After a strong finish in their return to first grade last season, Guyra’s top tier cricket team are aiming up in the coming competition.
Their return to the top grade in 2017 was tough with a series of low-scoring performances bat-in-hand.
But, as the season went on, they improved to finish second in the two-day competition, only missing out on a semi-finals berth through off the back of their early one-day performances.
A host of familiar faces have returned including premiership-winning Easts duo Tyson Burey and Matt Jackson as well as Mitch Woods and Charlie White.
“Tyson and I are just excited about heading back to Guyra for the season and playing where we started our cricket,” Jackson said.
“I think most clubs are down a bit on numbers as we always seem to find at the start of the year but I think it will be a big season.
“The likes of Uppy [Sam Uphill], Todd [Francis], Schaef [Matt Schaefer] and [Andrew] Brownlie are going into this season in as fitter form as they’ve been in many years and I think all four of them are going to have massive seasons which is going to make it tough playing against them.”
Last season’s opening bowler Jake Ellis will miss the early rounds after moving to Newcastle but is hopeful of making an appearance for Guyra later in the season while another youngster in Nick Page has shifted to Inverell.
Senior coordinator Adrian Cameron said signs are promising for the club heading into the new season.
“We haven't had great numbers at training but we definitely have enough to fill three grades comfortably,” he said.
“It would be good to make the semis this year, that would be a step forward in firsts.
“Seconds and thirds made semis last year but it would be good to make a couple of steps with them as well.”
Their opening task taking on the premiers is a formidable one.
Cameron is hoping they find their feet earlier than they did last season.
“That is going to be a tough hit out straight up, playing the premiers, but the boys are looking forward to it,” he said.
“It will give us an indication of where we are at. If we go like we did last year it will take a bit of momentum to get going.
“Patience is the key with us.
“Last year we were trying to score runs too quick, the first game I think we got out for 57 or something, but as the season went on a bit of patience set in.
Burey may miss the round one, two-day clash, with his old club but it opens the door for a young gun to step up.
“Kieran Wicks played second grade last year, he played a lot of rep cricket in 16s, he is going to make his debut this weekend,” Cameron said.
“We reckon he is up for the challenge.
“Tyson might be out this weekend but he [Wicks] will definitely fit into that side.
“We have probably got a couple out this week but what we have got there will fill their spots hopefully.”
In terms of lower grades, it will be the club’s youngsters who will step up.
“Second grade is going to be a lot of younger kids that played thirds last year,” Cameron said.
“We have got a couple more 14 and 15-year-olds back in third grade.
“We have got a couple of young kids starting to develop through which is a bit of a bonus for us.”
All three grades play Easts. First grade begins their two-day campaign at Lambert Park this Saturday while seconds play at Guyra and thirds at Newling Oval.
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