Ex­tra se­nior grade adds depth to Tatura

The Tatura Guardian - - Sport - By Tyler Ma­her

Growth, im­prove­ment and devel­op­ment will be the buzz words re­ver­ber­at­ing around the How­ley Oval nets this sea­son.

Tatura Cricket Club, fresh from col­lect­ing Cricket Shep­par­ton’s Hais­man Shield wooden spoon, has added an­other se­nior team to its arsenal to ac­com­mo­date a strong off-sea­son at the re­cruit­ing ta­ble.

With a new pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary step­ping up, as well as in­creased ju­nior num­bers, coach Tim Kelly is con­fi­dent his troops can charge up the lad­der in all grades. ‘‘The only way is up,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve got a new pres­i­dent this year in Rus­sell Pratt and a new sec­re­tary in Sam Wood, and we’ve al­ways had good off-field sup­port and that is go­ing to con­tinue this year, which is go­ing to be great.’’

Tatura will field a C-grade team this sea­son af­ter hav­ing only A-grade, B-grade and D-grade sides last cam­paign.

‘‘It’s very ex­cit­ing. It just means that we can bridge that gap be­tween B and D-grade, which is great for our ju­nior devel­op­ment,’’ Kelly said.

‘‘Last year we found it was too big of a jump, so it’s go­ing to be great for our 15 and 16-year-olds.

‘‘But it also means we’ve got more play­ers play­ing and train­ing, which is al­ways good for the feel­ing around the group.’’

Promis­ing young all-rounder Con­nor Hayes has fol­lowed the path Kelly blazed in mov­ing from Cen­tral Park-St Brendan’s to Tatura, while for­mer A-grade cap­tain Tom Casey will re­turn to the field.

Tatura has also boosted its stocks across the lower grades with strong depth play­ers, but Kelly did not take credit for the re­cruit­ing drive.

‘‘I think play­ers are the most pow­er­ful re­cruiters in cricket,’’ he said.

‘‘I find that if play­ers are en­joy­ing where they’re play­ing, then they’ll bring their mates across and our club is full of good peo­ple.

‘‘Con­nor per­formed very well in Fri­day’s prac­tice match with 91 and two-for, show­ing that he’s a re­ally qual­ity in­clu­sion.

‘‘TomCasey is an ex-cap­tain here and will add a lot of lead­er­ship and ex­pe­ri­ence to our young group, so it’s in­valu­able for us to have him back off a knee reco.’’

Tatura up­set even­tual premier Old Stu­dents in the fi­nal Hais­man Shield round of last sea­son, de­spite fin­ish­ing bot­tom.

That re­sult, along with the in­creased com­pe­ti­tion for spots ahead of this cam­paign, has Kelly champ­ing at the bit to get started against Nu­murkah on Satur­day.

‘‘It was a great way to fin­ish the year, but in re­al­ity we did fin­ish last and the boys were pretty flat about that,’’ he said.

‘‘We have a lot of im­prove­ment to do, but it’s ex­cit­ing. We all want suc­cess and we’re all pre­pared to work hard to get it.

‘‘There’s a lot more pres­sure on ev­ery­one to per­form this year with more depth, and hope­fully play­ers will be push­ing up through good form, not just un­avail­abil­ity or in­juries.’’

Tatura coach Tim Kelly.

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