By Lance Jenkinson
Altona all-rounder James Grubb is proving to be one of the best value-add acquisitions to a Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association team this summer.
The A’s have gone from a premiership challenger to the team to beat, with Grubb being a significant influencer over the team’s trajectory.
With bat and ball, Grubb has been prominent, but it is his consistency in both that has stood out. After a stellar first half of the season, the 24-year-old has continued his strong form after the Christmas break.
“The biggest thing for me was consistency,” Grubb said. “I wanted to back it up for the second half of the season. I think I’ve been able to do that.
“Hopefully I can transfer that into the last two games and the finals when it matters.”
Grubb is a mere 17 runs short of 500 in his first season back at Altona.
Only Williamstown star Brent McMinn (500) has produced more runs this summer.
After three years with Footscray in the Premier Cricket, Grubb has come back a much better batsman than when he left the A’s after the 2015-16 season.
The Hoppers Crossing resident has relished his chance to bat at No. 5 for the A’s this season.
He enjoys the different challenges he faces on a game-to-game basis.
“It’s good knowing during the week where I’m going to be batting,” Grubb said.
“I can prepare for any situation. If I come in at 3-20, I am prepared, if we’re 3-160, I can prepare for that as well.
“It’s good that I’ve got that flexibility to play a different role in a sense and just play to the match situation.”
Grubb has also churned out big spells with the ball for Altona.
Knocking on the door of the top 10 wicket takers in the competition, Grubb has taken 19 wickets at 18.2.
Just like with his batting, Grubb is able to bowl to suit the team’s needs.
“My role sort of changes with the ball from one-day and two-day cricket,” he said.
“I’ve been picking up the new pill the last few games, which has been really good.
“With one-day cricket, I haven’t had to bowl much because we’ve been really good.”
Altona is six points clear on top of the ladder entering the penultimate home-and-away round.
The first day of the A’s clash with Yarraville at JK Grant Reserve was a washout and will revert to a one-day game this Saturday.
Grubb is looking forward to facing Yarraville, a side that is one of the A’s main rivals. “Altona-Yarraville has been a pretty big rivalry ever since I’ve played,” Grubb said.
“I can’t imagine it will be any different next week. “We back ourselves in a bit more with the red ball stuff, but if we want to show we’re a top of the table team, we’ve got to prove it this week against them.”
Having lost two of their three games since the Christmas break – their only two losses of the season – Altona is not hitting the panic button.
“We’re pretty confident in our ability,” Grubb said. “We’ve got five guys sitting around the 300-mark for the season, which is fantastic, so everyone is contributing and I’m sure it will be no different come finals’ time.
“It’s still one of those leagues where anyone can beat anyone on their day.”
The first day of Williamstown’s clash with Bayswater was also washed out and will revert to a one-day game this Saturday