Teams ready to pad up

Collendina captain/coach Corey Walter. 151496

VOICE sports reporter Mark Heenan takes a look at how Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association A Grade teams Ocean Grove and Collendina are shaping up for the upcoming 2016/17 season.

Wins against minor BPCA premier Portarlington, Queenscliff and Barrabool saw Ocean Grove get off to a flyer with three wins after the first three rounds in A Grade. It was a mixed season for the Grubbers after key losses to bottom-placed Wallington and battle of the bridge rivals Barwon Heads. Ocean Grove has added a touch of class to their line-up with the return of gun batting all-rounder Mick Kenneady, who will be an assistant coach under coach Paul Jubber. Kenneady’s last season in 2012/13 at Ocean Grove yielded 530 runs at an average of 53 with two centuries and a 95 in B Grade. Ex-Portarlington and Wallington playing coach Mick Gill returns to his old stomping ground and will bolster the club’s spin bowling options. The Grubbers face off against cross-town rivals Collendina, last season’s A Grade grand finalists, in Round 1. Due to Wallington’s inability to field an A Grade team in 2016/17, Ocean Grove plays Collendina twice in the first four rounds. The Grubbers also play back-to-back games against Drysdale in Rounds 7 and 8. The club has shifted its home base to Shell Road, which means the Grubbers A and B Grades will play at Ray Menzies Oval. The club’s C and D Grades will play matches at Ocean Grove Memorial Reserve. Grubber coach Paul Jubber is expected to be a key middle order batsman, while youngster Jackson Kent are left arm speedster Dan Roddis are expected to vital roles with bat and ball respectively.
Mick Kenneady (Highton)
Mick Gill (Portarlington)
Paul O’Donohue (Returns to club)
Mick Carroll (Riddell)
Huon Bertino (Deakin)
Craig Byron (Westmeadows)
Ben Hughes (South Lismore)
Harry Walker (St Joseph’s)
Rob Procter (Leopold)
Lachlan Hooper (Barwon Heads)
“We are genuinely excited about this season. Our new president Peter Hart and his committee have done a fantastic job in moving us in to the new Shell Road Pavilion. We look forward to playing on the Ray Menzies Oval this year. Pre-Season has been positive. We feel we have managed to improve the depth of the A and B Grade as well as adding some real class to our line up in the return of Mick Kenneady and Mick Gill. The fixture has us pitted against last year’s grand finalists in Collendina twice in the first four rounds. This will certainly provide us with a good understanding of how we are travelling.” – Ocean Grove Cricket Coach Paul Jubber.

Runners-up Collendina were back in premiership contention last season with an A Grade grand final appearance against eventual premiers Anglesea. Expect the Cobras to be in the flag mix and pushing for premiership success in 2016/17. Gun Collendina bat Ben Ricardo has stood down as co-coach and will be a player only in 2016/17. Star player Corey Walter will be the club’s sole senior coach. Walter was brilliant in 2015/16 and won the league’s Most Valuable Player with 464 runs at 46.40 and claimed nine wickets at 16.11 with the ball. Star bowling trio Charlie Lamb, Jye Hearps and Andy Higgins will once again led the front with the ball in 2016/17. Both Daniel Earley and Guy O’Keefe are expected add depth. Much will depend on the availability of players Walter, Lamb, Ricardo, Hearps and Higgins and how many games they play in season 2016/17. The Cobras play their first two games at their home fortress at Collendina. The Cobras open the season against cross-town rivals Ocean Grove and play the Grubbers twice in the first four rounds. Along with Queenscliff, Collendina is the only other BPCA A grade club to have two byes this season.
Daniel Earley (Returns to club)
Guy O’Keefe (Returns to club)
“We are all pretty good mates, we all like having a laugh and having a bit of fun, but at the same time we have got a fair bit of talent (at Collendina) and we are obviously still playing to win. We have won two A Grade premierships in the last 10 years and made the grand final last year. We are still performing pretty well and we are still having fun at the same time and getting everyone back – it is a good club to be at. The (fixture) is different having a couple of byes and playing another team twice (as in Ocean Grove) and not having your A Grade regular teams as in Newcomb and Wallington. Having Ocean Grove twice I suppose will be good viewing for the town as in cross-town rivals playing in round one and round four and (Ocean Grove) and they will be pretty strong this season, so that will be a good challenge. It is what it is the draw, you have just got to beat who you are playing. It is so hard with having a top-four this season, it will be more open because there is no Wallington in there and no Newcomb, you are going to have nine teams vying for a top-four spot, so every game you pretty much got to win. Having two byes do come at a good time especially with the first bye with (Collendina hosting the Bellarine) Relay for Life event so that is that. I think it probably works in our favour having another bye straight after Christmas with guys who are on holidays and younger guys who are camping.” – Collendina Cricket Coach Corey Walter