ACT/NSW Country selectors have chosen two squads of 13 players to compete at the annual Male Under 16 State Challenge carnival at Raby Sports Complex from 14-18 April.
The two teams will represent each of the Sydney Big Bash League franchises, the Thunder and Sixers.
Likewise, both teams selected for NSW Metro will also represent the two franchises. The carnival will include three 50-over matches for each side involved and a coaching class on the final day.
The two ACT/NSW Country squads selected were based on performances at this season's NSW Country Under 16 Bradman Cup, the prestigious Under 16 AW Green Shield competition and the Under 15 National Championships on the Sunshine Coast in February.
Among the talented teenagers chosen include Australian Under 16 representative, off-spinner Connor Cook (Country Thunder), and ACT/NSW Country captain at the Under 15 nationals, top-order batter Thomas Coady (Country Thunder).
Cricket NSW Country Pathway Manager, Brett Rankin, said the State Challenge will play a role in selections for the ACT/NSW Country squad to contest the Under 17 National Championships next season.
“Performances will be closely monitored, so that ACT/NSW Country selectors will be better equipped to select (that) squad,” Rankin said.
“The squad will be put through their paces during a series of camps (throughout) the off-season.”
“ACT/NSW Country Under 17 Coach Greg McLay, is looking forward to watching players from across regional NSW take on their metropolitan colleagues over the three days of what will be intense and exciting cricket.”
Coady made the highest score of any batsmen at the inaugural Under 15 nationals this season. He scored 115 from 139 balls against the Northern Territory during the preliminary rounds.
It was one of three centuries scored at the tournament along with two posted by NSW Magenta captain, and younger brother of Australian Under 19 representative Ollie Davies, Joel Davies.
Davies led NSW Magenta to the Under 15 title and made one of his centuries in the final against Queensland. He has been selected for Metro Thunder.
Opening batsman Harry Channells (Country Thunder), slow left-arm finger spinner Karan Katli (Country Sixers) and captain Harry Townsend were all pivotal to Central Coast claiming the Bradman Cup for an eighth time in January.
Channells was the leading run-scorer for the Bradman Cup with 274 runs at the impressive average of 54.8. Katli was the equal leading wicket-taker with fellow spinner Townsend. Both bowlers claimed 11 wickets from five matches.
Katli averaged 8.55 per wicket. He also returned eight scalps at 22.3 for ACT/NSW Country at the Under 15 National Championships. Townsend will lead the Country Sixers squad at the State Challenge.
Rankin said a number of players that were members of the ACT/NSW Country team that claimed the Under 17 National Championships in 2018/19 will compete at the State Challenge. Those players are Townsend, opening batters Charles Mitchell (Country Sixers) and Jayden Zahra-Smith (Country Thunder).
North Coastal is the most heavily represented zone across the two teams with eight players.
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