OF the five teams contesting the new Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade season none have gone through such a player turnover like Bathurst City.
As the Redbacks prepare to face City Colts in this Saturday’s first round at Loco Oval they will do so down some of their long serving senior members.
Matt Willis, John Rudge, Greg Adams, Trent Hemsworth and Daniel Carter are all stepping away from first grade this year.
It means there’s added pressure on the younger members of the team but Willis is confident there’s plenty of talent on hand to maintain the club’s exemplary finals record.
“We’re keen. We’ve been prepping for this season from May. There’s a few changes with Chris Warry stepping down and me taking over as president, and with myself stepping down from first grade,” he said.
“Joey Coughlan’s taking on the captaincy and we’re bringing in some fresh ideas to try and keep us up the top.”
The club will also welcome new recruits.
Campbell Baker, a former first grade player in Tamworth, will fill the wicketkeeping duties for Redbacks while overseas addition Aditya Adey enters as an unknown quantity.
Mark Day, Oliver Simpson and Cohen Schubert are all among the returning younger members looking to step up for the club.
“The boys will be put under the pump early to try and win as many games as they can,” Willis said.
“Everyone’s written us off already and no-one’s talking about us doing anything. I think it’s great for our young fellas to go in there and just have a crack.”
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Bathurst City defeated City Colts in all three matches they played last season, including the minor semi-final.
Redbacks would love to keep Colts under their thumb for another season.
“Colts and us always play fifty-fifty games. There’s some really good cricketers in that team. With the addition of a couple of blokes from ORC it will make them stronger,” Willis said.
“I like our chances and I’ll be backing our guys all the way.
“More than half the team are 18 or 19. If they don’t like losing then they’re going to do something about it – train harder and continue to get better.”