Josh Bennett is the ACT Comets latest recruit. Photo: Graham Tidy
Josh Bennett was on the verge of playing Sydney grade cricket before a chat with ACT Comets coach Mark Higgs convinced him to come to Canberra instead.
The 23-year-old fast bowler believes the nation's capital is a genuine pathway and he points to the amount of talent to come out of the ACT in recent years.
He was part of the 13-man Comets squad announced on Wednesday, with the Meteors also releasing their squad.
Bennett was chased by about eight Sydney clubs after being named NSW country cricketer of the year for his efforts at the Australian Country Cricket Championship, where he was the leading wicket taker.
He was on the verge of signing with Randwick Petersham before Higgs convinced him his chances of climbing through the ranks were better in Canberra.
Originally from Orange, Bennett moved to Newcastle to study teaching. His father, Michael, has lived in the ACT for about 15 years and Bennett hopes joining his dad will lead to a contract with one of the states.
''[Higgs] rattled off about 10 fast bowlers that NSW have that would be ahead of me [if I went to Sydney] and he said I'd be the strike bowler for the Comets if I came down here,'' he said. ''It kind of made sense really.''
The Meteors have named three debutantes - top-order batsman Katie Mack, all-rounder Kira Churchland and seam bowler Nina Westenraad - to play last year's Twenty20 finalists Western Australia Fury at the WACA Ground on Friday (T20), Saturday (50-over) and Sunday (T20).
♦ ACT Meteors Squad: Kris Britt (c), Laura Wright, Rene Farrell, Katie Mack, Sara Hungerford, Rhiannon Dick, Kate Owen, Kira Churchland, Sally Moylan, Zoe Cooke, Sam Bates, Nina Westenraad, Kate Waetford.
♦ ACT Comets squad: Jono Dean (c), Matthew Gawthrop, Michael Spaseski, Dean Solway, Blake Dean, Matthew Condon, Beau McClintock, Shane Devoy, Ben Oakley, Joshua Bennett, Greg West, Ethan Bartlett, Michael Delaney. Rookies: Joe Slater, Lakshmn Shivakumar, Mark Solway, Alex Page.