ACT/NSW Country have announced a strong squad, featuring Ulaldulla United products Matthew Gilkes and Tom Engelbrecht, to travel to Melbourne for its third match of the Toyota Futures League at Junction Oval, starting on Monday.
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The 12-man Comets squad selected for the match against Victoria will be captained by Blues’ reserve gloveman Jay Lenton and includes five members of the Cricket NSW high performance transition academy squad.
Sydney Sixers’ batting dynamo Justin Avendano, who returns from a broken thumb, is one of those five players.
The other members of the Transition squad include Western Suburbs captain and leg-spinning allrounder, Jonathan Cook, promising young batsman Matthew Gilkes, as well as pace duo Nathan McAndrew and Tom Pinson.
Avendano enters the match against Victoria in hot form after he pulverised 122 from a mere 63 balls in a Sixers Academy match during the week.
Emerging opening batsman Henry Hunt is another key inclusion for ACT/Country as it seeks to extend its lead at the top of the Futures League table.
The 21-year-old is the second leading run-scorer in the competition so far thanks largely to a magnificent 208 in the first innings of the 95-run victory over Western Australia in Canberra last round.
It was his maiden Futures League century in his first match of the season.
Hunt amassed 265 runs during the fixture including a solid half-century in the second innings.
He trails Queensland batsman Corey Hunter by 75 runs on the list of leading run-scorers.
Gilkes also made his maiden Futures League century in the win over Western Australia.
He peeled off 123 from 152 balls in the second innings.
Both Gilkes and Hunt shared successive century stands in each innings of the match.
McAndrew, Pinson and left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Taylor are the equal leading wicket takers for ACT/NSW Country after two rounds. Each bowler has claimed seven scalps.
Pinson has taken those seven wickets at 19.29 and has been in equally good form for Sutherland in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket.
The right-arm quick from Yass has collected 16 dismissals at 21.19 for Sutherland and trails the leading wicket-taker in the competition, Sydney University leg-spinner Devlin Malone, by three scalps.
Victoria are yet to register a win this season after it suffered an outright loss to South Australia in the first innings.
The Victorians went down by an innings and 53 runs.
ACT/NSW Country squad: Jay Lenton ©, Justin Avendano, Jonathan Cook, Tom Engelbrecht, Matthew Gilkes, Henry Hunt, Hayden Kerr, Joe Kershaw, Nathan McAndrew, Tom Pinson, Ben Taylor and Greg West.
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