Pair savour country championships win
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.”
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.
North Kalgoorlie's Bevan Bennell.