UNITED ON TOP
REIGNING premier Rochester United will be on the hunt for more premiership glory this season as the Goulburn Murray Cricket season kicks off this weekend.
Six months on from its famous grand final win, which saw United battle back from 8/78 to chase down Kyabram Fire Brigade’s 129, the side enters the new season with a clear goal — a third straight flag.
International recruit Jordan Garrett is somewhat of a mystery package but with a resume boasting an All England under 17 selection, odds are Rochester might have found just the weapon needed to again fend off the competition’s challenges.
Captain Tim Bubb said his side was looking forward to renewing the Kyabram rivalry later in the year.
“We played a high level game last year against Ky, it’s exciting to see what you’re going to get,’’ Bubb said.
“It’s a good way to see where you’re at too.”
Myles Wade from White Hills has also joined the club for the new campaign and Bubb said any player additions were about improving in the club as a whole.
“The main thing you want is for them (recruits) to fit in at the club and help the juniors. Playing well is just a bonus,” he said.
United’s economic and damaging bowling line-up was the catalyst behind the premiership, with a host of high-level bowling talents.
Dylan Cuttriss took the most wickets in the league and led the way for United with 33 wickets at an average of 12.1, but Jake Perry (30 wickets at 12.8), Liam Ringin (17 at 14.5) and Sean Williams (15 at 11.5) also bring plenty to the table.
Bubb will need his players sharp early in the season, taking on Bamawm Lockington United in round one at Bamawm, a side that took United as a scalp early last season.
“We respect them as a club as they’re quite dangerous, with players like Greg Pierce and James McPhee,” Bubb said.
AFTER falling just short of a finals position last season, the Rochester Tigers will be looking to make a jump heading in to this weekend’s Goulburn Murray Cricket kickoff.
The Tigers have recruited well to bolster their stocks, with an injection of talented youth coming into the squad.
And they’ll need a boost to track down the top four sides, having lost all five of their matches against last season’s finalists.
New recruits down at Tigerland include Trav and Kevin Gillin as well as Marcus McKern.
Captain Jake Wright said McKern was a top order batsman, his recruitment clearly an effort to match the firepower of cross-town rival Rochester United as well as Kyabram Fire Brigade.
“Kevin will line up as our wicketkeeper and middle order batsman, and Trav will be somewhere around the middle order too”, Wright said.
The Tigers also have a new Irish import, a real wildcard for the rest of the competition to discover for themselves according to the skipper.
But the season’s start brings an immediate test for the Tigers, battling Cooma in a gauge of how much the side has improved in the off-season.
Cooma flew home last season to finish second and belted the Tigers by 155 runs in round six, a result they’ll be looking to make up for.
“They’ll be pretty handy (Cooma), they’ve recruited as well,” Wright said.
Adam Ward’s 2016/17 season was handy, highlighted by a massive knock of 160 against Echuca as well as 6/15 with the ball against Tongala.
The captain too excelled with both bat and ball, with 262 runs highlighted by an unbeaten century against Echuca, also taking a brilliant 30 wickets at an average of 18.4.
And Wright said things were looking up for the side for the new campaign.
“It’s all been a pretty positive feeling around the club, we’re all looking forward to it and we expect to finish around fourth this season and make the finals,” he said