BDCA season preview

Can anyone deny Eaglehawk back-to-back flags in 2016-17?
Can anyone deny Eaglehawk back-to-back flags in 2016-17?

Related – Round one teams

Club-by club preview of this summer’s Bendigo District Cricket Association season.

BENDIGO

2016-17: Eighth, 4-8-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Shane Koop 406.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Nathan Fitzpatrick 29.

Arrivals: Kyle Humphrys (Warrnambool), Will Collicoat (Maryborough), Mitch Bench (Maryborough), Kieren Burns (Mandurang), Ben Joske (East Malvern), Jack Ellis. 

Departures: Nathan Fitzpatrick (North Geelong), Kyle Chant (Golden Square).

Captain Shane Koop - “We are excited to continue our growth from last season.

“We are driving each other to be better cricketers and community people.

“Many cricketers have reconnected with the club both on and off the field, which has created a positive atmosphere during the pre-season”

“The BDCA looks to be a strong and even competition this season, each game is sure to be a challenge.”

Summary: The Goers showed flashes of good form last season, but in the end didn’t have the depth to challenge the top teams on a consistent basis.

Nathan Fitzpatrick’s departure is a huge blow, but top-order batsman Kyle Humphrys arrives from Warrnambool with big wraps.

Finals seem unlikely, but the Goers will upstage a top team at some stage this summer.

BENDIGO UNITED

2016-17: Runner-up, 9-5-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Ben Gunn 571.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Nick Crawford 34.

Arrivals: Corey Daniels (Swan Hill).

Departures: Heath Behrens (retired), Ben Gunn (Golden Square), Jack Bouwmeester (Carlton)

Captain Leigh McDermott – “We were heavily reliant on Heath (Behrens) and Ben (Gunn) last year and every team knew that.

“This year there’s no reason why four or five of us can’t make 350 runs plus and we spread the load more. That will make us a better team.

“We’ll have a new-look team, but it’s an exciting time for the club. We haven’t missed the finals since 2002-03, and I’m sure we’ll get written off this year, but we think it’s not unrealistic for us to make the finals.”

Summary: Three massive losses for the Redbacks, plus the playing future of all-rounder Clayton Holmes is up in the air because of a potential football contract in Darwin.

Evergreen off-spinner Nick Crawford looks set to make a late start to the season as well.

Hard to see the Redbacks replicating last season’s efforts, but you can never count them out completely.

EAGLEHAWK

2016-17: Premiers, 11-2-1-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Andrew Smith 527.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Richard Tibbett 34.

Arrivals: Jeremy Brown (Spotswood), Shaun Knott (Mornington), Rhys Smith (Sandhurst).

Departures: Josh Collinson (Huntly-North Epsom), Shane Murdoch (Geelong), Zac East (retired).

Captain Cory Jacobs – “We’ve more than covered the losses. We know what we’ll get from Browny and Knotty.

“The last couple of years we’ve slipped under the radar a bit, but everyone will be out to get us this year.

“We’ll go about our business as usual and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Summary: The late departure of Josh Collinson hurts the Hawks’ batting depth, but they still go into the season as flag favourite.

The return of Jeremy Brown is a huge bonus for the Borough. The former Carlton all-rounder is a proven match-winner.

Speedster Shaun Knott won’t be available on a full-time basis until after Christmas, but his return gives the Hawks a formidable seam attack of Knott, Tibbett, Brown, Jacobs, Smith and McGlashan.

Anything less than a top two finish would be seen as a failure for the Hawks.

Scott Trollope

Scott Trollope

GOLDEN SQUARE

2016-17: Sixth, 5-7-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Tim Wood 342.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Scott Trollope 29.

Arrivals: Ben Gunn (BUCC), Saheed Akolade (Spring Gully), Darren Clutton (retirement), Josh Baird (retirement), Tom Kirk (Bendigo), Kyle Chant (Bendigo).

Departures: nil.

Captain Ben Gunn – “The inclusions have given us some depth in batting and bowling.

“We have good variety with the ball and an attacking batting line-up, which is what I like.

“We’ve got our sights set on getting the club back into the top four.”

Summary: Golden Square’s deficiency last year was depth with the bat and ball and its off-season recruiting campaign has solved both of those problems.

Scott Trollope, Clutton and Akolade wil be a force with the new ball, while the return of Gunn, Baird and Chant to bat alongside Tim Wood, Scott Johnson, Zane Keighran, Grant Connelly and Trollope, gives the Dogs as strong a batting line-up on paper as any in the competition.

Definitely a premiership threat.

Elliott Massina

Elliott Massina

HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM

2016-17: Seventh, 4-7-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Daniel Cruickshank 379.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Cameron Moore 27.

Arrivals: Russell De Groot (Tasmania), Josh Collinson (Eaglehawk), Sandun Rathnuthunga (Sri Lanka).

Departures: Daniel Cruickshank (Swan Hill), Chris Smith (Elmore).

Captain Elliott Massina – “We’re really happy with the improvements we’ve made from last year.

