Captains look ahead to country week

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Jai Russell and Graeme Barndon will lead Geraldton's Country Week campaign.
Camera IconJai Russell and Graeme Barndon will lead Geraldton's Country Week campaign. Credit: Edward Scown

Fielding is where Geraldton cricket captain Jai Russell feels his team may have an edge, as country week opens in Perth on Sunday.

Russell leads Geraldton’s 1st XI in A-section.

“It’s as good a fielding side as any I can remember for country week,” Russell said.

Russell has played 79 country week games in 15 campaigns along with 222 A-grade innings since his 2000-01 debut but has surprisingly not led Geraldton before.

“Captaincy isn’t something I’ve strived for but the situation has probably allowed it — definitely an honour and not something I take lightly,” Russell said.

“I think we have a very balanced side despite missing a front-line spinner and the goal is to make a semi-final and hopefully the final at the WACA.”

He has the advantage of vastly experienced coach Bruce Gillingham to assist.

Gillingham, more than anyone, knows what’s needed to win A-section. He was captain when Geraldton won in 2001, ending a 68-year drought, and again in 2005. Russell is delighted to have him aboard.

“His record speaks for itself, his passion for country week is unmatched and he’ll have lots of ideas and plans but ultimately the players have to execute.”

Geraldton’s second side will contest C-section with Graeme Barndon in charge for a third successive year.

“Love the mix of older and younger players though could probably use another older player but had some late pull outs,” Barndon said.

“Our young fellers are our strength, we’re always better than the rest in the field and our batting is good but sometimes with a young side you lose quick wickets so need runs from Barham and Ingle.

“With the ball I’m sure Jupp and Johnson will hurry a few batsmen and Evans and Welsh will be reliable.

“The hardest part of country week is organising it but once that’s sorted and we’re there, the cricket and the good times are gravy.”

While the seniors are preparing for battle, three Mid West teams are in Perth for junior country week. They played their opening games yesterday.

Senior teams

A-section: Jai Russell (c), Sam Crouch, Jack Dawson, Josh DeLacy, Tom Forsyth, Kade Gillingham, Ringo McKenna, Ben O’Brien, Jay O’Brien, Nigel Routledge, Alex Solomon, Clint Yeates.

C-section: Graeme Barndon (c), Riley Barham, Justin Clarkson, Kurt Crudeli, Simon Evans, Zayne Gray, Darcy Ingle, Ethan Johnson, Jarrod Jupp, Callum Marquis, Mitch Marsh, Daniel Welsh.

Junior teams

16A: Jeremy Bedford, Austin Breen, BJ Brinkley, Seth Farmer, Digby Gallop, Kodi Giltrow, Mathew Greenlees, Ben Ingle, Angus Johnson, Travis Morgan, Tom Witt, Zak Williamson.

14A: Jack Annison, Jackson Burns, Adam Bradbury, Jack Gray, Darcy Giltrow, Zeke Kuser, Nate Mackay, Ace Maver, Austyn Moulds, Oliver Risinger, Bruce Weston, Anthony Witt. (Note: Jai Diepeveen in original squad but out with injury).

14C: James Camac, Griffin Patience, Hayden Kelly, Oliver Macpherson, Hayden Mahony, Blair Michaels, Kian Smit, Cameron Stokes, Angus Weston, Digby Williams.

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