Eight Bundaberg cricket players have been selected as part of the 12-man Wide Bay Flames team contesting the Bulls Masters Country Challenge.
The Country Challenge will be held in Bundaberg from October 2-4.
Captain Chris Duff, Brendan Schultz, Dale Steele, Gavin Scott, Matthew Jackson, Michael Loader, Nathan Van Eekeren and Sam Pearson all made the team.
With some local players stepping down from Wide Bay representation this year coach Simon Gills said it had created an opportunity for up-and-coming local players.
“We’ve got a pretty new side, a young side,” Simon said.
“Most of the boys are really keen to have a crack.”
Eight regional teams from throughout Queensland will contest the Country Challenge at Salter Oval for the chance to play the grand final at the Gabba as a curtain raiser to a Brisbane Heat game.
“We want to do really well in our own backyard,” Simon said.
“It’s very exciting for the town.”
The Flames will be mentored by Australian bowling legend Carl Rackemann in what Simon said would be a great opportunity for the young team.
“He’s an international coach and has coached at the top level.
“He’s been excellent for the boys, particularly the bowlers.
“His expertise and wisdom, I rack his brains about anything and everything I can!
“He talks a lot to the bowlers and makes them think about not just running in and bowling a ball but the technical side of things.
“You can’t put a price on that.”
The Wide Bay Flames didn’t make last year’s grand final, but Simon is approaching this year’s Country Challenge with a clean slate.
“We look forward to what we’ve got to do this year.
“Being in our own backyard in Bundaberg it makes it all the more pleasurable in knowing the playing area.”
The Wide Bay Flame play the first game on Friday at 6.30 pm against the South East Queensland Stormers.
They also play at 2.30pm and 7pm on Saturday.