Cobras chance to make a mark early in EVCA season against Tigers

GOLDEN Gully gets the opportunity to make its mark on the Emu Valley Cricket Association when it hosts reigning premier United.

In what’s been a delayed start to the season because of wet weather playing havoc with ground preparation, Saturday is the first day of action in the EVCA for 2016-17.

After winning just three games last season and finishing seventh, the Cobras, to again be captained by Clint Prime, should be significantly improved this summer.

Golden Gully batsman Nathan Hamblin.

Golden Gully batsman Nathan Hamblin.

They have added two quality all-rounders from Axe Creek in Travis Nolan and Grant Le Poidevin, and batsman Ash Gray, who if he gets going this season has the potential to be one of the competition’s most damaging batsmen.

Veteran Darren Hinck is coaching the club and adds more batting depth, along with another recruit in Greg Thomas, while bowler Josh Hutchinson joins as assistant coach.

The Tigers will again be led by last season’s premiership skipper Josh White.

Saturday’s team includes White, James Smith, Seb Greene, Xavier Walsh, Patrick Hartney, George Hartney and veteran Kieran Nihill, who were all part of the side that belted Spring Gully in last season’s grand final.

• After both missed the finals last season, Sedgwick and Emu Creek will be determined to get their 2016-17 campaign away to a positive start.

The Rams are again being skippered by Rick Ladson, while veteran Scott McKenzie is again padding up as he desperately chases that elusive Sedgwick premiership.

The Emus will need an improved performance with the bat this season. They made just one score above 200 last season, and individually, didn’t have any player make more than 170 runs for the summer.

• After ending its finals drought last season, Maiden Gully under the captaincy of Leon Beatty will be aiming to continue its improvement, starting with a home game at Villawood Oval against Marong.

• West Bendigo is at home to Mandurang at Ken Wust Oval.

The Redbacks, being captained by Scott Ryan, are coming off a winless 2015-16 season and there’s unlikely to be any first-up respite in this clash against the Rangas.

• Meanwhile, the EVCA’s division three has now expanded to a 16-team competition.

BDCA club Sandhurst has entered a division three team, Marong is fielding a new team, and Mandurang has added a third team.

• A reminder to clubs that team submission for the Bendigo Advertiser is via MyCricket. Deadline is 8.15pm on a Thursday night.