THE squad in contention to represent the BDCA at Melbourne Country Week has been trimmed from 32 to 25 following the withdrawal of seven players.
Among the seven who have pulled out is reigning BDCA Cricketer of the Year Kyle Humphrys, who was Bendigo’s leading run-scorer at Melbourne Country Week last season, which included a day three century.
Humphrys is currently serving a one-game suspension in the BDCA as a result of receiving a second minor report in the past 12 months, both which have come in Twenty20 matches against Huntly-North Epsom.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands Humphrys has made himself unavailable for the carnival due to his disappointment at not being given the opportunity to appeal his suspension, which rules him out of the Goers’ crucial round six match against Strathdale-Maristians, who made 321 on day one last Saturday.
The BDCA has informed the Goers that there is no right of appeal for Humphrys as he was suspended as a result of BDCA rules in relation to minor reports, rather than a tribunal.
As well as Humphrys, also withdrawing from the Country Week squad are Kane Goldsworthy, Cory Jacobs, Shaun Knott, Zane Keighran, Matt Combe and Linton Jacobs.
The Country Week squad had its first training session on Monday night, with 18 of the 25 taking part under coach Shane Koop.
One of the components of the session was for each player to anonymously select what he considers the best squad of 13.
“A big part of my coaching philosophy is to make it really player-driven,” Koop said on Thursday.
“I always like to know what the players are thinking because they are the ones out there every weekend and know who the better players in the association are from playing against them.
“But I also think something like that is a really good self-awareness exercise to realise where you fit in, what role you might be able to play and whether you are worthy of selection or not.
“I’ll definitely take all the responses on board because it’s a really good guide as to what people are thinking, but there will be a number of factors that will come into the final selection.
“It’s something we used to do down at Richmond prior to round one when we’d pick our first XI side and I always thought it a good exercise to help show where you’re at.”
The 2019 Melbourne Country Week carnival will be held from February 18, with Bendigo competing in division two.
Despite the omission of seven players from the squad, Koop remains extremely confident of taking a quality team of 13 to the carnival.
“It’ still a great squad we’ve got to pick from and training on Monday night was sensational,” Koop said.
“We think there’s still a really good spread of batsmen, bowlers, including spinners, and leadership.”
The squad’s next training session will be held at Atkins Street from 6pm on Wednesday, December 19.
• BDCA Melbourne Country Week trial squad:
Bendigo – Liam Evans, Xavier Ryan.
Bendigo United – Jake Klemm.
Eaglehawk – Richard Tibbett, Russell Stockdale, Anthony West.
Golden Square – Liam Smith, Scott Trollope, Scott Woodman, Ryan Hartley.
Kangaroo Flat – Brent Hamblin, Adam Burns, Dylan Klemm, Dylan Gibson.
Sandhurst – Ash Gray, Sam Sperling.
Strathdale-Maristians – Ben DeAraugo, Sam Johnston, Jack Neylon, James Vlaeminck.
Strathfieldsaye – Ben Devanny, Pat Felmingham.
White Hills – Mitch Winter-Irving, Rhys Irwin, Ollie Geary.
BDCA’s top Melbourne Country Week performers since 1998:
1637 – Heath Behrens
931 – Ben Gunn
788 – Cameron Taylor
533 – Ben DeAraugo
498 – Sam Johnston
449 – Adam Burns
438 – Linton Jacobs
115 – Adam Burns
62 – Ben DeAraugo
45 – Nic Balic
34 – Brent Hamblin
33 – Cameron Taylor
27 – Paul Lund
27 – Nick Crawford
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