EMERGING talents and experienced campaigners – that is the combination the Bathurst District Cricket Association has gone for in Sunday’s Western Zone Plate.
While Bathurst’s open side contested the opening round of the Western Zone Premier League last Saturday, the plate competition has been designed for smaller centres.
However, this season both Bathurst and Orange are fielding colts sides in the plate to give their emerging players more exposure to representative cricket.
The Matt Willis skippered Bathurst outfit will meet Lithgow at Scots on Sunday in the opening round.
“How Bathurst has put this team together is they wanted a couple of senior blokes there to lead the boys around, but mainly pick teenagers that would have been representing us at under 21s level,” Willis said.
“Anyone that played for the district team last weekend is ineligible to play this weekend because they are two separate competitions.”
While Willis jokes he is not looking forward to backing up from Friday night Bonnor Cup and Saturday’s opening round of the Bathurst District competition, he is looking forward to his representative return.
“For me it’s an opportunity to give back a little more to Bathurst. Obviously with the shop I haven’t played a lot of district over the last seven years, it just hasn’t been possible,” he said.
“It means I can be there and try and help these younger ones.”
As well as the experienced Willis, the Bathurst side boasts players with Mitchell Cricket Council opens caps such as bowler Matt Fearnley and all-rounders Ben Orme and Joey Coughlan.
The captain is hoping they can help the younger members of the side to rise to the challenge of taking on older opponents.
“For a lot of these blokes, like your Fearns and your Sammy Macs, Joey and Benny Orme, they have all been keen to play district but have been unavailable or not been picked. Now they have got an opportunity to represent and I am sure they will be ready to play pretty hard to try and force their way back into the top side,” he said.
“It will be a good test for us, because I am sure the Lithgow guys will be similar to their Bonnor Cup side. We played them last year and they have got some really good cricketers there and they are all men.
“It will be nice for our young fellas to have to stand up and cop a little bit and hopefully our senior blokes can help them out.”
Sunday’s match in the knockout competition at Scots School starts at 10am.