Western Zone name a host of debutants for Country Championships campaign

NEW FACES: Parkes pair Brent Tucker (left) and Myles Smith (right) are among the host of debutants for the Western Zone's Country Championships campaign. Photos: Jenny Kingham
NEW FACES: Parkes pair Brent Tucker (left) and Myles Smith (right) are among the host of debutants for the Western Zone's Country Championships campaign. Photos: Jenny Kingham

IT is a squad packed full of Western Zone debutants, but Jameel Qureshi knows the squad he will lead at this year's Country Championships will lack nothing in terms of hunger.

It is hunger he believes can carry them all the way to being crowned the best outfit in New South Wales Country Cricket

Just three members of last season's squad - Bathurst's Matt Stephen and Dubbo duo Marty Jeffrey Brock Larance - form part of the playing group who will head to Goulburn this week.

They are joined by Quershi brothers Jameel and Imran, their fellow Bathurst talents Jaden Ekert, Henry Shoemark, Connor Slattery and Mitch Taylor, Parkes pair Brent Tucker and Myles Smith, Dubbo's Matt Skinner, plus James Larkin and Ed Morrish from Orange.

But Qureshi, who has already skippered the Central West Wranglers through to the Regional Bash semi-finals this season, feels the new faces in the Western side are deserving of their spots.

"Obviously with a lot of young blokes going to Sydney early and a few older blokes not playing this year, the time is now for those guys," Qureshi said.

"I'd say it's a hungry team, you've got guys like Matt Skinner and Eddie Morrish, Myles Smith, Brent Tucker and Henry Shoemark who have been on the fringes for a long time and just wanting to play Western Zone cricket for a long, long time and have finally got their opportunity.

"For those guys, I'm actually really excited and happy for them and looking forward to seeing them rip in and have a crack.

"They've put a lot of hard work into getting there, they're going to really want it, so I think that will bring the best out of them. It's been a long time coming for them, when you work five or six years to achieve something it's hard work, but when you get the opportunity you want to take it and make the most of it."

Western Zone has been shuffled to the Southern Pool for this year's titles, meaning they need to better Riverina, Greater Illawarra and defending champions ACT Southern Districts to advance to the final.

It is something Western has not managed since going all the way in 2016.

NEW FACES: Orange's Ed Morrish, Bathurst's Henry Shoemark and Dubbo's Matt Skinner get their chance to represent Western Zone.

NEW FACES: Orange's Ed Morrish, Bathurst's Henry Shoemark and Dubbo's Matt Skinner get their chance to represent Western Zone.

It will not be an easy task on what are predicted to be flat decks at Prell and Seiffert Ovals, but when asked if he thinks Western can do so, Quershi responded: "Why not?"

"I think if we play together as a team and play our best cricket, we'll be hard to beat. A focus of sides I've led over the years is just to really concentrate on what we're doing, getting the small things right and playing our best cricket and that goes a long way to winning the game," he said.

"We've had a lot of success in the the Western Zone side ... hopefully we can keep that going and keep Western Zone up the top there.

"Eddie Morrish, Matt Skinner, they can hit a cricket ball, Steveo he's got a club hundred and done jobs for us in district games.

"So the batting line up is there, the bowling options are there, hopefully we can bring it all together and get some good results."

Western Zone will begin its bid on November 8 against Greater Illawarra before meeting ACT Southern Districts (November 9) and Riverina (November 10).