Head Coach Jono Dean has named an unchanged 12-player squad for the ACT Comets’ first match on home turf in their return to the Toyota National Second XI Competition, hosting South Australia at EPC Solar Park in Phillip from next Monday, 20 November.
The Comets gained firsthand experience in their return to interstate cricket in last week’s loss to Western Australia at the WACA in Perth, and the much-improved performance in the second innings has given the squad a healthy boost of confidence before facing SA.
Dean says it’s encouraging not only to see the players return to ACT Premier Cricket last weekend and perform well, but to see those lessons already being applied at training.
“There are certainly more conversations about how they're going to apply their game to 2nd XI cricket. There's a bit of bounce and excitement around training as well, which is great.
“It's a young group, carrying a really nice vibe, but we're also under no illusions that this year is going to be about exposure and learning what it takes to succeed at this level. And the early signs are really promising,” Dean said.
At 29 years of age, Western Districts allrounder Scott Murn wondered if his opportunity to play 2nd XI cricket might have passed him, but consistent performance in Premier Cricket for the last few years – he’s the reigning back-to-back DB Robin Medallist – saw him rewarded with a senior ACT debut in Perth last week.
After a shaky start with the ball, Murn regrouped with the bat and top-scored in both innings, backing up his 36 in the first innings with a well-compiled 90 in the second innings, and sharing an important 113-run fifth-wicket partnership with Queanbeyan allrounder Tyler van Luin.
“It was a big step up for the group, but you could really see the guys learn a lot from the experience and watching the way WA went about their game,” Murn said this week.
“The coaches have been really good, making sure we reflect on what we're learning along the way. And I don't think the WA guys did anything we're not capable of, they just did it for longer.
“We've come away from the experience as better players already.”
The side again includes three interstate-based players of ACT origin as per the agreement Cricket ACT has gained from the other Australian states. Part of the agreement around the Comets return to national competition will see this number decrease in future seasons.
ACT Comets squad to take on South Australia at Phillip from 20 November:
1. Nic Broes (VC – right-hand batter, Queanbeyan)
2. Jack Sanson (right-hand batter, Eastlake)
3. Zac Worden (right-hand batter, Ginninderra)
4. Zak Keogh (right-hand batter, Weston Creek-Molonglo)
5. Tyler Van Luin (allrounder, Queanbeyan)
6. Blake Faunce (allrounder, Weston Creek-Molonglo)
7. Scott Murn (allrounder, Western Districts)
8. Hanno Jacobs * (Captain – allrounder, Western Suburbs, NSW)
9. Benji Floros * (right-arm fast bowler, Valleys, Queensland)
10. Mikey McNamara (wicketkeeper, Queanbeyan)
11. Sam Skelly * (right-arm fast bowler, Eastern Suburbs, NSW)
12. Kai Brunker (right-arm leg spin bowler, Queanbeyan)
* Denotes interstate player of ACT origin
Head Coach – Jono Dean
Assistant Coach – Mick Delaney
Physio – Josh Taylor
Article by Brett McKay
Banner image: Blake Faunce bowling during the ACT Comets first match against WA at the WACA (November 2023). Image courtesy WA Cricket.