Druids turn to premiership player

Steve Nicholson is the next captain-coach of the Druids. (Supplied)

Tara Murray

The Druids have locked in a new captain-coach for the next two Victorian Turf Cricket Association seasons.

After a tough 2023-24 season where they finished bottom and are set for relegation, the Wizards have been busy behind the scenes locking in some key pieces.

Steve Nicholson, a premiership player with the club, returns to the Wizards and will take on the captain-coach role.

The club said on social media that Nicholson brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the table.

“Steve is a six times premiership player, six times Ballarat country week representative, EJ Cleary Medallist (Ballarat league best and fairest) and has been a junior coach with multiple age groups previously at the Mt Clear Cricket Club including senior coach in season 2020-21.

“Steve was a pivotal leader in our last first XI premiership opening the batting and bowling his left arm straight breaks.”

Nicholson said the role came a little bit out of left field but was something he was looking forward to.

“I’ve kept in close contact with Jared Andrews and we both barrack for Essendon and go to the footy,” he said.

“He got wind that I could be interested in coaching and it went from there.”

Nicholson has spent most of his cricket career at Mt Clear.

Last season, he played at Anglesea making the most of having a caravan down there.

Nicholson said as he got to the back end of his playing career he wanted to get back into coaching.

“I’ve got a background in teaching,” he said. “I’ve done some junior coaching and was co-coach at Mt Clear after COVID.

“This will give me a little bit of an idea if it’s something I want to pursue after I finish playing.’

The Wizards will play in division 1 this season.

Nicholson said you never want to be relegated but it was a great opportunity to look to the future.

“We’ve got a good emerging list coming through and we want to develop our junior kids from sustained success moving forward.

“It’s not going to be a quick fix, it’ll be a gradual progression.”

The club has 15 junior teams with a lot of children coming through the system which is encouraging for the future.

Nicholson said they want to create a smooth transition from the juniors to senior program.

Sam Hall, a left fast bowler, Lenny Fitcher and Lachlan Anderson, are three teenagers that he’s looking forward to seeing take a step up.

Then there’s the next batch coming through who are 15 years old and that next step is to get some senior experience.

“It may not be in the first XI, but we want to transition them into senior cricket.”

Nicholson said they still had a few irons in the fire in terms of recruiting to ensure they’ve got a bit of experience to support the young players coming through.