Thursday, September 22, 2005

Charge of the Cav Brigade

After six months of dissection, decision and discussion, the new South Coast cricket season begins this Saturday, with First and Second Grades kicking off their 2005-06 campaigns. The eager anticipation, following the recruitment of Matt Meurant as Coach and 1st Grade skipper, can now be funnelled into on-field enthusiasm and performance.

Apart from the confidence that is currently flowing through the Club at all levels, it is important to view the coming season as the beginning of a rebuilding and reinventing phase, and not the end. Both 1st and 2nd Grades are likely to be bursting at the seams with youth, and as always, that youth will take some time to adjust to what it is facing, and what is expected from it.

1st Grade will spend the first two rounds without key all rounders Josh Jones and Tim Richardson. This will place more pressure on their replacements, and on the established players in the squad. 1st Grade also has the added bonus of playing the first match in coloured clothing and with a white ball for the first time, with little practice behind them. It will be a test of their character as to how they are able to cope with these innovations on such short notice.

Over the course of the two trial matches held over the past weeks, the fielding and bowling from the 1st Grade players has looked sharp and enthusiastic. The fielding will be important, as every run saved is one less left to chase.
The bowlers will need to step up and deliver their best to cover those players who are unavailable in the initial rounds. Early breakthroughs will be important, and Dale Scifleet and Sam Wolf will need to achieve these in the first round clash to help their bowling partners once their opening burst is complete.
The batsmen have had one good day and one ordinary day. Last season, the batting was the side’s weak link. That needs to be rectified this season. It wasn’t through a lack of talent. Many of the same faces will be doing the job again this season. This season, however, they need to start converting. It is highly unlikely players will be persevered with this season if they are unable to perform.

Several changes must occur within the culture of the Club for greater success to be achieved. The attitude, and performance, of some of the players would be at the top of that list.
There has never been any doubt about the standard of players within the Kiama Cricket Club – their ability is not in question. The problem has stemmed from the fact that, in general, these talented youngsters suffer from one, or a combination, of the following afflictions – a fear of the opposition, a confidence–sapping negativity towards cricket, a lack of heart and determination, an inability or unwillingness to train, and a deplorable lack of team and Club spirit.
These problems must be identified and agreed upon. Then they must be cured. Not an easy thing to do on any count.

The individual must take responsibility for their own behaviour and performance. It is all well and good to blame poor umpiring, a dodgy deck, or a team mate’s dropped catch or bad call. In the long run, it is the individual’s responsibility to come back from that – rise above it, and continue to put in the effort that is required. If an individual gets dropped a Grade, spitting the dummy impresses no one, and does themselves, their team mates, and the Club, no good whatsoever.

The good news is this appears to be happening already. For our sake’s, let’s hope this continues.

We can either be a Club that strives to be the best it can be, while retaining the humour and enjoyment of the game that we have always had, or we can become a social club, that eventually would fold because all of the people in our Club who care about Cricket would play elsewhere, or not at all.
The answer appears obvious.

The season looks to be one of the most important in the Club’s history. Despite the loss of some players, the playing roster for 2005-06 appears stronger than was originally feared. The kids in the squad (i.e. – those 18-22 years) have shown the willingness and desire to step up and become better cricketers, and attempt to win a 1st Grade Premiership. The first steps have been taken.

It’s time to rally the troops, and roll out the cannons – time for all Cavaliers to stand up and be counted, be they players, partners, ex-players or supporters.
It’s time to get some fire in the belly, some steel in the heart, and make ourselves a force to be reckoned with again.
Nothing can hold back this Club, except itself.
Let’s sweep past the doubts, and beyond that lies the secret to winning those elusive Premierships…

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