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Dual hope for country week

Albany Cricket Association will become the first association to field two teams in the top tier of the annual senior Country Week cricket competition in January.

Fixtures for the carnival were released last week by the Country Cricket Board with Albany’s 1st XI and now 2nd XI taking on A-section of the championships after a successful campaign earlier this year.

Albany’s triumph to claim the B-section title, coupled with the new format introduced last campaign, means Albany’s 2nd XI is automatically elevated in the promotion and relegation system.

Albany has dominated B-section in recent seasons, winning their fourth title in a decade in January against Warren-Blackwood and in 2011 became the first association to claim both the A and B-section titles.

They will be placed on the opposite side of the draw to Albany’s 1st XI, who reached the A-section final but lost by 99 runs to Geraldton after being skittled for just 34.

ACA president Terry Eaton said the core of the association’s best players continued to put their hand up for the annual carnival, resulting in some consistent on-field success which he expected to continue when country week starts on January 20.

Eaton said the association would also field teams in E-section and F-section.

“The significance is we have had a really good pool of about 20-25 players that have done well as a group for a number of years,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing really, they (2nd XI) keep standing up and chipping away.

“Sometimes we miss two or three of our better players but everyone is in the same boat, it’s the nature of the beast at country week.”

While Albany has fielded two teams at Country Week since 1963, it will be the first time the ACA will field two teams in A-section as they chase their 15th Boan Cup and first A-section title since 2014.

The A-section final will be played at the WACA for the first time since 2013 marking the 100th senior country week carnival.

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