Recruits to make debut against reigning premier
Finley will introduce two new faces in their Murray Valley Cricket Association Premier Division season opener against reigning premiers Nathalia on Saturday.
Playing at home, the Cats will be boosted by England arrivals Daniel McHugh from Kent and Saad Qureshi from Newcastle.
McHugh is an all-rounder, who will bat in the middle of the order and bowl medium pace.
Playing for Nonington in the Kent Cricket League Division II this year, McHugh made 305 runs and took 14 wickets from his 21 games.
Qureshi will be given the task of opening the batting for the Cats.
He played for Burslem Cricket Club in the North Staffs and South Cheshire League, scoring 169 runs from nine innings with a high score of 53.
Finley played without any imported players last year, and president Chris Shaw is hopeful of a better season.
‘‘We were still competitive in a few games last year so to add more batting strength should help us a lot,’’ he said,
‘‘We also have plenty of young talent like Matt Wilson and Duncan Clarke who have looked good at training.
‘‘Another young bloke who is handy is Darcy Webb. He had a good back half of last season and is right in the mix to play in the Premier side again this year.’’
Nathalia have won the past three premier- ships while Finley failed to win a game last season.
Shaw said he’s confident the Cats can play at a high competitive level against Nathalia. ‘‘Nathalia are a good solid side,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know what players they have this season but if Ash Quinn is playing then it will be tough as he’s a very good cricketer.
‘‘But numbers at training have been good here and everyone is keen to give it a red hot crack on Saturday.’’
Shaw said they are happy with top order batsman and leg spinner Russell Stockdale’s decision to continue to play with the club.
The Cats will be hindered by the departure of Jonothan Oliver, who has left for university commitments in Melbourne.
Despite the lack of wins last season Shaw says the team will need to approach the season with ‘‘baby steps’’.
‘‘Getting over the first hurdle of getting that first win will be pretty important but once we can do that and gain the confidence we should have a good season,’’ he said.
‘‘The boys have been well rested over winter and they’re raring to go.
‘‘The lower grade sides all look good at training; there’s a mixture of older and younger players.’’
A decision was being made on the coaching position after the SRN went to print yesterday.