Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cricket season preview

New Norfolk cricketers training in the new nets at Tynwald Park
THIS season sees some changes to the Southern Cricket Association. Instead of six grades of competition there will be eight and the first two weekends of cricket will be Twenty20 matches.

Round 1 of the 50-over matches will get under way on October 29 and 30. There will be 14 rounds over all, with the finals played in March. Another change is the introduction of white balls to the first grade competition. The same looks set to follow suit for the remaining grades as of the 2017/18 season. Full coloured uniforms will become compulsory.

On the home front, the Derwent Valley and Central Highlands will field the same teams as last season, but with some of them changing grades.  Here is an insight into each club.

BOTHWELL
After its inaugural season in the SCA in 2015/16, Bothwell goes into this season with plenty to play for. After starting off with just the one team and then building to two, the club went from strength to strength last season. After finishing runner-up in fourth grade last season, Bothwell I will remain in this grade while Bothwell II will move from six to eighth grade. The club has retained all of its players from last season and has picked up a couple new faces, one being Craig Pursell. If the club can reproduce the attacking style of cricket from last season, then there is certainly plenty to look forward to for the Bucks. Training is on Thursdays at 5pm at the Bothwell Recreation Ground.

BUSHY PARK
Bushy Park has moved to fourth grade after finishing in fifth place in third grade last season. The team had a good season in 2015/16 and will expect to do likewise this season. The club has recruited new players Brad Smith, Chris Blackaby, Josh Davie and Chris McKnight and also sees former players Terrence Pritchard and Peter Madden return from retirement. On the outgoing list is young Blake Howlett who has shown much promise in the last couple seasons and has moved on to play with the MacKillop Beltas, while speedster Aaron Triffitt has headed to New Norfolk. It looks to be a promising season for the Park boys and their new-look list for 16/17. Training is on Thursdays at 5pm at the Bushy Park Showgrounds.

GRETNA
Gretna I remains in second grade after finishing fifth last season and will again be pressing for a finals spot. Gretna II finished 10th in third grade and has moved down to fourth grade. The club has gained some new players including young paceman Daniel Browning who has returned after a season with New Town. Dion Hay has also joined the club and will add valuable experience. The addition of a new uniform and some young faces from last season's Under 16 team and a new uniform, the enthusiasm at Gretna is very high for an enjoyable season ahead. On the outgoing players list, veteran Damien Hack has pulled up stumps.  Training is on Wednesdays at 5pm at the Gretna War Memorial Oval.

MOLESWORTH
Molesworth has again entered two teams in the SCA. After finishing ninth in first grade last season, Molesworth I has moved down to second grade, while Molesworth II has moved down to sixth grade after finishing 11th in fourth grade. The club has lost several players to New Norfolk, but on the up side has picked up Chris Sinclair, Aaron Bradley and Mark Jablonski from North Hobart. With the addition of young players from last season's Under 16s team, both Molesworth teams will be looking to have a good season ahead. With plenty of loyal and hard working members on board, the club will do their utmost to get back to that winning way of just a few seasons back. Training is on Thursdays at 5.30pm at Boyer Oval.

NEW NORFOLK
THE Red Caps have recruited heavily during the off-season. They quickly reappointed Todd Rusher as senior coach, with Jason Rigby as senior assistant coach and Seb Wishart as development coach.
Rigby and Wishart both come from the St Virgil's club and will bring plenty to the table. Also from St Vigil's comes Adam McKeown, while Craig Dale has transferred from St Aidan's. The club has also gained the services of Nathan Eiszele, Cody Neads, Jake King and Jake Bearman from Molesworth Cricket Club, while Aaron Triffitt joins from Bushy Park. New Norfolk I remains in first grade and should again give the finals a big shake. New Norfolk II remains in fourth grade after finishing sixth in 2015/16. This side showed good improvement under captain Jamie Hill last season and will expect to go that one step further this time around. Norfolk III moves from sixth grade to seventh. Along with New Norfolk II, this team blooded plenty of juniors last season and will be all the better for it this time around. Senior training is on Thursdays at 6pm at Tynwald Park.

WADE GLEESON

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