Hot sports issue: Gaining support for Webb Shield
IT'S one of the hottest topics in Ipswich cricket - how players and clubs can support a representative team capable of winning back the Webb Shield.
Northsiders stalwart Kev Cumming generated some terrific debate on Facebook by listing 12 players he'd love to see represent Ipswich in the next Webb Shield game or games in February.
The powerful-looking line-up is Matt Fairhurst (Northsiders), Luke Barrett (Centrals), Dylan Blackman (Northsiders), Ben O'Connell (Centrals), Alex Welsh (Laidley), Tobias Nugter (Thunder), Dylan Hickson (Swifts), Travis Ilka (Laidley), Matt Guest (Centrals), Ben Gibson (Laidley), Dom Salton (Northsiders) and Cumming.
Such an Ipswich Pioneers side would have every chance of bringing the Webb Shield back to Ipswich for the first time since 2008. It's a combination with experience, fine leaders, aggression and youthful enthusiasm.
However, sadly, one of Ipswich's leading coaches doubts all the players mentioned would commit to the concept.
With so much representative cricket already being played and ongoing club and family commitments in the new year, Scott Barrett said it would be unlikely everyone would back up again.
Whether next year's Webb Shield is played as a standalone game or best-of-three series on Sunday is yet to be decided.
"At this stage, it's still best-of-three but it's whether or not we can get people committed to it,'' Barrett said.
"If you made it a one-off, you could probably get your best side available.''
Barrett and likely co-coach Len Martin will start scouting interest on which players are available with a view to having some squad training early in the new year.
"I need clubs to actually get good players interested,'' Barrett said. "Not just the players, the clubs have got to drive it as well.''
The Schaeffer Shield competition is over for this season, with Gold Coast winning.
However, more Plunkett Cup games have to be played as the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket first division competition continues either side of the Christmas break.
There's also rules limiting players being involved in all three country representative programs.
Barrett said another problem this season was limited Webb Shield scheduling options due to the club season starting two weeks later.
"They couldn't organise it before Schaeffer Shield this year, which was a pain because we had no way of selecting Schaeffer Shield,'' he said. "We just had to do it on paper.''
However, he's motivated to work with the clubs and other leading coaches like Craig Jesberg and Brian Andrews to see what Ipswich can achieve.
"The value for me is we haven't won that Webb Shield since 2008,'' the dedicated coach said. "I've been trying to win it for the last three years.''
Barrett has done a fine job in recent seasons working with Centrals at club level and helping other representative teams like the SEQ Stormers in Queensland Country competitions.
"The rep cricket that I've had now has finished now until Christmas so I will look at it after Christmas and start putting stuff out to clubs and Facebook about getting interest,'' he said.
What do you think?
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