B&LCA Season preview

The 2017/18 Barossa & Light Cricket Association season begins this Saturday, and Bunyip sports journalist Jack Hudson has taken a look at each team’s prospects.

Angaston
Main rank: 1st | One-day rank: 4th
Angaston’s stronghold over the competition continued without being dominant in 2016/17 after finishing second in the minor rounds.
Blues skipper Greg Bain was, again, dominant, making 501 runs for the season, while Eden Valley export Lucas Bramberger was lethal with the ball, taking 30 wickets.
Despite winning the flag last summer, Bain said he is wanting more consistency from his charges.
“We hope we’re still around the mark, we’ve just got to improve,” he said.
“Last year was a bit of an up and down season, we just need to be a little more consistent.”
INS – Nil.
OUTS – Nil.
Freeling
Main rank: 5th | One-day rank: 3rd
The Water Hens narrowly missed out on finals last summer, and captain Ian McMillan is aiming for a return.
“We still want to be competitive, but it’s a pretty even competition; you’ve got to win the games you’re expected to win,” he said.
“We’ve got the turf wicket installed this year, a lot of the other wickets are turf, so we can get used to playing on a turf deck, not a hard wicket.”
McMillan was also the top run-scorer last season with 409, while Rob Montgomery was dangerous with the ball, taking 32 wickets.
INS – Nil.
OUTS – Nil.

Gawler Central
Main rank: 6th | One-day rank: 5th
Gawler Central maintained its spot in A1 cricket after being promoted from the A1 reserves, and captain Chris Bilney is wanting to push further this summer.
“Our aim is to, probably, try and make finals this year after avoiding relegation,” he said.
“Our strength is definitely our bowling, I think we bowled nearly every team out last year.”
Aaron King and Elliot Stibbs
combined for 554 runs between them last season, while bearded assassin Ben Ward took 31 wickets.
INS – Nil.
OUTS – Nil.

Gilbert Valley
Main rank: 4th | One-day rank: 6th
Gilbert Valley strived to make the finals but bowed out to eventual premier
Angaston, and captain Tom Connell is already preparing for an interrupted 2017/18 season.
“A few boys will be out due to a few weddings,” he said.
“I’d be stoked if we make the finals, but I’ll be fine if we just miss out.
“It just depends when we rock up and when we play decent cricket.”
The club will lose Craig Mullins this year through retirement; he made 335 runs in 11 matches last season.
INS – Nil.
OUTS – Craig Mullins (retired).

Kapunda
Main rank: 2nd | One-day rank: 2nd
Kapunda will aim to improve on its impressive finish in 2016/17, which included two grand final berths, albeit defeats.
The Bombers were led, largely, by inspirational skipper Joey Brown, who made 339 runs and took 37 wickets, and he is still wanting more this year.
“Hopefully, we build on last year, we were a pretty competitive club through the grades; hopefully we can replicate that and go a bit better,” he said.
Furthermore, Rob Johnson took out last season’s Mosey Medal after taking 47 wickets.
INS – Nil.
OUTS – Nil.

Mallala
Main rank: N/A (promoted) | One-day rank: N/A (promoted)
Mallala will dive into A1 cricket after earning promotion from the A1 reserves.
However, club captain Matt Birchmore concedes his side will have to find more runs this year to challenge the competition’s best.
“I think the biggest challenge for us will be our batting with our depth,” he said.
“The teams in the A1s will be a lot stronger with their depth.”
Birchmore was terrific with the bat last season, making 508 runs, while Brad Wilson was also damaging with 433 runs.
Wilson also took 36 wickets.
INS – Damien Miller (Walkerville), Jamie McArdle (Long Plains).
OUTS – Nil.

Sandy Creek
Main rank: 7th | One-day rank: 7th
Sandy Creek will be desperate to improve on its 2016/17 campaign, where it finished just above the relegation zone.
Jamie Diener was a large reason why Sandy stayed up, making 393 runs.
Rhys Handtke was handy with both bat and ball, scoring 332 runs and taking 26 wickets.
INS – N/A
OUTS – N/A

South Gawler
Main rank: 3rd | One-day rank: 1st
South Gawler is a side hungry for improvement after suffering a shock loss in the semi-final last season to Kapunda.
Secretary Brodie Barker is expecting plenty ahead of the new campaign.
“With the appointment of new coach Simon Head for the upcoming season, and his able assistants Ian Chapman and Ernie Hiskins as skills coaches, we are pretty bullish about our potential,” he said.
“As a whole, we were impressed with our improvement last year, but we were bitterly disappointed to be bundled out in the semi-finals.
“The goal is clear for the playing group, we want to go all the way and win the flag.”
David Golder took 41 wickets in a terrific season, while Barker and skipper Jacob Ahern combined for 579 runs.
INS – Chris Graser (Northern Districts), Riley Barker, Tyson Panagiotou (full commitment), Aaron Roling (Tea Tree Gully), Scott Blundell (Mosman, NSW), Dael Redmond (Riverside).
OUTS – Danny Kaye (Light Pass).

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Jack Hudson

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Growing up in Gawler, Jack has taken on a variety of journalistic roles while still studying for his Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing degree. He began his career at The Bunyip as a weekend football writer, before taking on roles with The Footy Budget and The Cricket Chronicle and then earning his first part-time gig at the Barossa Herald. Now returning to The Bunyip, Jack also has a keen interest in footy and soccer, as well as a passion for gaming and reading.

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