Pair savour coun­try cham­pi­onships win

CRICKET

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT - Ja­son Men­nell

North Kalgoorlie team­mates Be­van Ben­nell and Jay Col­lard are cel­e­brat­ing after WA Coun­try emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the Aus­tralian Coun­try Cricket Cham­pi­onships yes­ter­day.

Ben­nell and Col­lard were se­lected to play for the State team last month and they trav­elled to Shep­par­ton, Vic­to­ria, for the eight-day com­pe­ti­tion be­gin­ning at the start of the month.

WA wrapped up the com­pe­ti­tion yes­ter­day with a dead-rub­ber grand-fi­nal vic­tory against Vic­to­ria Coun­try after securing the cham­pi­onship the day be­fore.

It is the first time ei­ther player had been se­lected for the State side and Ben­nell, who av­er­ages 59 in just three in­nings for North Kalgoorlie this sea­son, played in eight out of a pos­si­ble nine matches.

His tally of 124 at an av­er­age of 15.5 in­cluded a high­est score of 43 against South Aus­tralia Coun­try.

Ben­nell said al­though he would have liked to have notched up a few more runs, the ex­pe­ri­ence was in­valu­able.

“It’s been a real eye-opener to see the tal­ent and see where you are as a coun­try crick­eter,” he said.

“Un­less you go on these trips you don’t re­ally know what the stan­dard is like com­pared to other states or as­so­ci­a­tions.”

“There are some real good bats­men and keep­ers who don’t give you half a chance be­hind the stumps.”

Ben­nell will be rep­re­sent­ing the Gold­fields at the se­nior coun­try week start­ing in Perth next week- end and said the tour­na­ment had been good prepa­ra­tion for the up­com­ing carnival.

Col­lard played in six matches and took nine wick­ets with best fig­ures of 4-13 against Queens­land Coun­try. His best out­ing with the bat was 25 against Vic­to­ria in the grand fi­nal. Col­lard, who is leav­ing the Gold­fields to live in Perth, said the com­pe­ti­tion had been a “great ex­pe­ri­ence”.

“Win­ning is good, you do come to win but all things aside it was just a good ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“It was good to be picked and be a part of the pro­gram. You’ve hit a few more balls and you’ve spo­ken to some peo­ple who know the game.

“I would say I would use it as a good step­ping stone go­ing back to Perth.”

Pic­ture: Neil Watkin­son

North Kalgoorlie all-rounder Jay Col­lard with the Cranston Medal for be­ing best on ground in last sea­son’s Eastern Gold­fields Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion A-grade grand fi­nal.

Pic­ture: Kelsey Reid

North Kalgoorlie's Be­van Ben­nell.

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