Young gun'd early call-up
SELECTORS have sent a message to Bundaberg's young cricketers - score runs and you will be rewarded.
The case in point is 17-year-old Country-Wests dynamo Steve Nichols, selected for Sunday's opening Goodchild Trophy clash with Gympie at Salter Oval.
The dashing young batsman has smashed attacks to all parts this season, most notably in his latest inning of 137 off only 107 balls on Sunday.
Selector Richie Giles said it was just reward for good cricket and a clear indication that emerging talent will not be cast aside this season.
“He's been hammering them everywhere, and really started to show form at the end of last season,” Giles said.
Coupled with a brilliant Twenty20 campaign, Nichols is among Bundaberg's hottest batsmen in the early stages this season, and will be part of a new-look side attempting to defend their 2008/09 title.
Missing new-ball intimidators Boyd Williams and Kris Johnson, Bundaberg will look to plug the gaps as best they can with a more all-round attack.
“Hopefully we can survive without them, we'll be looking at everyone to contribute more, but we have the two Prossliner boys, Liam Denning and spinners in Mat (Fleming) and Chris Duff - we have options,” Giles said.
Brothers all-rounder Josh Haynes is another to emerge in the top squad this year, after teetering between first and second division in the past.
“He was player of the division one final last season and is a good quality bat and handy bowler, I think a good addition to our team,” Giles said.
Another significant change was Brendan Prossliner's leapfrog of Mat Fleming for the captaincy - a decision that was not lost on the hard-hitting Country-Wests leader.
“It's a bit disappointing to be overlooked, I was keen to lead the side and I think I've done enough to retain it,” Fleming said.
But Giles said it was time for his younger Across The Waves adversary to take the reins.
“There is no real reason for the change, we thought it was time again to see how he would handle it,” Giles said.
The selector said that in the past the Rum City “had the wood over Gympie”, but acknowledged it would be a much closer affair this time around.
“They have some good players in the Gympie Gold team, and we are missing the firepower we've had in the past, but this is as good a team as we could have right now and hopefully we can pull through,” he said.Bundaberg Goodchild Trophy Team: Brendan Prossliner (captain), Mat Fleming (vc), Josh Haynes, Travis Henke, Michael Parsons, Phil Proctor, Jarrod Laycock, Chris Anderson, Steve Nichols, Chris Duff, Trent Prossliner, Liam Denning