There are no two ways about it, West Broken Hill Cricket Club is a powerhouse in the Barrier District Cricket League [BDCL].
There is no stronger evidence than the fact that they swept all three senior trophies last season, picking up the Men’s A and B-Grade premierships, and winning the Women’s title as well.
Club vice-president and one of the coaches of West women’s side, Paul Attard, along with co-coach of the West men’s senior sides, Brent Elston, spoke to us about how the club is tracking ahead of the 2022/23 season and their 100-year celebrations.
Paul Attard is part of a family synonymous with West Broken Hill Cricket Club. His wife is the secretary/treasurer, his son, Mackenzie, is captain of the A-Grade side and daughter Mila plays for the women’s team.
Brent Alston is a lifer at West Cricket Club. He played for almost 20 years during the 1980s and ‘90s and into the 2000s. He then coached for a few years before stepping away from the game, returning to the club after a 15-year break just last season.
Brent pays tribute to his co-coach Darren Campbell. “He’s co-coach, and that allows us to cover both grades, we share the load.”
How are things looking for the reigning champs heading into the new season?
“Numbers are low,” Brent says, adding it was common for this time of year and that West weren’t the only side struggling at the start of a new season.
The nature of the Broken Hill workforce – folks coming to work and then leaving – means it’s a challenge for all sports teams locally, year on year.
Brent allays any fears West fans might have.
“We had good numbers last year. We were always able to cover both grades. I think the situation will be very similar this year compared to last year.”
Wicketkeeper Mackenzie Attard will lead the A-Grade side, with pace bowler Lawrence Hebbard his vice-captain.
At the B-Grade level, West have put their faith in a couple of young all-rounders – 24-year-old Jordan Mann will captain the side, with Jack Bourke, 22, his deputy.
Brent has no qualms with giving these younger players integral spots in the leadership group and is confident both appointments will be a success.
With last year’s captain out for the season with a knee injury, Jordan was the obvious choice.
“I think Jordan will do well. He’s a good people person and I think he has a good cricket brain too.”
Sadly, the clash against North this weekend – the pick of the A-Grade fixtures – has been cancelled due to the heavy rain we’ve been experiencing.
Of course it will be played later and, “it’s gonna be a close one,” says Paul.
“Both teams match up really well against each other. We seem to bowl pretty well against them, and they have a dangerous bowling attack too.”
“We both have strong line ups. It’s a mental battle against North. If we are switched on and win the mental battle, we will win,” co-coach Brent added.