This season's Western Zone squad might be dominated by players from major centres Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange but that hasn't always been the case.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
So many of the smaller towns around the region have contributed to the game in a huge way.
Players from Parkes, Cowra, Mudgee, Gilgandra and all the way out to Bourke have played a role in the storied history of Western cricket.
A number of players from those smaller towns feature today in part four of our Western Zone top 50 players since 2000.
We're getting to the pointy end of things, here's players 20-11:
Mudgee enjoyed a great deal of success in the 1990s and 2000s and while players like Tim Lang and Scott Henry went on to represent NSW, Reynolds was the biggest star on the local scene.
The all-rounder did spend time playing in Sydney but it was back in Mudgee where he thrived, dominating the local scene and at a representative level.
Scoring a half-century and taking four wickets was a standard day out for Reynolds when playing for Mudgee or Mitchell and he became a Western Zone regular due to his sheer consistency. A classic reliable bush player.
Part of a golden generation at Parkes that contributed to some of the best cricket seen played in Western Zone.
A captain who led from the front and a classy performer with the bat who made run-scoring look easy, Rosser was always seen as a big wicket for opposition sides no matter where he was playing.
As well as leading Parkes to success in competitions like the SCG Cup, Rosser also played for Western Zone and represented the NSW Indigenous side at a number of Imparja Cup carnivals.
An elegant batter, a shrewd tactical leader, and a fierce competitor.
There's a lot to like about the way Qureshi plays the game. Like so many talented youngsters from out this way, the Blayney boy starred in the junior ranks and went on to play first grade cricket in Sydney.
He returned to the west and was immediately one of the very top few batsmen in the region.
One of the many, many highlights was helping Bathurst record a first win over Parkes in five years by scoring an unbeaten century in a SCG Cup match played in 44-degree heat.
His runs and leadership played a huge role in helping Bathurst become the dominant force in the west late last decade while he's also a former Western Zone captain.
The great story is when future Australian Test captain Michael Clarke was a kid he said he wanted to be like Brad Cox when he grew up. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter, it shows you the kind of regard the great of Dubbo cricket is held in.
While now he may be seen as a tough-as-nails middle-order bat, Cox was a dynamic all-rounder who was considered the quickest bowler in Dubbo at one point.
He played a huge part in Western's Country Championships success in 2001/02, with his 4/30 against North Coast and 53 against Illawarra proof of his all-round quality.
There's been many memorable performances on the local Dubbo scene, with the opening day of the 2006/07 season just one of them. Having been in England just a week prior, Cox returned to play in searing Dubbo heat and whacked 19 fours and three sixes on the way to making 141. All that was done while battling illness and went to hospital that evening and was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis.
The most attacking opening bat Western Zone has had? 'Rabs' wasn't one to muck around at the top of the order.
Whether it was for Parkes or Western Zone, Heraghty wouldn't change up his style too often. His driving straight and through the off-side was outstanding while he was equally harsh on anything short.
That approach meant he could be feast or famine at times but there were more good times than bad. Heraghty racked up a number of centuries while his 98 for Western against Newcastle in the Country Championships final of 2014/15 was one of the great knocks of the decade.
As destructive a force with bat in hand as anyone on this list.
The dashing left-hander from Cowra was the definition of X-factor when he was on song. While his attacking batting was the highlight of his game, Curtale was also a smart off-spin bowler and he could create magic in the field.
One of the many players who left you wondering if he could have gone on to achieve more, Curtale showed talent at times too good for this region.
In one representative match for Cowra against Young, Curtale hit 16 boundaries in an unbeaten century while he also took a wicket, a catch and executed a runout. And that wasn't anything out of the norm for the Western Zone player.
If you represent NSW Country each season for almost a decade then you're one of the very best in the bush. Ben Nott fits into that category.
One of the best glovemen seen outside Sydney this century, Nott was also a middle-order bat who put a huge amount of value on his wicket.
Originally from Cootamundra, Nott first hit the heights of playing for Country while playing with Riverina in 2001/02 but after moving to Bourke he captained Western Zone and continued to wear the baggy blue.
Someone who almost single-handedly took the fight to others zones at country championships carnivals during lean spells for Western, Nott is still playing at Bourke today.
A joy to watch. There was a huge amount of hype around the former opening bat partner of David Warner when he made the move west before the 2021/22 season.
Harvest commitments meant it took some time for him to make his Dubbo debut but when he did, he quickly showed what he was all about. The first ball Everett faced was smoked through cover to the boundary for four and there's been a lot more runs that have followed.
Work has meant Everett has been in and out of teams during his two-and-a-half seasons in the region but he's still one of the best bats to play here.
Nothing proved that more than last season when the Gilgandra star scored the most runs ever seen at a Country Championships carnival and was named NSW Country Player of the Season.
Early in the 2014/15 season, it appeared Middleton's magic might have been waning. One of the great all-rounders from Orange and Western Zone, Middleton had made just 35 runs at an average of eight. After four innings the previous two seasons he'd been averaging 42 and 47 respectively.
What happened next was what everyone had become accustomed to across more than a decade of Middleton brilliance. Middleton smashed 145 off 108 balls with his trademark power and we were back to business as usual.
A genuine gun bowler and gun batter, Middleton was a huge part of Cavaliers' long period of dominance in Orange.
Patterson produced one of the great club performances in Western history in 2021/22.
He firstly ripped through Macquarie with 5/24 before he dominated the run chase by blasting a simply sensational 101 not out from just 39 balls.
"That's definitely my best on-field performance," he said afterwards, but there's been plenty of top performances before and since.
While some think Patterson should have gone further with his talents, he's already part of a rare group of Western Zone players who've been selected for Australian Country while he's also toured England with the Australian Indigenous side.
He could have easily landed higher on the list but competition for places at the top is fierce.
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.