Busselton Margaret River Cricket players called for Country Week

PUNISHING FORM: Nick Ritchie from St Marys looms as one of the key players for Busselton-Margaret River in next month's Country Week cricket campaign in Perth. Photo: Vanessa Hatton.
PUNISHING FORM: Nick Ritchie from St Marys looms as one of the key players for Busselton-Margaret River in next month's Country Week cricket campaign in Perth. Photo: Vanessa Hatton.

BUSSELTON-MARGARET River's cricket selectors have mounted an appeal for the region's best players to make themselves available for the prestigious Country Week tournament in Perth next month.

With no cricket played locally last weekend due to the Test match in Perth, attention has focused on Busselton-Margaret River's Country week campaign.

Last season saw Busselton-Margaret River perform outstandingly to remain undefeated for the week in B-Section.

Captained by Ben Payne, the No. 1 side defeated Bunbury, Eastern Goldfields and Great Southern in the preliminary games before beating South Midlands in the semi-final and then thrashing North Midlands in the grand final to win the B-Section championship.

These performances have seen Busselton-Margaret River earn a well-deserved recall for their top side to A-Section for Country Week in January 2020.

Busselton-Margaret River's No. 2 team last year competed in C-Section under the captaincy of Matty Braid win their first three games before losing the last two.

They will remain in C-Section for next month's tournament.

"We've got the nucleus of a good squad this year, we just need a few more players to make themselves available," said Danny Hatton, who is selecting the Country Week squad along with Neil Langenhoven and Mat Kent.

Early indications suggest that the Country Week squad next month will include top players Harvey Golding, Nick Ritchie, Marc Ford, Danny Hatton (playing his 24th Country Week), Mat Kent and Matt Connaughton.

Ben Payne is again a contender for the captaincy.

Top overseas players Ricky Small-Boyce, Taylor Chandler and Thomas Coulson also look like being available for the No. 1 and No. 2 sides.

"We are looking quite reasonable, but we are still chasing another 7 or 8 players - they don't need to make themselves available for the whole week, just a few days will be a great help," said Hatton.

A bonus for Busselton-Margaret River is the availability of Fraser Oates from Cowaramup, who has impressed this season with Scarborough in Perth's pennant cricket competition.

Busselton-Margaret River's Country Week side is also seeking a manager to replace Pieter Bresser, who has managed the side for more than a decade but is unfortunately unable to continue due to work reasons.

Country Week training kicked off last night with the first session held at Margaret River.

Two more training sessions will be held, both at Barnard Park, on Tuesdays, January 7 and 14.

Country Week starts on Sunday, January 19, with two more preliminary games on January 20 and 22.

The semi-finals will be held on Thursday, January 23, and the grand finals on Friday, January 24.

"Busselton-Margaret River has won A-Section only once, in 2012, and the players who took part will never forget the experience," Hatton said.

"Country Week is a unique opportunity to play alongside players from other clubs - it's a great social occasion for all involved.

"The experience of playing on some of Perth's top pennant grounds is another reason why it's a week to remember," he said.

Cricketers interested in playing County Week can contact selector Neil Langenhoven on 0419 190 625.

The cost of Country Week has again been set at $450 per player for the whole week.

As has been the case for the past decade, Busselton-Margaret River's squad will be lodging at the Indian Ocean Hotel in Scarborough.