CENTENNIALS Bulls start their Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade season with a rematch of their minor semi-final against City Colts.
Bulls will be hoping this Saturday’s meeting at Loco Oval turns out differently from last season’s sudden death meeting, and Centennials believe they’ve got the team on hand to make that happen.
One change for the Bulls is in the captaincy ranks.
Andrew Brown will take over the top job from Josh Toole for 2017-18.
Brown is no stranger to the leadership role having stepped up to the plate when Toole has been absent from matches.
The opening weeks will be exciting times for the Bulls as they see what their collection of new players can bring to the team.
Brown said the Bulls have also retained its core group of players.
“We have around three to four ins but about the same number of outs,” he said.
“Lisa Griffiths is over in Sydney, and I think she’ll have a really good season playing over there. Josh Kitchner has gone to Sydney for uni. We’ve had a couple of guys like Jamie Wicks and Brett Archer who have decided to step down to second grade.
“We’ve brought in two guys from Lithgow – Ryan Gurney and Josh Howarth. Josh Coyte is in this year and Troy Kenny is back after a year off.
“We’ve got Tooley and Billy [Aaron Seymour] but we can’t be relying just on them. Hopefully I can play a bit this year, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Josh Coyte play. Jem Nesh will be a key bowler too.”
Gurney’s big hitting capabilities were evident last season when he smacked 80 against Bathurst City in the Bonnor Cup for Lithgow.
The former Lidsdale Cricket Club member also hit four half centuries in last season’s first grade competition in Lithgow.
Howarth showed his ability with the ball by taking 14 wickets in last season’s Lithgow competition at an average of 13.2.
The new recruits and the returning players face a test against a Colts side playing on their home pitch.
“It’s always a great game when we play against Colts,” Brown said.
“They’re a team that’s always up there towards the end of the season. I’m hoping we can get big Henry [Shoemark] out quickly.
“We don’t want to fall behind early on so hopefully we can get off to a good start.
“Last season we struggled to get the same team together week to week. We didn’t get a lot of consistency and that put us behind the 8-ball.”
Bulls have arguably the toughest start to the BDCA season of any team, with matches against last season’s other finalists Rugby Union and Bathurst City to follow.
It’s always a great game when we play against Colts.Andrew Brown