Growth, improvement and development will be the buzz words reverberating around the Howley Oval nets this season.
Tatura Cricket Club, fresh from collecting Cricket Shepparton’s Haisman Shield wooden spoon, has added another senior team to its arsenal to accommodate a strong off-season at the recruiting table.
With a new president and secretary stepping up, as well as increased junior numbers, coach Tim Kelly is confident his troops can charge up the ladder in all grades.
‘‘The only way is up,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got a new president this year in Russell Pratt and a new secretary in Sam Wood, and we’ve always had good off-field support and that is going to continue this year, which is going to be great.’’
Tatura will field a C-grade team this season after having only A-grade, B-grade and D-grade sides last campaign.
‘‘It’s very exciting. It just means that we can bridge that gap between B and D-grade, which is great for our junior development,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘Last year we found it was too big of a jump, so it’s going to be great for our 15 and 16-year-olds.
‘‘But it also means we’ve got more players playing and training, which is always good for the feeling around the group.’’
Promising young all-rounder Connor Hayes has followed the path Kelly blazed in moving from Central Park-St Brendan’s to Tatura, while former A-grade captain Tom Casey will return to the field.
Tatura has also boosted its stocks across the lower grades with strong depth players, but Kelly did not take credit for the recruiting drive.
‘‘I think players are the most powerful recruiters in cricket,’’ he said.
‘‘I find that if players are enjoying where they’re playing, then they’ll bring their mates across and our club is full of good people.
‘‘Connor performed very well in Friday’s practice match with 91 and two-for, showing that he’s a really quality inclusion.
‘‘Tom Casey is an ex-captain here and will add a lot of leadership and experience to our young group, so it’s invaluable for us to have him back off a knee reco.’’
Tatura upset eventual premier Old Students in the final Haisman Shield round of last season, despite finishing bottom.
That result, along with the increased competition for spots ahead of this campaign, has Kelly champing at the bit to get started against Numurkah on Saturday.
‘‘It was a great way to finish the year, but in reality we did finish last and the boys were pretty flat about that,’’ he said.
‘‘We have a lot of improvement to do, but it’s exciting. We all want success and we’re all prepared to work hard to get it.
‘‘There’s a lot more pressure on everyone to perform this year with more depth, and hopefully players will be pushing up through good form, not just unavailability or injuries.’’