Melinda West, Trish Dougan and Cameron Wright represent state at nationals.
Melinda West, Trish Dougan and Cameron Wright represent state at nationals. ALLAN REINIKKA

CQ softball makes mark

Rockhampton has to be doing something right with six players recently returned after representing the state at national age-group tournaments.

The six were not just there to make up numbers for the bigger centres as they all played their part with Queensland gaining some excellent results.

Pride of place has to go to under-16 girls with three Rockhampton players in the squad that was pipped at the post to finish second in its tournament at Blacktown.

Aymee and Rheanon Preston teamed up with Melinda West, who at 13 years of age and still has more time in this age grouping.

In the under-16 boys tournament Cameron Wright was the sole representative from the city and he too had a successful time, also assisting Queensland to a runner-up position.

The Queensland under-19 teams did not do quite so well finishing fourth in the boys and fifth in the girls tournament.

Again local representatives, Ben Preston and Trisha Dougan played their part in the team structure.

“They both batted very well,” Rockhampton coach and administrator Tanya Abbott stated.

The pair were also sharp in their specialist outfield positions.

With Rockhampton having about 80 junior players compared to the bigger centres with as many as 40 nominated to each age-group, to get six players selected in State teams is a big effort, but Abbott is not yet satisfied.

“We expected to get that many,” she said.

“But we had hoped for a few more.

“We know how strong we are competing against the rest of the state. We are consistently in the top three or four.”

In 2009 the Rockhampton girls under-19 team finished its state competition in second place and yet just one player earned state selection.

Abbott does not look at that as a negative, but puts it down to the local team selecting players at the younger end of the age-group.

Consequently their time for state honours will come.

“To even be competitive is phenomenal,” she admitted.

The program for 2010 will provide more challenges for Rockhampton representative teams.

Abbott said the state’s governing body had revamped the age-group for the sport. Instead of having tee-ball, under 14s and under 16s the local competition will have under 13s, 15s and 17s.

The move dovetails into the national program with an extra age group championship to be introduced resulting in there now being a progression from under 15 to under 17 and then under 19.

It promises to be another big season for Rockhampton softball.

Abbott said the local competition would get under way on the weekend of March 6.

The highlight of the year should be the state under-19 tournament at Kele Park in October.



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