LAST summer Bathurst cricket talent Trent Copeland was New South Wales’ Sheffield Shield player of the season despite only playing five matches.
Now the talented seamer is determined to break into the Blues’ Matador Cup limited overs side.
The St George captain will get the chance to impress in the annual NSW Blues State Shallenge which will be played at Hurstville Oval on Sunday.
Copeland is a shining example for any athlete that determination to overcome adversity can be rewarded.
The 30-year-old quick, who has three Test caps for Australia, spent almost 18 months out of the game after suffering stress fractures in his back.
However, he showed he is still among the premier fast bowlers in the country with his devastating form on his return at the back end of the 2015-16 season.
And now, fresh from signing a new three-year contract with Cricket NSW, Copeland said he was fully focused on cracking the Blues’ limited overs side as well as retaining his place in the four-day team.
“The back end of last season the shield stuff in particular was my main focus and getting back into the New South Wales side,” he said.
“I was really happy I could do that and be successful taking a few wickets in those five games.
“This pre-season is just about making every post a winner and making sure I’m a regular fixture in that team and trying to break into the Matador Cup side as well.
“We won the Matador Cup last year and just missed out on the shield finals. Every time you step onto the field for New South Wales you want to win both comps.
“We’ve got everything to be successful in the longer form of the game and win back that shield we want so badly.”
This Sunday Copeland will be captained by his Saints team-mate Moises Henriques in team blue, while Sutherland’s Ben Dwarshuis will play under Test wicket keeper Peter Nevill in team maroon.
Copeland said the advantage of playing at his grade cricket home ground would be a positive.
“For some people who haven’t played at Hurstville Oval it’ll be a bit of an experience of how to restrict runs there,” he said.
“All the previous Matador Cup games there have been high scoring affairs. They bring the ropes in from the bike track, it’s a small ground and the wicket is usually pretty flat.
“It’ll be a good hit out with guys trying to fight their way into the 14-man squad and I’m certainly one of those.
“I certainly won’t be out of my comfort zone in terms of the surroundings. That’s important for the team as well because our first two Matador Cup games are at Hurstville.”