The Blue Mountains Cricket Association’s East-West match is on again this Saturday with an ageing Wests side confident of defending their title against a young and revamped Easts.
The annual fixture, the BMCA’s showpiece, sees the best local cricketers pull on either the red of Easts or the blue of Wests, depending on which side of Bodington Hill, Bullaburra, they live.
Wests’ skipper, Katoomba’s Oliver Gaul, said his side is full of experienced players eager to follow on from last year’s victory over their rivals from ‘down the hill’.
“Our team all live above Bodington Hill so we’ll go into this game with a positive altitude,” he said.
“Seriously though, we’ve had a settled, quality side for some years now and all the guys are confident of lifting the shield again.
“As captain, I can’t help but feel good about having proven representative stars like Andy Killion and James Heath leading the way and I’m sure the rest of the team feel the same.”
Gaul said his side is full of experience and hard heads that have been around Blue Mountains cricket for years and is certain they’re still hungry for success against the Easts ‘upstarts’.
Easts’ captain Nick Hancott is determined to spoil Wests’ party and has a team containing several new names with youth the common factor.
“After last year’s loss we had a good look at our side and decided we needed some new blood who might rattle some old bones this Saturday,” he said.
Two new faces in the Easts’ side are Hazelbrook duo Zac Opdam and Justin Davies, who will be candidates to take the new ball.
“They’re both young and fast and the Westies will want to have their reflexes in order if they want to go home in one piece.
“In addition, we have three players who have all scored centuries for their clubs this season so I’m really looking forward to leading this side and think we’ll do well,” Hancott said.
Last year’s match, the eighth time the sides have met, started sensationally when Hancott was bowled first ball by Heath, something the Easts’ captain said won’t happen again.
“I’ll be watching the ball this time, one of the basic rules of batting, and won’t be giving them the dream start they got last year.”
The BMCA East-West day is on this Saturday, December 22 at Gloria Park, Hazelbrook and begins with the East-West T20 game at 10am.
The main game, 50-overs per side, will be played under the venue’s new lights from 1.30pm to 9.05pm (approximately) and is followed by presentations at the adjacent Hazelbrook Bowling Club.
The day is family-friendly, with plenty of activities for the kids, including a Santa visit at 1pm, a junior catching competition and a club sprint race. A licensed canteen will operate throughout the day.