After a long winter of lockdown, Yarraville Cricket Club has had an influx of numbers ahead of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west season.
With a season now confirmed to get under way, Eagles captain-coach Matthew Grose said they had a record number of players register to play.
“I think it would have been really devastating if we hadn’t been able to play the sport that we love, like the footballers through winter,” he said.
“Our sport has been a benefactor, with a prolonged period of lockdown, we’ve been overwhelmed with a record number of players.
“It’s going to be difficult to organise training.”
Grose said the majority of players had returned from the past season, while some former players had returned and would be looking to fill spots in the top two sides.
A number of younger players were keen to push their claims for a senior spot.
“We’ve got a lot of young juniors who have been coming through the teams,” he said. “They want to get some experience at senior level.
“We will have five senior teams. Last season the fifth team was mainly juniors. We’re hoping some of those kids will fill spots in the fourth team and push higher.”
From the first XI ,two players from the past season won’t be returning.
Arjun Sehrawat, who was named in the Victorian under-15 team, has moved on to Premier Cricket club Footscray.
He took 17 wickets in the first XI as a 14-year-old.
Tom Saunders, who came into the side in the back half of the season, has stepped away from cricket for family reasons.
Grose said they had been able to fill those roles with a couple of key inclusions.
“I think the players coming back from last year, after a season off or injury, will help strengthen the side.
“Sam Shearer started last season [played five games] before needing to have shoulder surgery and will be a valuable recruit.
“Mohan D’Souza played with us two seasons ago before missing last season. They’re both super keen to come back.”
Grose said the playing group had put high expectations on itself after a strong 2019-20 season where they finished second in their group.
They were knocked out in the semi-finals by Werribee. Minor premiers Williamstown was awarded the premiership after the grand final was called off due to COVID-19.
Grose said they were hoping to replicate that success not only next season, but in the long term.
“We weren’t far off it… We were outplayed on the second day of the semi-final against Werribee.
“Internally we think we’re good enough and really well suited to one-day cricket.
“If we continue with that white ball form, we will take a lot of beating again.
“We’ve got a lot of depth in our squad which is what one-day cricket is about. We’ve got a really even deep squad.
“We certainly have high expectations of ourselves.”
The Eagles face local rival Altona in the opening round of the season on November 21.