UNITED ON TOP

Campaspe News - - SPORT - By JA­COB COAD

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

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