By Justin Flynn
New Ocean Grove Cricket Club A Grade captain Paddy McKenna believes all Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association games should be a limited overs format.
McKenna, 36, who joined the Grubbers during the 2019-20 season from Malvern, said even after COVID settles down, the association should make 40-overs per side permanent.
“I think we need to recognise our role in the system of cricket and understand that fundamentally the BPCA is a feeder to higher levels of cricket and that fundamentally we are a social sport,” he said.
“It gets more people playing and a higher engagement.
“If people want to play two-day cricket, go and play in the Geelong comp or go and challenge yourself in district cricket.”
McKenna, who played district cricket with Camberwell Magpies, joins coach Paul Jubber (Melbourne) and development coach Robbie Rutley (Essendon) who have both also played at the second-highest level in the state.
McKenna hopes the club’s young talent can shine this season.
Top order batsman Fletcher Long and leg-spinner Fletcher Keck are two players he thinks can make an impact.
Young seamer Bailey Le Maistre is another who could find himself in A Grade at some stage.
“We’re really going to drive that (youth) this year,” McKenna said.
“As a coaching group we’re going to bring a lot of expertise and we’ll try to foster a good environment to learn.”
McKenna said the A Grade side would remain relatively unchanged this season, but more focus will be given to the emerging players in B Grade and the juniors.
“There’s a bit there to work with,” he said.
“Trying to crank up the (under) 14s and 16s with the excitement of getting an under-17s on the park.”
Despite the focus on youth, McKenna said the aim was to win.
“We’re in it to win it,” he said.
Ocean Grove made finals last season, falling to eventual premiers Anglesea in a close match.