Four of the ACT Rockets' squad members have been awarded places in the Australian Men’s Indoor team ahead of the series against New Zealand later in the year. Matthew Floros, Tim Floros, Benji Floros and Vinesh Bennett were selected on the back of strong personal campaigns as part of the highly competitive Rockets unit, alongside coach Billy Floros who will serve as manager of the Australian side.
Captain Matt Floros led the squad by example at this year’s Nationals with 128 runs in his 10 matches, and was only dismissed four times, in a performance that earned him the Player of the Series award. The last ACT representative to have this honour bestowed upon them was his brother, Jason Floros, back in 2008.
Tim Floros finished the tournament with the highest contribution average of any player in the Men’s tournament. His 21 wickets put him at the top of the scalps column, and 142 runs with the bat made him the second highest run scorer as well. Benji Floros was frugal with his bowling, conceding just 20 runs and taking 16 wickets in his 10 appearances, while veteran Vinesh Bennett earned his spot through an all-round performance, grabbing 15 wickets and 117 runs.
For incumbents Matt Floros and Vinesh Bennett, their selection rewards their continued form since the 2014 Indoor Cricket World Cup, while Timmy Floros returns to the side after once again making himself available for national honours. Benji Floros will make his debut for the Australian side having represented Australia at the junior level, including captaining the 17/u Australian boys to a world title in 2015, and will become one of the youngest Australian representatives at the open level.
Alexander Floros was also identified as a star for the future, by way of his selection in the Australian Under 22 side for their series against New Zealand. The 19-year-old took nine wickets in his six appearances in the men’s tournament, and his selection marks his second appearance for the Australian youth side after the 2014 Indoor Cricket World Cup.
“The fact that the ACT has contributed a full quarter of the Australian men’s squad for the trans-Tasman series speaks volumes about the strength of the Cricket ACT elite indoor cricket program,” said Indoor Cricket Manager Cameron Walter.
“We’ve a much smaller pool of players to draw from, in addition to reduced access to facilities and resources, and yet have been able to develop our program to the point where five members of our squad have received Australian honours.
The trans-Tasman series will take place from the 8th to the 10th of September and will be streamed live via indoor.cricket.com.au.
Despite the strong contingent in the national squads, the Rockets couldn’t complete their title defence in a Grand Final rematch against Queensland that took place in front of a capacity crowd at Springvale Indoor Sports in Victoria, and with over 30,000 viewers watching the live stream.
Batting first, Queensland produced a highly competitive 73, and the ACT looked strong in pursuit of this throughout their innings. Despite beginning the final over a run in front of Queensland, a heartbreaking final over saw the Rockets lose three wickets at the hands of Queensland star Rob Fitzgerald, finishing eight runs short of the Queensland total.
Commenting on the final, Walter said, “Though the result didn’t go the way we would have liked, the match itself was an exhibition of the high level of skill, pressure, and intensity prevalent in indoor cricket.”
“We’re lucky to have a tight-knit group of highly skilled individuals that are part of our program and I’ve no doubt they’ll be strong contenders to return the national title to the ACT in the years to come,” he added.
The final ACT teams to tour for 2016 will be the teams taking part in the Australian Junior Indoor Cricket Championships that will take place in Dubbo, NSW from the 2nd to the 8th of July.