NSW COUNTRY COLTS
Illawarra Colts coach Steve Davies says batting depth is his team's biggest asset heading into the under-21 NSW Country Colts carnival in Wollongong during the Australia Day long weekend.
The three-day carnival from January 26-28 features eight NSW Country associations - Illawarra, Southern Zone, Central Coast, North Coastal, Western Zone, Newcastle, Central North and Riverina.
Illawarra is not among the top seeds but had an excellent carnival in Wollongong 12 months ago, winning their final two games after the opening round was washed out.
Davies believes his team's batting is their biggest strength.
"Mitchell McCrae made the Country Colts team last year and him and his brother Hayden were among the runs last weekend in the Illawarra comp and should be good for us up the order," Davies said.
"Joe McDevitt is a terrific bat, skipper Taun (Stanham) led the team really well last year and is an aggressive bat and Ben Chapman made the NSW under 17s."
Sixteen-year-old Keira first grader Daniel Constable is Illawarra's youngest player and last week was named player of the series after skippering Illawarra to victory in the under-16 Bradman Cup in Nowra.
The Illawarra bowling attack will be led by Helensburgh medium pacer Luke Falkiner - who has taken 12 wickets in his last three one-dayers - plus Jed Austin (Northern Districts) and University's Ryan Holcroft .
With teams changing significantly each season Davies couldn't nominate the likely strongest association.
Illawarra take on Western Zone in their opening game at North Dalton Park on Australia Day.
The other opening round matches include Newcastle vs Riverina.
The Illawarra squad is Taun Stanham (c), Mitchell McCrae, Hayden McCrae, Luke Falkiner, Cameron Magennis, Ben Chapman, Xavier McDevitt, Joe McDevitt, Jacob Hand, Jed Austin, Jackson Stewart, Daniel Constable, Ryan Holcroft.