WALSH WONDER AS VICS TAKE ON NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Richard Millott
Lysterfield’s Nathan Walsh will take part in this week’s Toyota Australian Country Cricket Championships, to be held in Toowoomba, Queensland.
Walsh was named in December in the 14-man Victorian Squad who shall take on teams from the ACT (returning to men’s division for the first time since 2013), New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and hosts Queensland in a series of T20 and one-day format matches in both men’s and womens’ divisions between January 3-11.
The Beaver batsman has started the first half of the season in fine form, scoring 337 runs at 67.40 across the first 7 matches, highlighted by an unbeaten century against Eildon Park to go with 3 half-centuries to help Lysterfield to the top of Norm Reeves Shield at the Christmas break.
Walsh returns to representing Vic Country after representation at the 2016 and 2017 Championships whilst playing at Lysterfield. A move to Ringwood in the Premier Cricket League followed before ultimately returning to Lysterfield at the start of this season.
Victorian Coach Mark Ridgway, a former first-class player with Tasmania and current state selector, says that the inclusion of several players with Premier Cricket experience will provide a strong batting line-up.
“At last year’s Championships, it was our bowlers’ performances that got us over the line in most matches. The inclusions of Walsh, (Matthew) Love, (Sam) Miller, (Jack) Craig and (Kieran) Voelkl in the top and middle-order will strengthen our batting and should have us being very competitive again,” Ridgway said.
VCCL Chairman of Selector, Rob McIntyre, said there had been a focus to target players to fill specific areas to improve on last season’s runner-up performance.
“We have been very close to winning the Championships on many occasions over the past decade. We just could not defeat Western Australia in both formats last year and that proved the difference between WA winning and us finishing runners-up. The addition of the top-order batsmen that our coach has mentioned combined with seasoned team-members will hopefully see us go one better in Toowoomba.”
Preparations for the Championships have been fine-tuned, with 8 quality facilities having being prepared for the showpiece event that will welcome more than 250 players, coaches and officials to the Regional hub.
Cricket Australia's Head of Clubs, Competitions and Diversity, Kieran McMillan, said “The Toyota Australian Country Cricket Championships celebrate the best of country cricket, providing Australia’s best regional players with the opportunity to represent their State and test their skills at a high level of competition.
“Toowoomba is a great example of a thriving regional cricket community and we look forward to working with the Toowoomba Regional Council to ensure this event is a great success and injects further energy and momentum into the game in this region.”
Victoria will commence their campaign on Friday with a rematch of last year’s final against Western Australia from 9am in a T20 format, with an afternoon match the same day against Queensland at 2:30pm. Saturday again follows a T20 format against ACT and South Australia, before a One Day Match against New South Wales on Sunday. The full Toyota Australian Country Cricket Championships Fixture can be located at www.countrychamps.com.au.
2020 Toyota Australian Country Cricket Championships – Victoria Country Men’s Squad
Ben Boyd capt. Warrnambool
Cameron Williams Warrnambool
Cole Roscholler Ballarat
Fraser Ellis Albury Wodonga
Jack Craig Albury Wodonga
Jack Rietschel Sale-Maffra
Jack Wrigglesworth Sale-Maffra
Jordan Moran Geelong
Kieran Voelkl Mornington Peninsula
Lee Stockdale v.c. Traralgon
Matthew Love Warrnambool
Nathan Walsh Ferntree Gully
Sam Miller Ballarat
Tony Caccaviello Horsham