By Jim Timberlake
The annual ritual of rifling through cricket bags to check on the state of dirty whites and mouldy socks is on in earnest this week with the local cricket season beginning tomorrow.
Geelong Cricket Club moves into the new season well placed to again make finals, although the loss of coach Andre Borovec cannot be understated.
The club legend has been invaluable off the field for the past few seasons, however a well-deserved promotion to the coaching panel of the Victorian team will leave a big hole at the club.
Liam Buchanan has stepped into the role, and early indications are that he looks to be building on the work Borovec has put in, with the team shaping up nicely, and looking like it could be a real force this summer.
The club kicks off its campaign tomorrow with a one day game at home against perennial finalist Melbourne.
This could be the perfect time for the Cats to take on one of the competition’s heavyweights, and hit the ground running.
Geelong Cricket Association also starts tomorrow, with the only change in division one being the return to the top of Bell Post Hill, at the expense of Murgheboluc.
Reigning premier East Belmont will host Grovedale in a one day game at Winter Reserve, with both clubs boasting quality recruits who will be keen to stamp their mark at their new clubs.
For East Belmont, Tom Elliott comes in following a season off, but prior to that he was a star for Geelong Cricket Club, as well as his home club Geelong City.
The stylish right-hander will shore up the Lions already strong batting order.
Grovedale have dealt with the retirement of superstar all-rounder Glen Talarico in the best possible way, recruiting Jordan Moran from Dubbo.
Moran has represented New South Wales at the Australian Country Championships, and looks to be a match winner.
He, along with his new team mates, will need to be at their best tomorrow though, if they are to reverse last season’s semi final thrashing.
Selections in bold; ST JOSEPHS v Bell Post Hill, EAST BELMONT v Grovedale, Leopold v NORTH GEELONG, South Barwon v GEELONG CITY, Lara v NEWTOWN & CHILWELL
Division two will again be an eight-team competition, with Murgheboluc dropping down from division one, while Thomson have come in at the expense of Newcomb and District.
There has been a host of changes throughout this division, Marshall have recruited heavily, securing Corey Walter from Collendina as coach, while also adding Nathan Frye and James Menzies to the squad.
This will help fill the hole left by young gun Mitch McCoach, who is having a crack in division one with Geelong City.
Manifold Heights has also recruited well, with Murgheboluc veteran Ben Nicholls coming over as coach to replace Chris Bambury.
The Sharks’ young squad will be up against it this season, but Nicholls looks the perfect replacement to help them strive for success.
A round of one day games kicks off the season tomorrow, selections in bold: BELL PARK v St Peters, Manifold Heights v HIGHTON, MARSHALL v Thomson, MURGHEBOLUC v Torquay.
Division three returns to a ten-team competition, with Teesdale and Bannockburn having been added to what had previously been a turf-only division.
The two former Southern Leigh Districts clubs were in the cricketing wilderness last season, but have been granted the right to compete at a level more befitting of their abilities.
The two met in last year’s grand final in their lower division, with Teesdale winning on that occasion, and with a new coach at the helm in Peter Cruden, they will be looking to start of this campaign in the same fashion they left off.
In other news, Guild Saints has appointed East Belmont veteran Michael Krig as their coach, while Anthony Grace has returned to lead Corio after a stint at Bell Park, with the talented youngster taking a couple with him in the hope of returning Corio to finals cricket.
Selections in bold: TEESDALE v Bannockburn, ST ALBANS BREAKWATER v Newcomb and District, GEELONG WEST v Guild Saints, Alexander Thomson v MODEWARRE, Waurn Pond-Deakin v CORIO.