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