WESTERN came up just shy in their Bradman Cup bid last season and now Bathurst duo Ben Mitchell and Nic Broes are out to try and help their zone land the title this time around.
The under 16s representative competition gets underway at Newcastle from Monday, with Western aiming to add the Bradman Cup to the region's earlier Country Championship triumph.
St Pat’s Old Boys pair Mitchell and Broes will be both be making their first appearance in the Western Bradman Cup outfit.
Western came up one win short of a grand final appearance last season but with the strong squad they've put together the team travel to Newcastle confident they can be there at the end of competition.
On Monday Western will begin their campaign against North Coastal before facing Riverina and Central Northern over the following two days. Finals will be played on Thursday morning.
The team were in Bathurst last week for final training sessions, playing practice matches and ironing out any issues with the bat and ball.
"It's going to be good. I reckon we've got a really good together, with some good bowlers and good batsmen," Mitchell said.
“It’s awesome playing with these guys. There’s four of us who are a year young so we’ll get to come back next year. Me and another three will get another crack at it.”
Given his form this season at home though, Mitchell would be feeling confident of making this attempt count.
He found a Bathurst District Cricket Association second grade century playing for St Pat’s against City Colts and then claimed a three-wicket haul in first grade against the same club.
From his three representative matches for Bathurst in the Mitchell Cricket Council competition he currently has a strong bowling average of just eight.
The bat has also yielded good results this season for Mitchell who picked up 60 against Macquarie Cricket Council.
He’s aiming to go one spot better than he did in his Kookaburra Cup campaign last season where Mitchell’s Western squad were defeated by Central Coast.
Mitchell’s Saints teammate Broes has also made his presence felt in representative cricket this season.
In fact, Broes has already made a statement for Western thanks to his knock of 104 not out to take his team to a win over Lachlan Cricket Council in December.
Broes also made his sole appearance for Bathurst under 16s count with an unbeaten 88 against Lithgow.
Although he made a slow start to his local season Broes has recently notched up confidence-building scores of 43 and 53.
The Western batsman is eager to try and take that form into 2017 and make the Newcastle trip one to remember.
“Majority of the our team I’ve played with before and I know them fairly well. We pride ourselves on our fielding and I think our batting is one of our strongest points as well. We have plenty of bowlers as well,” he said.
“I found a few runs late last year and I was hitting them fairly well. I’m feeling pretty good so hopefully I can have a big carnival with the bat personally.
“I have played against a few of the other teams before so I do know what a few of their players will be like.”