Rocky cricket talent shines at state challenge
CRICKET: Despite the many advantages metropolitan areas have in the way of sport opportunities, five boys from Central Queensland held their own and proved that even regional areas can give city cricketers a run for their money.
Rockhampton Brothers' Jackson Dingle, Frenchville's Will Barwick, Cap Coast's Ryan Welsh and Rockhampton Grammar School's Jack Connor and Matthew Van Beal joined the region's Central Infernos team and helped secure fifth place at the January 7-10 Under 15 Male State challenge.
The team was made up of cricketers from Central Queensland towns from Boyne Island up to Bowen.
Geoff Connor was at the Sunshine Coast challenge to cheer on the boys, and said despite training together only once, the team held its own against plenty of tough competition.
"Their effort was fantastic,” Connor said.
"They were sticking with their game plan and didn't chuck in the towel when they got behind in the games. They came back hard and took the games down to the wire.
"Matthew was our most consistent batsman, scoring runs in every game and Jack and Will contributed and scored quick runs where needed.
"Ryan was captain and had an outstanding bowling effort in one of the games, taking three for 11, that's 10 overs.
"Jackson bowled well. He's Under 14 and stepped up, and had an outstanding week as well.”
The boys had played together in representative games for Rockhampton and for CQ, and against each other at a club level.
"They've played in state level championships in Under 12, 13 and 14 competitions,” Connor said.
"This was the first time that Mackay, the Whitsundays and Central Queensland towns combined to go to a state championship and by combining those teams, they sent away a stronger team that could be more competitive with the metro teams.
"That's why we did so well and I think the metro teams took notice of CQ talent because of it.”
Connor said competitions like this one exposed CQ players to "top level cricketers in their age group”.
"Metro teams get to train weekly and have access to training clinics, so for our team to come together and perform that well without preparation is outstanding,” he said.
Connor credited coach Gary Glisson for his "fantastic effort” in providing advice and strategies for the boys and training them before the week.