Goulburn's 2021 Burns Cup campaign got off to the perfect start on Sunday, with a six-wicket thrashing of Yass.
A handful of youngsters were given their representative debut ahead of the match, and shortly thereafter Goulburn captain Simon Fitzsimmons won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Though general cricketing wisdom advises against bowling first - a famous adage states that upon winning the toss, nine times out of ten you should bat first. On the tenth, you think about bowling and bat anyway - Fitzsimmons judged the wicket to be unpredictable due to the poor weather on Saturday.
With the first delivery of the match, he was proven correct as left-arm quick Logan Watts castled Yass's opening batsman.
It was the first of four wickets for Watts, who finished the innings with 4-15. Isaac Walker (3-18) and Josh Patterson (2-10) shared among the rest of the wickets as Yass was swept aside for 59.
"He bowled the first ball of the match and knocked the stumps over, and they never really recovered momentum from there," GDCA president Shane Munroe said.
"It was really good, and great captaincy too to keep those young guys' minds on the job."
Watts, at only 16 years old, is one of a number of young newcomers introduced to the Goulburn rep side.
Ahead of the start of the Burns Cup, Munroe decided that the GDCA needed some fresh blood in its ranks. He worked with the selectors to pick players who, they believe, could carry the association in seasons to come.
"We took some experienced players, but the selectors decided to back the younger guys," Munroe said.
"I spoke with the captain prior to the selection meeting to try and change the direction of the rep team. We wanted to change the atmosphere, change the players around a bit.
"It worked out pretty well, to be fair."
After Yass collapsed, Goulburn began its chase in earnest. Despite the occasional stumble, the home side was led to victory by Braiden McCarten's 21. At 4-62, Goulburn secured victory with more than 30 overs remaining.
Many of the players deserve praise, Munroe said, but he was particularly pleased with Fitzsimmons' captaincy.
"I hadn't known him, but I contacted him and told him the direction I wanted the team to go," he said.
"He bought in with me and we talked a lot prior to the match about selection. I have nothing but good things to say about him, I thought he did a great job."
The second round of the Burns Cup will be played in Yass on Sunday, February 14, at Walker Park in Yass. The match will begin at 10am.
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