selectors wanted him to play in the final and the night before the decider Cox made himself available. It was a risk which paid off.
The paceman opened the bowling and took 4-24 from his 10 overs including the wickets of Central Coast's first three batsmen.
"Thankfully the conditions suited me perfectly," Cox said of the Wade Park wicket.
"I wouldn't call it a riveting opening spell. It definitely moved both ways and I was happy with that in myself because I haven't bowled in so long. To get the ball to move like that was like when I bowled back in my Sydney days.
"I got the job done and that was my role. If I could get through 10 overs straight and get us off to a good start which worked out to be 5-60 off 20. It went to plan."
Cox said he had no involvement in his selection in the Western team for the final with the exception of being asked to make himself available.
“They (the selectors) all reassured me they though it would be handy if I thought I could bowl to make myself available. So I did last night (Saturday),” he said.
“It was a bit of gamble but it was reassuring for the guys who did take that gamble.
“It’s unfortunate for the young guys to miss out. It’s not easy but there were a lot of discussions. I stayed out of my selection.”
There were some surprise selections in the initial Western Zone team after eight changes were made from the side which finished runners-up in the NSW Country competition the previous year.
Cox said the title win justified the selections.
“You’re always going to get criticism and people talking,” he said.
“That’s great for the game. Disappointment is good because that means they want to be there and they have the desire to be there.
“From a selector’s point of view, winning the championship this year and runners-up last year, I think it’s a great step in the right direction.”
One player who missed out and many expected to be selected was Bathurst’s Josh Toole.
“Josh and young Max Hope from Bathurst were discussed a lot. They’re definitely future Zone cricketers,” Cox said.
“Max probably should go off to Sydney. He’ll probably be a very good first class cricketer one day.
“The Zone’s always produced good cricketers and we do lose a lot to Sydney but that’s part of the way we provide to them. We’re a pathway.
“The results speak for themselves in this instance.”