Irvines Country cap chance
By ADAM HICKS
IF ALL goes to plan, Casino batsman Sam Irvine will soon be staring down the pitch at Queensland Bulls paceman Ashley Noffke.
Irvine yesterday revealed to The Northern Star that his goal at the Australian Country Championships is to win selection in the Australian Country team that will play a one-day match against the Bulls during the carnival Mackay.
"I don't know about daunting," he said of the prospect at playing among the country's best amateur cricketers.
"I'm a bit nervous, I don't want to come away with no runs ... I don't want to fail.
"But you get a bit excited because you've got a good opportunity.
"If I have an alright carnival and get picked in the Australian Country team, that's my goal for the tournament; to get as many runs as I can and make that Australian merit side.
"Not many players can say they've played against a State side."
Irvine missed out on the merit side at last year's Championships after batting at number seven through most of the tournament.
"I didn't get much of a chance," he said.
"I'm hoping to get a bit more of an opportunity this time batting at number three."
Irvine has already performed for the NSW Country team, scoring 45 not out against Sydney XI last month.
But he said the Australian Country Championships were where he really wanted to shine.
"They are the biggest thing that you can accomplish without going to the city," he said.
"I'm pretty excited about it actually. I'm just keen to get a few runs and do well."
Irvine leaves today to join the NSW squad in Sydney before the team flies out to Mackay for the championships that start on Sunday.
Over the following week, he plays five matches against Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and East-Asia Pacific.
Irvine's Cavaliers team-mates, Scott Shephard, Sam Dietrich and Wes Koskela, have travelled to New Zealand to begin a tour with the Northern NSW Emus Colts.