Am­bi­tious Roos want a flag

The Free Press (Corowa) - - CLASSIES (03) CLASSIES - BY JARRYD BARCA

Af­ter los­ing three of its first four matches of the sea­son, Corowa’s A Grade cricket side has sent a mes­sage to the rest of the Cricket Al­bury Wodonga League af­ter notch­ing its sixth win in seven weeks against Bethanga on De­cem­ber 22.

The Round 1 catch-up match played at Bethanga Recre­ation Re­serve was a com­plete blowout, with the vis­i­tors com­fort­ably cruis­ing to a 204-run vic­tory.

It puts the Roos in fourth place on the District First Grade lad­der and sets them up for a big fi­nals cam­paign on the back of a grand fi­nal win last sea­son.

Corowa cap­tain-coach Daniel Athani­tis summed up his side’s sea­son so far.

“(We’ve been) in­con­sis­tent at times, re­ally good and re­ally bad,” he told The Free Press.

“We’ve had our pos­i­tive times but we’ve also had some pretty low times too, (like) be­ing bowled out for 60.

“We’ve al­ways bowled well I thought and our bat­ting has strug­gled at times, but that also has a bit to do with un­avail­abil­ity too.”

Corowa has strug­gled with in­juries and un­avail­abil­ity this sea­son which has a part to play in its in­con­sis­tent per­for­mances.

The Roos took lad­der-lead­ers Baran­duda to the last over in their Round 11 clash, mak­ing 144 runs in the first in­nings be­fore the top team passed the Corowa to­tal in 44.1 overs.

But Athani­tis said the Baran­duda game gives the side con­fi­dence that they can match it with the top teams, de­spite miss­ing quite a few premier­ship play­ers.

“We still had a crack, and they’re a re­ally handy side,” he said.

“I’m re­ally con­fi­dent, we just have to give our­selves an op­por­tu­nity to play fi­nals and I reckon we can be re­ally com­pet­i­tive from wher­ever we fin­ish.

“Our aim is to fin­ish in the top six and go from there. We’ve got a good enough side I think, enough depth to com­pete re­ally hard.

“It’s a re­ally good feel­ing around the cricket club at the mo­ment.

“We want to win a premier­ship – that’s our aim and ev­ery­one is com­mit­ted to that.”

Ac­cord­ing to the spin bowler, two of the stand­out play­ers of the sea­son so far have been cru­cial run mak­ers Matthew Gran­tham and Nathan Rhodes.

Gran­tham is av­er­ag­ing 59.2 with the bat, while Rhodes, who made 132 against Bethanga, is av­er­ag­ing 53.4.

Athani­tis also sung the praises of young bowl­ing sen­sa­tion Gabby Sut­cliffe, a 16-yearold lo­cal who was re­cently se­lected in the Cricket NSW Coun­try Un­der 18 squad.

“She’s taken eight wick­ets for us which is awe­some, it’s been re­ally good for the club,” he said.

“It was prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent in Round 1, but she’s just one of the team now. We don’t even think of her as a younger girl, she fits in and re­ally holds her own – don’t worry about that. We’re as hard on her as we are on ev­ery­one else.”

Solid on-field, off the field the cricket club is also hav­ing a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the com­mu­nity, most re­cently in the form of a golf day that the club is now look­ing to run an­nu­ally.

The event at­tracted 90 peo­ple for a game of Am­brose, some­thing Athani­tis didn’t ex­pect but was “wrapped about”.

“It adds to the great feel­ing around the club right now,” he said.

“The whole town is get­ting be­hind us and we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­one’s sup­port.”

Corowa’s next game is its Round 12 clash against third-placed Kiewa at Ball Park on Jan­uary 19, as it looks to con­tinue its tilt to­wards a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive premier­ship.

Corowa cap­tain-coach Daniel Athani­tis is bullish about what his A Grade side is ca­pa­ble of for the re­main­der of the sea­son. Athani­tis is pic­tured in ac­tion against Ded­erang in Round 9. Photo by Si­mon Ginns.

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