Geraldton’s top-flight Country Week cricket side looks set to make an impression with Jai Russell as skipper

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Tom Forsyth runs out Albany batter Hayden Davies at 2020 Country Week.
Camera IconTom Forsyth runs out Albany batter Hayden Davies at 2020 Country Week. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Geraldton’s Country Week cricket teams have yet to be finalised but the top side, which will contest A-Section, is looking good.

The event starts on Sunday, January 16, with 45 teams in six sections, including a second Geraldton team in C-Section.

Jai Russell will debut as captain in the number one side.

Others locked in include Jay O’Brien, whose ability to guts out an innings and stay focused even if wickets fall will be very valuable.

Though he’ll likely bat in the lower middle order, Russell is also prepared to wait for bad balls and so is Kade Gillingham, who will aim to build on his excellent debut last year with the gloves as well.

In the A-Section, matches are 60 overs a side and as there’s no over limitations, it’s not unusual for the bulk of the work to be done by three or four bowlers. In short, no easy runs.

Another inclusion is Clint Yeates, who on the opening day will be the first to play 100 Country Week games for Geraldton and the third from the Mid West, after Denis Keeffe and Murray Criddle, to do so.

Alex Solomon has earned a spot after impressing in the seconds last year and solid efforts in club cricket this season, while Ringo McKenna, Josh DeLacy and Tom Forsyth lead the pace attack.

Details on the number two side are sketchy at this stage but Graeme Barndon is confirmed as captain for the third successive season.

There are eight teams in Sections A to E in two pools of four who play each other once. The top two in each pool play semis on day four, with the winners to play a final. The five F-Section teams play a round robin.

The number one side will play Busselton-Margaret River, Esperance and Peel, while the twos are drawn to play Avon, Eastern Goldfields and Newman and either finals or play-offs for placings to follow.

Geraldton has won the A-section in 1933, 2001, 2005 and 2018 and the C-section in 1964, 1969 and 2006, with a win for Northampton-Upper Chapman in 1957.

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