WEST Wimmera Cricket Association will be hoping it can go one step further in this year’s under-17 Country Week starting on Monday in Warrnambool.
Association president David Jensz said his side would go in with confidence after finishing runner-up in 2013.
“We’re pretty confident without being overly confident,” he said.
“We went pretty well last year – probably a little bit better than expected in the end.
“If we can perform like we did last year, who knows?”
This year’s squad features a mix of older and younger players, with Jensz highlighting the side’s bowling and fielding as a strength.
“We’ve got a reasonable amount of batting depth and a really decent bowling attack, and I think our strength might be in the field,” he said.
Tyson Gordon, Nathan Sparling and Western Waves under-16 Dowling Shield representative Todd Alexander will lead the bowling attack, with bowling all-rounder Tim Braendler joining the squad for the second match.
Jensz said the side had a number of wicket-keeping options, including Kaniva duo Billy King and Liam Vivian, plus Nhill’s Jake McQueen.
Western Waves under-18 representative spin bowling all-rounder Darcy Preston will be important at the top of the order and could receive spin support from younger brother and Waves under-14 player Louis.
Louis, Jordan Gurry and James Ellis were three of the younger players Jensz said would be handy competitors.
“It’s hard for the younger ones sometimes,” he said.
“If we can rotate them through, hopefully they’ll be fairly fresh at the end of the week.”
West Wimmera will miss the skills of injured all-rounder Austin Merrett.
Jensz said he hoped the side would challenge some of the bigger teams, with a focus on improvement and enjoyment.
“We always pride ourselves on having a real go against some of these bigger organisations,” he said.
“If the boys go down there and at the end of the week they’ve improved, that’s what we’re after.”
West Wimmera meets home side Warrnambool Blue in its tournament opener on Monday, before facing Hamilton and Portland.