Kat achieves rare country team spot
A Karratha cricketer has become only the second from the Pilbara to be selected for the WA team for the Australian Country Cricket Championships.
Karratha Kats Cricket Club’s Corey Rutgers was last week named as one of the 14 players who will be part of the WA Country XI squad and travel to Wollongong from January 2-12 to compete in the national country cricket competition.
He is the second Pilbara cricketer to make the WA country side in the competition’s long history, following in the footsteps of teammate and friend Jackson Davey, who was selected in 2014.
Rutgers said he was “stoked” to be part of the team, especially as a player from the North West.
“It’s a good reflection of a lot of years of playing cricket, training and everything else that goes into it,” he said.
“I think I’m the only one in the team from far away (from Perth) — everyone else in the team is from Bunbury, Albany, Peel.
“I think that’s why it feels like a good achievement . . . because country week and country teams have been around for 100-odd years now, and only being the second person from Karratha to make it, it is a nice feeling.”
The country championships will pit teams from every State and one from the Asia-Pacific against each other in 10 rounds of 50-over and Twenty20 games.
Rutgers played three try-outs against the WACA Districts A-grade side in Perth to qualify and believed he was “on the fence” until he received the call.
He said he expected the tournament to be intense but a lot of fun.
“It’s quite a professional tour,” he said. “I’m excited to see how far my game has come and how it will stand up against good-level cricketers.”
West Pilbara Cricket Association president Gavin Paterson said it was a huge achievement to have a second player in a matter of years make the State country team, which was traditionally dominated by players from regional areas south of Perth with access to better cricket facilities.
“It’s a needle in a haystack times 10 to get in,” he said of the chances of Pilbara players making the team.
He said WPCA cricketers had “(punched) above our weight” in the WA country cricket arena over the past four or five years.
Karratha cricketer Corey Rutgers has been selected for the WA Country XI team.