Kat achieves rare coun­try team spot

Pilbara News - - Sports - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Kar­ratha crick­eter Corey Rut­gers has been se­lected for the WA Coun­try XI team.

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