Central West Wranglers coach Richie Venner believes his side is capable of rising to the challenge of this year’s Plan B Regional Bash after being “railroaded” twice in two summers.
The Wranglers have been bounced out of the regional Twenty20 competition in consecutive round one losses to stacked Orana Outlaws outfits, leaving the franchise still searching for a maiden win in the Regional Bash.
But Venner is confident this weekend’s tournament will be different.
With no marquee players allowed in this year’s Regional Bash, Venner is confident Central West can begin its 2017 campaign in the Orange pool on the right note.
“We haven’t been that far off, but we were railroaded,” Venner said, a playing member of the last two Wranglers squads.
He’ll only coach this summer.
“Orana played three marquees in game one, two the following year and we didn’t play one in that first game and just one in the second,” he added.
“We’re comfortable with the squad we’ve picked.
“We’re hoping we’re progressing up to that level the Outlaws have been in the past.”
Bathurst pair Jameel Qureshi and Ryan Peacock will skipper the side over the course of the weekend, with the Wranglers first game on Saturday night against Orana at Wade Park.
Qureshi isn’t available for Sunday’s games against the ACT Aces or the South Coast Crew, with Peacock leading the team in those games.
Josh Toole comes into the side for Qureshi on day two and will be joined by a host of Bathurst cricketers, Aaron Seymour, Matt Stephen, Luke Powell, Ben Parsons, Henry Shoemark, Nic Broes and Connor Slattery all in the 15-man squad.
Orange guns Matt Corben, Josh Doherty, Daryl Kennwell and Jackson Coote are also in the squad, with Lithgow-come-Centurions gun Ryan Gurney, the reigning Carl Sharpe medalist as the Royal Hotel Cup player of the year, named as well.
The winner of the Orange pool progresses through to the Regional Bash finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Venner was confident the squad was strong enough to match it with this weekend’s opponents and press for that SCG berth.
Not that he’s worried about the opposition.
“I don’t care what they put on the paddock, we’ve looked at that and set things in the past and come up short,” he said.
“But if we worry about ourselves and react well to situations in games we’ll put ourselves in positions to win.”
Venner picked the side along with Qureshi and seasoned Twenty20 gun Josh Toole, all three have played multiple seasons in the Royal Hotel Cup.
The ODCA’s premier short-form competition, Venner said it made sense to use that tournament as a yard stick for selection.
Venner’s particualry excited about the young players in the squad, Powell and Parsons, two big tall fast bowlers from Bathurst.
“There’s no fear from these young guys either. Come through the ranks playing this sort of cricket,” he said, Broes and Slattery two more young bats in the side.
“We do have to play a couple of under 21s, but even if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be changing our approach.
“We’re picking these guys because they can play.”
The Wranglers host Orana from 7pm on Saturday at Wade Park.
Games, at both Wade Park and Riawena Oval, begin from 9am on Sunday.
- WRANGLERS: Jameel Qureshi (Game one only) Josh Toole (Game two and three), Daryl Kennewell, Ryan Peacock (C, G2 and 3), Henry Shoemark, Josh Doherty, Nick Broes, Ryan Gurney, Wayne Sellers, Matt Corben, Connor Slattery, Aaron Seymour, Matt Stephen, Jackson Coote, Luke Powell, Ben Parsons.