Pre­miers un­leash ti­tle de­fence


HEATH­COTE Cricket Club em­barks on a quest for back-to-back pre­mier­ships when the North­ern United Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion sea­son gets un­der­way this month.

Ac­tion be­gins this Satur­day with a round of Twenty20 matches. An­other Twenty20 game will be played on Oc­to­ber 20 be­fore the sea­son of one­day matches be­gins on Oc­to­ber 27.

Heath­cote cap­tain Corey Gil­more is con­fi­dent his side can chal­lenge for the ti­tle again this sea­son.

‘‘I’ve been in con­tact with a lot of the boys for this sea­son and it looks like will be keep­ing a rel­a­tively sim­i­lar squad to last year,’’ Gil­more said.

As well as the bulk of last sea­son’s squad pad­ding up again for 2018/19, Gil­more has spo­ken to a few po­ten­tial re­cruits.

Mark Brayshaw, a medium-quick bowler who played in Dingee’s premier­ship side in 2016/17, is set to come on board.

‘‘He’s one of the lo­cal footy boys who’s a solid chance to play a few games with us,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘Darcy McLean also looks set to re­turn this sea­son from a thumb in­jury.

‘‘There’s also an cou­ple of fill-ins who might play for us as the year goes on.’’

Heath­cote might be the reign­ing premier, but Gil­more is of the mind­set that what hap­pened last sea­son counts for lit­tle when the new sea­son rolls around.

‘‘We start again, ev­ery­one is on zero (wins) zero (losses),’’ he said.

‘‘If you can have a solid start to the sea­son it gives you a good launch pad in the sec­ond half of the year when you are try­ing to lock down a top four spot.’’

Heath­cote fin­ished fourth on the lad­der last sea­son then up­set top side El­more in the semi-fi­nal be­fore go­ing on to de­feat Bagshot in the grand fi­nal.

‘‘It’s a pretty even com­pe­ti­tion,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘It’s about hit­ting your straps at the right time of the sea­son.’’

He tipped Dingee (which fin­ished sec­ond on the lad­der in 2017/18) and El­more to be the teams to beat again.

‘‘El­more was the best team for the best part of last year so they’ll be hard to beat again.’’

Gun bats­man Luke Bell could be a key to Heath­cote’s chances this sea­son.

‘‘He had a re­ally good year last year and pro­vided a lot of lead­er­ship with the bat and ball,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘I’ve got a lot of con­fi­dence that our boys can have a re­ally good shot at it . . . but we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us.’’

Heath­cote are away to Dingee this week in the first round of Twenty20, but don’t read too much into the re­sult.

‘‘There’s a lot go­ing on at the mo­ment with wed­dings and buck’s shows so we’ll do our best to get a team to­gether this week,’’ Gil­more said.

Heath­cote then trav­els to El­more the fol­low­ing week for the sec­ond round of Twenty20 be­fore host­ing Ray­wood at Bar­rack Re­serve on Oc­to­ber 27 in the first round of the A grade one-day sea­son.

Heath­cote bowler Kyle Sei­del un­leashes against Bagshot in last sea­son’s North­ern United Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion A grade grand fi­nal be­tween Bagshot and Heath­cote. Sei­del took 3/30, held a catch and made 13 in a low scor­ing match which saw Heath­cote emerge as pre­miers. The new cricket sea­son starts this week­end with a Twenty20 game at Dingee and con­fi­dence is high that Heath­cote can make it back-to­back flags. Full re­port page 15. Photo: Luke He­mer.

Heath­cote Cricket Club cel­e­brates win­ning the North­ern United Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion premier­ship in 2017/18. The bulk of the squad will be back to de­fend the ti­tle this sea­son. Pic­tured are— back row (l-r) Luke Bell, Bray­den Klemke, Shane Cox, Kyle Sei­del, Chris Slat­tery; cen­tre row (l-r) Ron Shep­pard, Alex Wil­liamson, Nick Malav­isi; front row (crouched down l-r) Bren­ton Con­forti, Joel Con­don, Pat Ring, Corey Gil­more, Ben Connelly and Ben Har­ris.

Photo: Luke He­mer

Pa­trick Ring will be a key player again for Heath­cote in 2018/19.

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