BDCA president says Strathdale still the side to beat
STRATHDALE-Maristians have won the past three premierships, and according to Bendigo District Cricket Association president Wayne Walsh are the side to beat again.
The 2013-14 BDCA season begins this Saturday with a one-day round.
The Suns have lost veteran all-rounder Craig Howard (Sandhurst), opening bowler Braden Hocking (Geelong) and middle-order batsman Dom Taylor (Queensland), while consistent No.3 Jono Davidson is recovering from a knee injury.
However, Walsh still believes the Suns have the depth to contend for a fourth-straight flag - a feat not achieved since Walsh captained Golden Square to four premierships in a row between 1995-96 and 1998-99.
"Strathdale has lost a few players, but I'd still stick with them as the side to beat this season," Walsh said on Wednesday.
"They've got good depth, which they have proven over the past few years.
"They won the first and thirds flags last season, their seconds are always fairly competitive, and they've also got some good juniors coming on, which should hold them in good stead for a long time.
"They have set a really good foundation."
Walsh rates regular finalist Bendigo United as the biggest threat to the Suns' quest for a premiership four-peat.
The Redbacks have played in every finals series since 2002-03, during which they've won four premierships.
Among the inclusions to the Redbacks' side this season is former Strathfieldsaye captain Ben Gunn - one of the best batsmen in the BDCA.
The Suns and Redbacks meet in this Saturday's season-opener at Strathdale's Bell Oval in the match of the round.
"You would think both those sides will be right up there at the business end of the season," Walsh said.