A-grade first-timers excited about the challenge

Alicia PereraPilbara News
West Pilbara Cricket Association Country Week captain Michael Bunting, centre, and team members Nathan Hampson, Daniel Carse, Lokendra Ranawat and Alex Fitzmaurice are fundraising with Karratha businesses for their tilt at the A grade competition title.
Camera IconWest Pilbara Cricket Association Country Week captain Michael Bunting, centre, and team members Nathan Hampson, Daniel Carse, Lokendra Ranawat and Alex Fitzmaurice are fundraising with Karratha businesses for their tilt at the A grade competition title. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

West Pilbara cricketers are playing for their firstA-grade title at the WA country week championships this week after a fast rise to the competition’s top level over the past few years.

The West Pilbara Cricket Association side have travelled to Perth for WA country week, where they will play five other teams, including defending champions Peel, over the course of the week.

It has been a fast rise through country week divisions for the local side, who only three years ago were sitting in C-grade and had never won the title in decades of operation. They have since won both the C and B-grade competitions to now have a chance in the A-grade.

Team captain Michael Bunting said it would be difficult to break through the ranks as newcomers and the only north-western team in their country week division, but he had confidence in the quality of their team.

“I think it’s probably the best side we could possibly have brought from the Pilbara,” he said. “We’ve maybe one or two that we would have liked to have added into the squad, but the guys we’ve got are probably all the best in their teams and perform really well up here in competition and we’re confident that they’ve all got good track records to perform well down there, too.”

The side has been training once or twice a week since December and is fundraising at Karratha’s Yogetit and Blanche Bar this month to pay for umpires, accommodation, uniforms and food on the trip.

Bunting said the week would stretch players to play to their highest standard. “I think we’re going to be tested,” he said. “It’s an exciting challenge for everyone because it’s probably the highest level of cricket we can play coming from towns like Karratha or Dampier or Wickham.

“The quality of the competition down there are guys that train for cricket regularly, they play on turf facilities and all the best stuff, and for a country town like Karratha to send a team down is really good, so the guys are excited.”

WA country week runs from January 15-21, finishing with the grand final game.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails