Bowl­ing them over

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

The West Pil­bara Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion is mak­ing its mark in Perth in the A-grade WA coun­try week cham­pi­onships for the first time. Cap­tain Michael Bunt­ing, cen­tre, is pic­tured with team mem­bers Nathan Hamp­son, Daniel Carse, Lo­k­endra Ranawat and Alex Fitz­mau­rice.

West Pil­bara crick­eters are play­ing for their first-A-grade ti­tle at the WA coun­try week cham­pi­onships this week af­ter a fast rise to the com­pe­ti­tion’s top level over the past few years.

The West Pil­bara Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion side have trav­elled to Perth for WA coun­try week, where they will play five other teams, in­clud­ing de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Peel, over the course of the week.

It has been a fast rise through coun­try week di­vi­sions for the lo­cal side, who only three years ago were sit­ting in C-grade and had never won the ti­tle in decades of op­er­a­tion. They have since won both the C and B-grade com­pe­ti­tions to now have a chance in the A-grade.

Team cap­tain Michael Bunt­ing said it would be dif­fi­cult to break through the ranks as new­com­ers and the only north-west­ern team in their coun­try week divi­sion, but he had con­fi­dence in the qual­ity of their team.

“I think it’s prob­a­bly the best side we could pos­si­bly have brought from the Pil­bara,” he said. “We’ve maybe one or two that we would have liked to have added into the squad, but the guys we’ve got are prob­a­bly all the best in their teams and per­form re­ally well up here in com­pe­ti­tion and we’re con­fi­dent that they’ve all got good track records to per­form well down there, too.”

The side has been train­ing once or twice a week since De­cem­ber and is fundrais­ing at Kar­ratha’s Yo­getit and Blanche Bar this month to pay for um­pires, ac­com­mo­da­tion, uni­forms and food on the trip.

Bunt­ing said the week would stretch play­ers to play to their high­est stan­dard. “I think we’re go­ing to be tested,” he said. “It’s an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge for every­one be­cause it’s prob­a­bly the high­est level of cricket we can play com­ing from towns like Kar­ratha or Dampier or Wick­ham.

“The qual­ity of the com­pe­ti­tion down there are guys that train for cricket reg­u­larly, they play on turf fa­cil­i­ties and all the best stuff, and for a coun­try town like Kar­ratha to send a team down is re­ally good, so the guys are ex­cited.”

WA coun­try week runs from Jan­uary 15-21, fin­ish­ing with the grand fi­nal game.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

West Pil­bara Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion coun­try week cap­tain Michael Bunt­ing, cen­tre, and team mem­bers Nathan Hamp­son, Daniel Carse, Lo­k­endra Ranawat and Alex Fitz­mau­rice.

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