The ACT Southern Districts team which will compete in the Country Championships was announced recently, and three players who hail from the Goulburn and District Cricket Association were selected.
Brad Smith, Josh Watling, and Ollie Anable (who plays for Tuggeranong but was based in Crookwell during his youth) have all been named in the side which will play from November 9 to November 11 at Shoalhaven.
Smith, who captains Hibo Gold in Goulburn’s first grade competition, said that he is eagerly anticipating the carnival this weekend.
“I’m pretty excited, I guess a little bit nervous [as well],” Smith said.
“It was a bit of a surprise … it’ll be a good challenge.”
This weekend’s round of Country Championships will feature four teams in what is called the Southern Pool: ACT Southern Districts, Greater Illawarra, Newcastle, and Riverina.
Each of the teams will play one match per day across the three days, and the winner will be the team with the most points at the end of the weekend.
The Northern Pool competition took place last weekend, and the Central Coast side came out on top to confirm their place for the Country Championships grand final which will take place on November 25 against the winner from the Southern Pool.
Although Smith has been selected for similar sides in the past, it has been at least five years since his last representative berth, so he is not sure what to expect.
“I think seven years ago, it was myself, Mick Webber and Josh Watling that went away to Southern Zone, to the same carnival,” he said.
“I guess I’ve got some idea from that, it’ll be interesting to see if the standard has improved or if it’s the same.”
Smith generally bats at number six for Hibo Gold and opens the bowling, but he said that he has been selected in this tournament as a bowler, and expects to come on first or second change to keep things tight in the middle of the innings.
“Bowling is definitely my strength,” Smith said.
“I think I’m expected to bowl first, second change … I’m expecting my role to be to tie their batsmen down in the middle overs.”
Meanwhile, Watling will play as a wicketkeeper-batsman and Anable will join Smith among the bowlers.
It is a positive sign for cricketers in Goulburn that Smith and Watling have been selected, and the former said that it is indicative of the inclusive attitude Cricket ACT espouses.
“I think ACT Cricket to their credit, since we’ve joined their zone from Southern Zone, they seem to be trying to really look after the regional cricket,” Smith said.
“One way that they’re trying to do that is demonstrate that if you can play well or put your hand up to have a go, there is the potential there to play high-level cricket.”