The elite players in the Grassmere Cricket Association (GCA) will have two reasons to be at their best on Saturday.
Not only will they want to make an impact for their teams on day two of their round six matches, but they will also be looking to hit their best form ahead of Bendigo Country Week, which begins on Monday.
The GCA will be fielding teams in division two and three of country week.
Wangoom is the only club in the competition without a representative in the squad.
Steve Blacker will coach the division two team, with Panmure batsman Paddy Mahony as captain, while Peter Sedgley (coach) and Brian Wilson (captain) will be the leadership team for division three.
Blacker said the GCA was keen to put its best foot forward at country week.
“With the exception of two or three blokes who can’t go because of other commitments, this squad is probably the best we can put together,” Blacker said.
“The association wants to have a real shot at being successful at country week, it has put a bit of money into it so we have picked a squad that we hope can get a reward for that effort.
“In past years, we have been a bit light on in the top order, but this time we have blokes who can play straight and some who can give it a whack, so it’s a good mix.”
Blacker said the squad will be interchangeable across the two grades with in-form players filling the division two XI.
The country week competition is played on turf pitches, something Blacker said was a highlight for his players.
“It’s a great chance for our players to bat and bowl on turf,” he said.
“The other great thing about country week is it gives blokes the chance to play at a higher level, in big games.
“Not every club can play finals every year so this is a high point for a lot of players.”
The squad is: Paddy Mahony, Nathan Shand (Panmure), Steve Blacker (Woolsthorpe), Chris Lenehan, Braden Hotker, Jackson Fary, Justin Coates (Grassmere), Brayden Buchanan, Ben Julius, (Killarney), Murray Habel, Lachie Glare, Brad Smith (Hawkesdale), Christo Rook, Joe Forrest, Tyson Umbers, Connor Umbers, Brian Wilson (Yambuk), Richard McKellar, Rhys Dews (Purnim), Lachie Boyle, Daniel Boyle, Noah Boyle, Matthew Boyle, Phillip Edwards (Mailors Flat).