WHEN the Western squad begins their Cricket NSW Under 19s Country Championships campaign on Wednesday they will do so with six players from the same local club.
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Bathurst Bushrangers players Nikera Hann, Callee Black, Gabby Kelly, Amy Corbett, Chelsea Muller and Claudia Kelly form almost half of the Western team that will bid for state glory at Newcastle.
The Bathurst club has put a strong focus on the development of junior female cricket talent over the past half decade, and the strong selection numbers show that it's an endeavour that's reaping the rewards.
Bushrangers' Stephen Cain said it's a great sight to see a stack of club players make the next step into representative cricket.
"It's been fantastic for Bathurst cricket and for Bushrangers to have started these girls five ago in the game when they were relatively young. Now we've had the all-girls side for four years in the junior competition and that's been unreal for cricket in the city," he said.
"In the 16s women's Western we also had half of that squad coming from Bathurst. It's nice to see the talent of so many girls from Bathurst recognised and to see them make this team."
The Bushrangers group have enjoyed their share of highlights across the season to date.
Corbett arguably had the pick of the bunch with her recent double hat trick in President's Cup action against Rugby Union, finishing the day with 5-9 from her four overs.
Black recently earned her place in the NSW Under 16s pathway squad for a third time following her performance at the 16s Country Championships prior to Christmas, and has hit a half century in President's Cup competition.
Hann has proven to be in great form with the ball over the first half of the 2021-22 season, having picked up seven wickets at an average of 7.43 bowling at club level.
The under 19s side will be co-captained by Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket's only regular female player, Katie Letcher, along with Ella Tilburg, who impressed at the recent under 16s Country Championships.
"I'm hoping they'll go very well but it can be difficult at times because the other teams are sometimes able to train a lot more together, given the distance between the girls in the Western team," Cain said.
"It's hard to get them together as a unit to train but hopefully with the amount of fun the girls have playing together as a group let's hope that they go well."
Western begins their tournament on Wednesday with a 40 over clash against the Central Coast.
The remainder of their games will be played as Twenty20 fixtures.
Thursday shapes up as a crucial day for the team as they face the two latest champions of the under 19s competition - ACT Southern Districts and North Coastal - in back-to-back games.
They'll face Central Northern on Friday morning to round out the pool games before finals take place in the afternoon.
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