NSW Country players Ben Patterson, Caleb Ziebell and Naomi McDonald have each been named in the 2019 Australian Country Merit teams.
The three cricketers were presented with their caps at the conclusion of the 2019 Toyota Australian Country Championships in Shepparton on Friday.
It was the second successive year that Ziebell and McDonald had been named in the respective men’s and women’s Merit team.
Dubbo allrounder Ben Patterson received his maiden Country Merit cap in his debut championships for the NSW Country Bush Blues.
Bush Breakers captain Kate Jackson was awarded best fielder in the Women’s Division, while Chris Archer was awarded the best fielder in the Men’s Division.
The Bush Blues successfully defended their T20 crown at the Country Championships with a 25-run win over Queensland in the final, although could not defend the overall title won in 2018.
The Bush Breakers narrowly lost in the semi-finals of the Women’s Division, by two runs to eventual champions, Victoria.
The statistics told the story of a dream debut championships for Patterson. He scored 189 runs from his eight matches during the carnival, at a strike rate of 124.3, the highest of any batsman in the Men’s Division. The allrounder also claimed 10 wickets at an average of 22.6.
McDonald, who hails from Grafton in Northern NSW, made the highest score in the Women’s Division and finished the championships with the second best average.
She peeled off 80 from 72 balls at the top of the order during a four-wicket win against South Australia and finished the tournament with 210 runs at an average of 42.
Ziebell again showed his capabilities as a valuable allrounder. The hard-hitting Northern Rivers allrounder was the leading run-scorer for the Bush Blues in the Men’s Division.
He scored 227 runs at 32.43 and claimed five wickets at the tidy average of 22.
It followed a wonderful carnival last season where he scored 395 runs at 43.9 and claimed 11 wickets at 10.9. He finished that tournament as the overall leading run-scorer.
In her debut championships for the Bush Breakers, Jaclyn Vickery was the leading wicket taker for NSW Country.
The Maitland bowler was the leading wicket-taker for the Bush Breakers. She claimed nine dismissals at 10.
Central Coast fast bowler, Scott Burkinshaw, was the leading wicket taker for the Bush Blues. He returned 12 wickets at 10.25 including the outstanding figures of 4-11 in the T20 final.
Western Australia Country won the One-Day and overall title in the Men’s Division.