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Young Benalla cricketers thrive at country week

Competition continues for four Benalla and district cricket teams at this year's Junior Country Week.

MONIQUE FREER January 8, 2014 4:17am

BDCA's Mitch Cullen bowls on the first day of Junior Country Week at Benalla Gardens Oval.


Cricketers across the district are jumping straight back into the 2013-14 season, with competitions firing up this week after a two-week break.

The new year’s cricket competition began on Monday when Benalla and District Cricket Association entered four teams in North East Region 6 Junior Country Week.

Benalla’s under-17 side got off to a flying start after an upset 50-run victory against Cricket Albury-Wodonga.

The Benalla and district side struggled to score 110, but some strong bowling from Nathan Purcell saw the host association all out for 60 runs.

James Cousins was excellent in attack, scoring 48 runs, while Finton Brazil provided strong support with 22 of his own.

BDCA president Trevor Saker said the performance was particularly impressive considering Benalla was the smallest of the competing associations.

‘‘We’ve got two towns to pick from, whereas Albury has Albury and Wodonga and all the outlying towns,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s where we struggle — but having said that, the kids just love being here, it’s amazing the enthusiasm they show.

‘‘Kids get to play with each other instead of against each other and that’s why it’s good.’’

Benalla’s under-15, under-14 and under-13 teams were all beaten on day one of the competition.

Junior Country Week is an annual week-long competition that is used as part of selection for the North East Knights squad.

‘‘It exposes them to better cricket, it’s part of the selection trial for the North East Knights for next season, so the kids’ performances this week are looked at for selection for next year’s squad,’’ Saker said.

Twenty teams compete for shields in five age divisions, from under-17 to under-13.

Formerly based in Benalla, the Country Week tournament has games in Albury, Wodonga, Yarrawonga, Tallangatta, Wangaratta and Benalla this year.

Competition continued yesterday and today with a rest day tomorrow and finals to be held on Friday.

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