Anything less than finals appearances at the 2018 Indoor Cricket Nationals will be a disappointment for the NSW Country Cyclones after a strong showing during the long weekend’s training session.
Players from all over the state converged on Dubbo Sportsworld on the weekend, as the Cyclones took on the ACT and NSW Metro in the under 13s, 15s, 17s and 21s.
Every team played at least two matches in a major hit-out before the national titles at Toowoomba in July.
“It was a good challenge, particularly for those kids who haven’t played at this level before. They see what it’s all about,” Dubbo’s Dan French, co-coach of the NSW Country Cyclones boys’ under 13s side, said.
“In the 13s we’ve got 10 new players so it was a bit of an eye-opener for them.”
A major part of the weekend for all the Cyclones side is gelling and creating some team unity.
With players coming from all over the state, training sessions are impossible so the bulk of the teams were meeting each other for the first time at Dubbo.
With roles now starting to be developed, French has high hopes for his side and all the other Cyclones outfits at Toowoomba.
“The ACT was strong in the 15s and 13s and I expect their 15s to go a long way,” French said after taking in the weekend’s action.
“All our sides should make finals and I think the 17s will really give it a red-hot crack and that’s a good thing.
“Metro were solid too so I’d be surprised if they’re not around the finals as well.”
That attitude shows just how far the Cyclones has come.
French can remember a time when expectations were much lower around the regional outfits but a number of areas, namely Dubbo, have strengthened their local competitions. That has boosted the Cyclones and made NSW Country one of the strongest group of sides in the country.
“We’ve come a long way. I can remember when we first started and finished last and second-last but now no sides in finals is a failure,” he said.
“It’s really good to have country kids punching above their weight, especially with training being non-existent because of the size of the area.”
French said each Cyclones side will have one more hit-out before the national titles.
There’s a strong Dubbo presence in every Cyclones side that will be going for glory, while Tom Atlee and Thomas Nelson will double up and play in both the 17s and 21s.
The mens’ open-age 2018 Indoor Cricket Nationals are played in the first week of July at Toowoomba and that is followed by the junior championships.