Victoria makes a strong start to Australian Country Championships

WENDOUREE cricketers Heath Pyke and Tristan Dixon began their quest for Victoria Country to win the 2013 Australian Country Championships in Bundaberg yesterday.

The Victorians, playing the Northern Territory in a two day clash in round one of the carnival, scored 288 all out in 95 overs today.

Victoria had elected to bat first after winning the toss.

Pyke, captain of the team in his seventh season in the squad, said he was pleased with the team's efforts.

"The carnival is off to a good start - we've batted really well and been competitive all day," Pyke said.

Standout batsmen for Victoria included Rob Hearn who scored 43, Rob Wilson on 77 and Adrian Burgeil 87.

Ballarat representatives Pyke and Dixon scored 13 and one respectively.

Although the team performed well yesterday, Pyke said today would still be a challenge.

"The conditions are batsmen friendly - so (tomorrow) will be a tough day," he said.

"Hopefully we'll just bowls one sort of wicket early and get off to a good start."

The front-runner for the carnival will be revealed over the coming days.

"It's difficult to assertain this early on who is the team to beat - New South Wales is usually competitive, but it's a different team every year. I suppose we'll see after today."

For Dixon, this will be his first year playing the championships.

Next the Victorian team will take on Western Australia in another two day match from Sunday.

The championships will run until January 14, with Victoria to play each of the other seven teams across seven rounds in a mix of two day, one day and twenty20 matches.