The Bendigo District Cricket Association has three representatives in the Victorian Country team to play in the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Wollongong.
Strathdale-Maristians all-rounder Cam Taylor is a regular in the Vic Country side, while Bendigo young gun Nathan Fitzpatrick and Sandhurst all-rounder Taylor Beard will make their debut at the national carnival.
The championships will be played from January 3-11 in Wollongong, with each state playing five one-day matches and five Twenty20 games.
“It’s a new format for the carnival this year, with the focus turning to one-day and T20 matches, so we need players who are suited to those formats,’’ Vic Country coach Jason Mathers said.
Mathers said Taylor was a proven performer at this level, while Fitzpatrick and Beard deserved their selection based on early season form in the BDCA and their strong T20 credentials.
Fitzpatrick has taken 19 wickets at an average of 10.8, while Beard has been a solid contributor for the Dragons, particularly in Twenty20 cricket.
“Cam’s bowling as well as he ever has,’’ Mathers said.
“We have Lee Stockdale to bowl left-arm orthodox and Cam to bowl his leggies. They’ll be our two spinners. Cam could bat anywhere in short-form cricket.
“Nathan Fitzpatrick bowls a heavy ball and it will be interesting to see how he goes. Under the rules you have to pick two players under the age of 23 and he’s a very exciting prospect.
“Taylor Beard has been very close to making this team in the past.
“He’s moved to Bendigo to play a higher standard of cricket and he’s earned his spot.”
Vic Country squad: Ben Boyd (Western Waves, captain), Nathan Walsh (South East Country, vice-captain), Cam Taylor (Northern Rivers), Mick Allen (Central Highlands), Lachy Dobson (South East Country), Nathan Fitzpatrick (Northern Rivers), Cole Roscheller (Central Highlands), Jake Best (South East Country), Jacob Smith (Barwon), Matthew Combe Western Waves), Lee Stockdale (Gippsland), Taylor Beard (Northern Rivers), Chris Dew (South East Country), Tom Mathieson (Barwon).