“De Groot can really hold the stick…. and Sandun gives us that consistent spinner that we’ve struggled with for the past few years.

“We weren’t far away last year, but we need a bit of luck. Last year we tied with Eaglehawk and lost to Bendigo on the last ball of the day… if we can win those close games we’ll give ourselves a chance of making the finals.”

Summary: The Power’s top-end talent is probably as good as any.

De Groot is well-credentialed with the willow and Collinson’s shock late decision to return to the Power gives the club two quality top four batsmen.

Sri Lankan leg-spinning all-rounder Rathnuthunga is the X factor.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Power play finals.

Jake Klemm

Jake Klemm

KANGAROO FLAT

2016-17: Third, 9-4-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Dylan Gibson 474.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Brent Hamblin 26.

Arrivals: Jamie Dass (Durham), Wayne Stubbings (Barker’s Creek).

Departures: Tyler Hinds (Sandhurst).

Captain Brent Hamblin – “Jamie Dass is in Durham’s under-19 academy and he looks very good in the nets. His bowling is sharp enough as well.

“To win an A-grade premiership you need two or three batsmen making 400 runs plus and we only had Gibbo do that. Batting let us down in the last game and the semi-final.

“If we can consistently make more than 200 then we know we have the bowling squad to defend it.”

Summary: The Roos desperately needed a quality top-order batsman and all the talk out of Dower Park is that UK recruit Jamie Dass is just that.

He’ll reportedly add some depth to the Roos’ pace attack as well which will take some pressure off Adam Burns and Brent Hamblin.

No reason why the Roos won’t be in the mix for finals again.

Taylor Beard

Taylor Beard

SANDHURST

2016-17: Fifth, 6-6-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Craig Howard 428.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Craig Howard 29.

Arrivals: Todd Murphy (Moama), Sam De Silva (Perth), Ash Gray (Golden Gully), N. Palamandadige (Sri Lanka), Tyler Hinds (Sandhurst).

Departures: Zen Malik (UK), Rhys Smith (Eaglehawk).

Coach Taylor Beard – “Our batting depth has improved. Sam Sperling opened for us at times last year, but this year he’ll be batting at 10.

“We’ve probably got seven genuine bowlers as well, including four front line spinners.

“We have plenty of options depending on conditions.”

Summary: The Dragons tailed off last year after looking like certain finalists at the midway point of the season.

To take the next step they needed help at the top of the order and young gun Todd Murphy, Sam De Silva, big hitting Ash Gray and Sri Lankan batsman-keeper Palamandadige should help take the pressure off Craig Howard and Beard.

The Dragons have contended for the past few summers, but in the end they’ve been pretenders.

Maybe this is their year.

Ben DeAraugo

Ben DeAraugo

STRATHDALE-MARISTIANS

2016-17: Fourth, 8-5-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Sam Johnston 364.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Cam Taylor 39.

Arrivals: Nick Baker (retirement), MItch Blackman (Geelong), Darius Modoo-Loy (Mildura).

Departures: Adrian Pappin (retired), Andrew Hosking (retired).

Captain Ben DeAraugo – “We were disappointed with where we finished last year and that came about from a really slow start to the season.

“We’ve made a big emphasis this year on making sure we start well.”

Summary: Such has been the Suns’ dominance of the competition, a fourth placing last year was seen by those inside the club as an abject failure.

Expect the Suns to bounce back strongly and push for a top-two finish.

Ben Devanny

Ben Devanny

STRATHFIELDSAYE

2016-17: Tenth, 2-10-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Greg Lyon 429.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Beauden Rinaldi 26.

Arrivals: Pat Felmingham (Moonee Valley).

Departures: nil.

Captain Ben Devanny – “We’re confident we can improve on last year and win more games.

“The improvement is going to come out of the young players. Rinaldi, Cheesman, Rodda and Gallagher are all teenagers, while Smyth and Stubbs are in their early 20’s.

“Having Pat Felmingham back gives us some aggression in our batting.”

Summary: The Jets are coming off a wooden spoon season, but they have plenty to look forward to with a host of young talent in the 16-19 age group.

A jump up to the top four is unlikely, but they’ll win more games this season than last summer.

Mitch Winter-Irving

Mitch Winter-Irving

WHITE HILLS

2016-17: Ninth, 4-8-1.

Leading runs 2016-17: Mitch Winter-Irving 418.

Leading wickets 2016-17: Mitch Winter-Irving 21.

Arrivals: Tom Dunham (Bridgewater), John McNamara (Williamston)

Departures: Sam Stagg (Melbourne), Jack Rodgers (UK).

Captain Mitch Winter-Irving – “We’re looking to a five to 10 per cent improvement from each individual, so that we can get a wider spread of contributors across the board.

“If we can get that even spread then we can get back to where we were a couple of years ago.”

Summary: You know what you’re going to get from the Demons’ star duo Mitch Winter-Irving and Gavin Bowles.

It’s how the rest of the squad performs that will determine how far White Hills moves up or down the ladder this summer.