Zachary Bayliss is keen to use his maiden crack at the McDonalds Country Championship as a gauge to see how he stands up against some of the best country cricketers in the state.
And he won’t have to wait long to get a crack at one of the best.
Western will take on NSW Country powerhouse all-rounder Caleb Ziebell and his North Coastal outfit at Inverell’s Varley Oval in game one of the 2018 country championships on Friday.
Bayliss is the bolter in a new-look 13-man Western squad led by Dubbo’s Mitch Bower but the Parkes star says he’s going out there this weekend and backing himself at the next level.
“I was shocked to make the squad, but it was a good surprise,” Bayliss said.
“I’ve played a little bit cricket so far this season but I’ve been in-form. I’ll go out there and back myself but it’s going to be an experience.
“I’m expecting to learn a lot, really. These guys are the best in the country.”
Bayliss has had two decent digs for his club, the Cambridge Cats, so far this season and top scored for Parkes with a knock of 51 in the their opening game of the Western Zone Premier League against Cowra.
It’s going to be an experience ... I’m expecting to learn a lot.- Western batsman Zachary Bayliss
The 22-year-old is the only player in the Western side that’s from outside of Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst and says standing out in a small-town side can be tough.
“It is and it isn’t ... you’ll be noticed if you’re going well though,” he said.
Bayliss is joined by a host of players that enjoy taking the game on, including young star Brock Larance and the zone’s own big-hitting all-rounder Ben Patterson.
That Dubbo connection will be key for a Western side gunning for a spot in the final, which will be against the winners of the southern pool at Bradman Oval later this month.
“That’s the main goal, making the final,” Bayliss said. “It’s a young team and it’s more about gelling as a group and getting a few wins on the board.”
Western takes on North Coastal from 10am, with game two against Central Coast and then their final pool match against Central Northern, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
- WESTERN: Mitch Bower (c), Tom Atlee, Zachary Bayliss, Nic Broes, Jackson Coote, Matthew Corben, Josh Doherty, Marty Jeffrey, Darryl Kennewell, Brock Larance, Ben Patterson, Matt Stephen