They’re not there yet, but the rest of the zone best will eventually force its way into the minds of western selectors.
That’s the sentiment of current Western skipper Jordan Moran following the announcement of this year’s zone squad, dominated by Dubbo and Bathurst.
No players outside of those two districts could force their way into Moran’s 12-strong squad set to take on the northern pool in this year’s championship defence.
Moran says Dubbo’s strength on the region’s representative scene justifies it providing the bulk of the Western Zone squad.
Selectors Greg Nicholls and Neil Doherty backed that up with nine Dubbo-based players named on Sunday.
A number of Cowra-based players, including former captain Nick Berry, are unavailable for next week’s Country Championships Northern Pool games at Inverell, meaning only players from Dubbo and Bathurst will feature in the team.
“It probably paints a picture of where Western Zone cricket is at the moment,” Moran said.
“Parkes is struggling for numbers … Cowra would have had three or four if available and Orange has been struggling for the last few years but with Richie Venner back there they’re slowly on the rise and I think in the next year or two they can have two or three Zone players.”
RSL-Colts all-rounder Greg Buckley has been named despite not yet arriving back after an off-season at home in England but is a proven performer at Western Zone level.
Dubbo juniors Ben Patterson and Jordan Peacock are back in the Western Zone side after time playing grade cricket in Sydney while South Dubbo teenager Henry Railz will make his debut at the next level after a strong start to the season.
Bathurst’s Matt Stephen and Aaron Seymour and talented all-rounder Ryan Peacock are in the squad.
Parkes’ hard-hitting opening batsman Anthony Heraghty missed out after a number of seasons playing for Western Zone.
While confirming some of the unavailable players would have been selected had they put their hand up, Moran stated the Western is still capable of championship success.
He also spoke of his pride after being named captain.
“It’s a proud moment and a bit of a surprise seeing as though I’m a selector,” he said.
“After we picked the team I left Greg and Neil to it to choose the captain and then Greg released the team on Sunday night so that was nice and a proud moment.”
Western Zone opens its campaign against Northern Coastal on November 3.