HORSHAM Saints all-rounder Matt ‘Melons’ Combe has been selected in the 14-man Victorian Country Cricket League squad that will compete at the Australian Country Cricket Championships.
Combe tried out for the squad last year but narrowly missed out on selection.
“After the trial’s last season they told me to go away and prove them wrong by scoring runs and taking wickets,” Combe said.
“I think I’ve done that and I’ve had a pretty handy start to this season as well.
“I’m still surprised to get in. I was not expecting it.”
Chairman of selectors Kelvin White said the fact Combe came back to trial again was a good sign.
“It really showed that he has qualities of persistence and determination,” he said.
Following a trial net session at the MCG in October, the initial pool of more than 40 invited players was cut down after a match at Endeavour Hills on the first weekend of November.
The final cuts for the squad were announced on Monday, following another trial match at Bendigo on Sunday.
White said this year’s squad was a good mix of younger and older players.
“Matt fits nicely in the middle of the group,” he said.
“You could mistake him for a younger player, but he has plenty of experience to draw on as well.”
The championships will see six states play 50-over and Twenty20 games against each side.
“The type of cricket we’re playing will suit Matt’s play,” White said.
“He bats well and he bowls well so we think he’ll certainly be able to contribute.”
Saints captain Tony Caccaviello made it to the final trial game before being cut.
He was named as one of three players who will be on standby for the squad.
“We’re hoping that nobody has to drop out before or during the championships but Tony impressed with his approach to the challenge,” White said.
“Quicker bowlers are becoming harder and harder to find in the country.
“We have a young squad of fast bowlers and if Tony has to come in he’ll do well.”
Combe said it was great to have Caccaviello alongside him at the trials this time around.
“I wish he could have made it in as well,” he said.
“It would have been great to have two guys from the same club involved.”
Combe said he was excited to get the opportunity to play against the best country cricketers in Australia.
“It will probably be the best standard of cricket I ever get to play,” he said.
“Hopefully I can learn a few things and bring them back to help others out.”
Combe said he would like to thank the Horsham Cricket Association for nominating him to trial for the opportunity.
The championships are in Wollongong between January 2 and 12.