Some of Dubbo’s up-and-coming juniors will have the chance to prove themselves this week when the Western Zone under 14s and 16s play trial matches against Gordon.
Tom Coady, Patrick Nelson and Lawson Shepherd will line up in the under 14s, with Ben Wheeler and Mitch Ashford playing in the 16s.
Western Zone academy coach Garth Dean said it was an opportunity for some fresh faces to press for spots in the Bradman Cup and Kookaburra Cup sides.
“Ben Wheeler from Dubbo, he’s got an opportunity in the 16s tomorrow to present a case,” Dean said.
“In the 14s we’ve got Hamish Siegert [Bathurst] and Declan Fawkner [Bathurst] who haven’t really played at that level. They will all have a good opportunity, as they’re replacing a few of those established players.
“The carnivals aren’t until January for those age groups, so they’ll have that [trial] game to see what it’s like to play at that level, and then they’ll have the inter-council matches. So there’s plenty of opportunity, if they’re good enough, to press for a spot.”
Among the established players missing from Monday’s trials will be Dubbo CYMS batsman Brock Larance, who is Queensland ahead of the Cricket Australia Under 17s National Championships.
But the side still boasts a number of talents, including Ben Mitchell and Tanvir Singh, and Dean said the 16s squad looked particularly strong despite featuring a number of under 15s players.
Dean said it was great to see the depth of western zone cricket on show.
“We just keep finding these players from all over the place,” he said. “Dubbo is presenting some good players at the moment, but sometimes it’s Mitchell and sometimes it’s Lachlan.”
The Western Zone under 18s side will also play a trial against their Gordon counterparts, with selectors watching on with the Colts Country Championships in mind.
It will be the first time the age groups have all played at the same place at the same time.
Dean said it would a good opportunity for players to put their off-season training into practice. And if the trials tied in with the Western Zone Academy program, he hoped to make them a regular fixture.
“We play as a proper game, but [also] experimenting a bit with our batting orders and bowlers,” he said.
Under 14s: Harrison Bayliss, Tom Coady, Coda Sussien, Hamish Siegert, Tom Lynch, Oscar Mahon, Patrick Nelson, Sam Austin, Lawson Shepherd, Tom Roscarel, Declan Fawkner, George Cummins.
Under 16s: Tanvir Singh, Ben Mitchell, Ben Wheeler, Bailey Brien, Sam Long, Mitch Ashford, Ryan Dunn, Will Hutchinson, Hugh Middleton, Lachlan Endacott, Blake Weymouth, Ben Schofield