WHEN Matthew Tabbernor takes his Western Zone side to the New South Wales Country Colts Championships later this month, it will be with the knowledge he has a squad talented enough to win the coveted title.
While the colts age group has this season changed to under 18s, the players Tabbernor will have in action at Tamworth are not only regular first graders, but most have represented their respective cricket associations at an open level.
That sort of experience is valuable to the coach given Western is aiming to play the maximum five games in four days.
“It is a very strong side, it’s probably the best side we’ve had for quite a few years,” Tabbernor said.
“We’ve had a young side, but now they’re all into the right age group and have a lot of experience, I know selectors had great difficulty trying to narrow it down to a 13-man squad, which is a good problem to have.”
Forbes’ Corey McDean – a talented batsman and wicket keeper who’s played a lot of rep cricket - is in the team, he has been playing representative level cricket with Dubbo.
There are three Bathurst players in Nic Broes, Ben Parsons and Luke Powell.
The rest of the squad comes from Dubbo and Orange, with Ben Knaggs to act as skipper and Marty Jeffrey as a vice-captain with Broes.
The carnival, which starts on December 18, sees Western in a pool alongside Riverina, Illawarra and Newcastle. The best performed of those four will go on to the finals on December 21 against the best of pool A, which involves ACT Southern, North Coastal, Central Coast and Central Northern.
It is not an easy pool, but Tabbernor believes his side is good enough.
“Riverina won the Bradman Cup last year, which is under 16s, so you’d think that a few of them will step up into the colts age group, and Newcastle is always strong at any level of cricket,” he said.
“Then we’ve got Illawarra who are a bit of an unknown, so we’ve got to treat that as being as tough as any other game, it’s not an easy pool.”
WESTERN ZONE COLTS: Ben Knaggs (c), Marty Jeffrey (v/c), Nic Broes (v/c), Thomas Nelson, Tom Atlee, Brock Larance, Corey McDean, Ben Parsons, Hamish Starr, Luke Powell, Charlie Greer, Henry Railz, Fletcher Rose.