Baker joins the Bulls

Newport-Digman president Tiernan Coll and new coach Paul Baker. (Supplied)

New Newport-Digman coach Paul Baker is looking forward to a new challenge in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.

Baker was announced as coach earlier this month, having been coach at Bacchus Marsh in the Gisborne and District and then Ballarat cricket associations in recent years.

Baker had spent 18 years as coach at the Bulls during different stints and has also been a representative coach for the GDCA and the Central Highlands region.

Baker said he was excited for the new challenge.

“We moved down here in the middle of last year,” he said. “It was a long day travelling up to Ballarat while at Bacchus Marsh.

“There was a bit of that in the decision and it’s a new challenge and it looks like it’s a good club.”

This will be Baker’s first foray into the VTCA. He said he watched a bit of cricket last year when he moved to the area, to get an idea of what it was like.

“I kept an eye on the season when I knew that I would possibly look at making the move,” he said.

“I kept an eye on the results. I’ve come across a lot of players before. Sunbury is in the same division and I played and coached against them for a number of years.

“I know a lot of the players, so I’m a bit familiar with the competition.”

The Bulls just missed finals last season in the McNamara Shield competition. The top four came down to the final round, with the Bulls finishing in sixth spot, two points outside the top four.

Baker said it shows that the group isn’t too far away in what was a close competition.

Work for next season has already begun.

“We’ve been touching base with all the players and I’ve been part of that,” Baker said.

“I think most of the list will stay on board and we will potentially add one or two more into the mix.”

The Bulls have announced the first of their re-signings with Shannon Clarke returning after taking 27 wickets in his first season with the club.

Tara Murray