With AFL, rugby, and soccer seasons behind us it is time to switch focus to summer sports. In Australia, the king of summer sports is, of course, cricket.
The Barrier District Cricket League officially kicks off on October 15, and we thought it was high time to preview the season as the opening day gets ever closer.
Let’s start with last year’s Premiers – West Broken Hill Cricket Club. West will be looking to go back-to-back in the A Grade this year and will rely heavily on batsman Max Everuss for runs this season. Max was pivotal for West on Grand Final day last year, scoring an unbeaten 48 as the wickets fell all around him.
Matt Handberg was another player who not only had a stellar season, but a stellar Grand Final. On top of putting up a handy 15 in the league decider, he picked up three wickets and took a catch. All-rounders like Matt are difficult to come by, so West will be hoping to get the best out of him yet again this season.
Frontline quick bowler Lawrence Hebbard will be leaned on to lead the bowling attack yet again. The fast bowler takes wickets for fun, and if he can add to his 120 career wickets in any kind of substantial way, we could be seeing West battling it out for yet another premiership.
It is safe to say that South did not have a great season last year. When we spoke to Be Franklyn he said, “If you can play cricket, then come down.” An ominous sign for fans of the Roo Machine. He laughed of that statement later and told us “The B Grade and Women’s sides are looking very strong.”
Last year’s leading run scorer, Matthew Gray, who also took 28 wickets, will be instrumental for South if they intend on picking up some wins this season.
Over at North Broken Hill Cricket Club, they were prevented from winning their fifth straight title last season which is something A Grade captain Tobias Hack is still smarting over.
“It was disappointing not to make the Grand Final after winning the previous four,” Tobias said before adding he feels it is the loss the team needed to have to get them back on track for this campaign.
The team will be hoping for a big season from all rounder and star player Sheldon Hall. After coming over from South a couple of seasons ago, Hall will have a huge say on whether North can return to the summit of the Barrier District Cricket League.
Another all-rounder from North to keep an eye on is Ed Morgan. There is no doubting his dedication, he travels into Broken Hill to train and play at North. An opening batsman and a handy bowler, some good performances from Morgan will go a long way.
Central Cricket Club have consistently been one of the benchmarks in cricket in Broken Hill. They played in the last 14 straight Grand Finals. When we spoke to club president Scott Mateer, he was keen to see them return to the champions podium after losing the last five Grand Finals.
“The club is in a similar spot to last year. We haven’t lost too many players and have gained a couple more. We are looking to build on the successes of last season.”
Sixteen-year-old Connor Turley is one to watch at Central Cricket Club. The youngster has played B Grade regularly for the past couple of seasons. The left arm pace bowler looks perfectly poised to step up and have an impact at A Grade level this season.
New co-captain Aaron Jory will be crucial to any success that Central might have. The opening batsmen is hungry for success, and we expect him to score a lot of runs this season.
Central will take on South on October 14 under lights at Alma Oval in a T20 fixture, before West take on North the following day from 11.30am at the same venue.