Changing of the guard won't stop Western Zone from targeting Country Championships success

Jordan Moran feels it is up to him and the rest of the Western Zone leadership group to continue on the incredibly successful work done in recent seasons.

The 2017/18 Western Zone side was announced on Sunday night with the team to contest the Northern Pool of the NSW Country Championships from November 3.

While the bulk of the side that won last season’s Country Championships title remains, Matt Crawley has opted to hanging up his coaching boots while Berry brothers Nick and Tim, Mick Curtale, Josh Toole and Jacob Harvey are unavailable while Cowra quick Jacob McNaught is injured.

“It is a changing of the guard but the core of the team which has been there for a few seasons is still there,” Moran, who has replaced Nick Berry as captain, said.

With the Northern Pool being played at Inverell, Moran said the Berrys and Toole couldn’t afford to take the time off work while Harvey’s partner has recently given birth and Curtale is due to become a father in the coming days.

Plenty of experience has departed the Western Zone squad but the likes of Australian Country batsman Moran, Mitch Bower, Will Lindsay, Greg Buckley and Matt Stephen remain while Jordan Peacock and Ben Patterson, back in Dubbo after a number of years playing in Sydney, also return to the representative scene.

Moran, Bower and Lindsay have been named in a leadership group which will work alongside managers Greg Nicholls and Ian Strudwick to ensure Western has every chance of claiming a fourth Country Championships title in six seasons.

“‘Crawls’ (Crawley), Nick (Berry) and then Tim Cox and Patty Rosser before that, they created a culture and left a legacy in Western Zone,” Moran said.

“It’s up to us to not change too much of what they put in place and continue on with what they did.

ALL-ROUNDER: Will Lindsay's experience, batting and bowling will be key for Western Zone at the Country Championships. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

ALL-ROUNDER: Will Lindsay's experience, batting and bowling will be key for Western Zone at the Country Championships. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

“They set the structure you need to do well.”

English leg-spinner Darrel Williams is another newcomer and Moran said his county experience would be vital while Bathurst quick Aaron Seymour returns after playing in the 2015/16 Western side.

The 12-man squad is made up of nine Dubbo players and three from Bathurst, spinning all-rounder Ryan Peacock the other from last season’s successful Country Cup team.

Fellow spinner Marty Jeffrey retains his spot while South Dubbo all-rounder Henry Railz earns a maiden Western Zone call-up after his strong form in club cricket.

“There’s been limited rep cricket to pick the side from so we’ve had to go off past form a bit and it’s better to go in with what you know rather than an unknown who hasn’t played at that level,” Moran said.

Moran added Inverell was an unknown for his side, leading them to go with option of four frontline seam bowlers – Stephen, Patterson, Seymour and Lindsay – and the four spinners of Williams, Buckley, Jeffrey and Peacock.

Making Western’s task that bit harder this season is the fact the side will play in the Northern Pool, which includes country powerhouse Newcastle.

Western Zone opens its campaign against North Coastal at Inverell on November 3.

WESTERN ZONE: (expected batting lineup) 1 Jordan Moran © (Dubbo), 2 Jordan Peacock (Dubbo), 3 Mitch Bower (Dubbo), 4 Ryan Peacock (Bathurst), 5 Greg Buckley (Dubbo), 6 Marty Jeffrey (Dubbo), 7 Will Lindsay (Dubbo), 8 Ben Patterson (Dubbo), 9 Henry Railz (Dubbo), 10 Aaron Seymour (Bathurst), 11 Darrel Williams (Dubbo), 12 Matt Stephen (Bathurst)