Jai Russell named Geraldton cricket country week A-side captain for third straight year

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Jai Russell will lead the A-side for a third straight year.
Camera IconJai Russell will lead the A-side for a third straight year. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

There may be late changes to the squads but two Geraldton cricket teams will contest country week from Sunday, January 14.

Country week, sponsored by the WA Country Cricket Board, is an annual event in Perth with origins dating back to 1907.

Geraldton’s number one team will be in A-section for the ninth successive year and 23rd time of the past 25 series. The side, captained by Jai Russell for a third year, has two primary aims.

First, do enough to keep Geraldton in A-section as demotion risks an extended stay in B-section and second, if the first objective is met, win it.

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Geraldton last claimed an A-section in 2018 with other titles in 1933, 2001 and 2005 for a total of four wins. In comparison Albany, Bunbury and Eastern Goldfields (Kalgoorlie) have 15, 14 and 10 wins apiece.

Henry Anderson, Jeremy Bedford and Mitch Thompson are new to country week. Austin Breen and Kody Giltrow will be on their second tour with Damien King and Jay O’Brien on their third.

Experienced campaigners are Russell (19th tour), Ringo McKenna (8th) and though still young, Darcy Ingle (5th) and Kade Gillingham (4th).

Zane Marwick knows what’s needed, having played superbly for Albany and while last season’s Keeffe medallist Clayton Bruce-Cherry hasn’t had many CW games behind him, he has played at higher levels.

The number two side will be led by Aaron McAuliffe, on his fifth tour for Geraldton on top of 11 for Great Southern.

This side was promoted from C-section in 2023 when other associations withdrew. It was thought they would struggle but they surprised and at one stage were in contention for the final.

McAuliffe has a great deputy in Clint Yeates, who after 21 seasons (out of a possible 22) representing the top side, has dropped himself to the seconds.

A-side team: J Russell (c), H Anderson, J Bedford, A Breen, C Bruce-Cherry, K Gillingham, K Giltrow, D Ingle, D King, Z Marwick, GD McKenna, JJ O’Brien, MC Thompson.

B-side team: A McAuliffe (c), R Barham, S Evans, S Farmer, G Heberle, JE Jupp, J Poletti, M Marsh, MO McAuliffe, J Pinto, MM Russell, C Yeates.

A-team fixtures: Sun Jan 14 v Eastern Goldfields (Breckler Pk), Mon Jan 15 v West Pilbara (Abbett Pk east), Wed Jan 17 v Upper Gt Southern (College Pk east), Thu Jan 18 (tbc), Fri Jan 19 (tbc).

B-team fixtures: Sun Jan 14 v Eastern Districts (Rosalie Pk turf), Mon Jan 15 v Gt Southern (Iluka 2), Wed Jan 17 v Sth Midlands (Murdoch Uni east), Thu Jan 18 (tbc), Fri Jan 19 (tbc).

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