Hills' spirits soar

THEY are not hoisting the shield just yet, but White Hills Cricket Club is a serious player in this season's race for the BDCA's first XI premiership.

There's been no waving of a wand or magic potion drunk

A 6-2 record and third place on the ladder at the Christmas-New Year break is in stark contrast to where the Demons were on-field a year ago.

"We're a happy team at White Hills" was sung loudly after Saturday's victory on Bendigo United's turf at Harry Trott Oval.

Captain Daniel Larke, coach Brendan Slattery and the players know there is a long way to go, but when you consider their run last season the Hillies have many reasons to be happy.

Three days before last Christmas and White Hills had just one victory in the first XI competition.

A 22-run win at Strathfieldsaye on December 15-16, 2012 would turn out to be the first XI team's only triumph for the season.

Four players - Larke, Rhys Irwin, Sam Stagg and Brayden Stepien - were in the White Hills line-up which beat the Jets and in Saturday's win against Bendigo United.

It's been a remarkable turnover in players, but just as importantly, a dramatic improvement by those who were already in the team or at the club and earned a place in the firsts.

The signing of Gareth Davies from Wales, and arrival of Jake Foley and Jack Hebron from England helped offset the departure of some key players.

Just as important is the bowling of veteran Glenn Roulston (pictured), the experienced Travis Colley, and emergence of Adrian Holland.

Irwin is one of the most exciting all-round talents in the competition, and Stepien's powerful hitting and skilful 'keeping is great to watch.

Confidence has risen markedly since the Demons began the season with a hat-trick of victories.

One of the best performances was defending a score of 129 at Strathfieldsaye in round three.

An Irwin-inspired attack dismissed the Jets for 121.

After losses at home to Golden Square and Strathdale-Maristians, the Demons struck back brilliantly to win at Eaglehawk, chase down Sandhurst's target of 230-plus at KWD Oval, and then beat Bendigo United.

There's been no waving of a wand or magic potion drunk at KWD Oval, it's sheer hard work that's played a big part in the Demons being where they are.

Just as all great cricket teams have done, White Hills is not relying on one or two stars.

In every contest they have had four, five, and more chip in to play their part.

Excitement is building at White Hills, but they only have to look back to a couple of summers ago when they led the first XI ladder.

A dramatic collapase after the break and the Hillies did not feature in the finals.

This line-up will be determined to make sure it does not happen again.

Club makes incredible turnaround on-field

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