By Mark Heenan
It was always going to be a tough task for the Cobras to back up after the previous two seasons.
Collendina won the A Grade title in 2016/17 and was a semi-finalist in 2017/18 and this season was without spiritual leader and former playing coach Corey Walter.
Walter got an opportunity to co-coach Marshall Cricket Club in GCA Division 2 firsts and led the club to premiership glory.
Additionally, the Cobras lost another genuine match winner Andy Higgins, a talented all-rounder, who did not play.
The Cobras avoided relegation and finished seventh in A1 and had a focus on youth in 2018/19.
Nathan Walter was elevated to captain and did a remarkable job with bat and ball and was also excellent in the field.
Walter’s feats were amazing and he was rewarded with a place in the BPCA All Star team.
Walter scored 111 against Portarlington in Round 13.
He scored over 500 runs and took 20 wickets. No other player in the A1 competition made 500 runs or more and took 20 wickets or more this season.
Collendina lost six consecutive matches from Round 6 to Round 11 including a rare outright loss to Jan Juc before Christmas.
Mid-season was tough for the Cobras without experienced gun bowling pair Charlie Lamb and Jye Hearps who missed the club’s outright loss to Jan Juc in Round 8.
Hearps was the leading wicket-taker in A1 for Collendina with 21 wickets at 20.38, while Lamb bowled more than 154 overs in nine matches with 20 wickets at 17.15.
The Cobras lacked bowling depth and experience when Lamb and Hearps did not play.
Add the previous all-round bowling depth of Andy Higgins and Corey Walter not playing this season – and the Cobras virtually had a new untried A1 bowling attack.
Youngster Craig Goodger developed his bowling and made several inroads.
It was a big learning curve for Goodger, who showed promising signs and claimed 12 wickets for season.
Opening bowler Dwaine Lancaster and spinner Jacob Gasior were senior A1 regulars for the first time. Gasior bowled more than 100 overs.Ben Ricardo was the next highest run scorer with 360 runs at 27.69.
It was a modest season from Ricardo, who scored three half centuries, by his lofty high standards.
Collendina A1 required more runs from the established Kade Norquay and veteran Richie Peters who averaged 15.36 and 10.75 respectively.
Opening batsman Cameron Kavaliunas missed the second half season with an injury.
Youngsters Max Sutton and Sam Beasley were given more opportunities with the bat in 2018/19 and while they are still developing a key will be to see more improvement from the pair next season.
Jye Hearps was awarded life membership with the Cobras at the club’s end of season presentation night.
Collendina B1 finished on the bottom with three wins and 11 losses.
The Cobras C2 season was highlighted by an excellent performance from bowler Clynt Combridge who took 30 wickets in C2 at 15.23 including 12 wickets in the club’s outright win over Jan Juc in Round 13.
The D Grade Cobras made finals and Chris Pitfield brought up his 300th senior game milestone. John Mills and Peter Mohr had quality seasons with the bat with the pair combining for almost 800 runs.
SEASON FINISH – Seventh
505 runs at 36.07
3 run outs
360 runs at 15.43
1 run out
120 runs at 30
216 runs at 15.36
2 run outs
21 wickets at 20.38
20 wickets at 17.15
20 wickets at 21.45
11 wickets at 24.09
12 wickets at 35.58
“We have got a young side and so we are playing our kids and that’s the way we want to go about it. It is not the way other clubs go about it, but that’s the way we are going to go about it and trying to blood our kids and get plenty of experience into them.”
– Collendina Cricket Club A1 Captain Nathan Walter