By JUSTIN FLYNN
Nick Hallam will take over the reins as captain/coach of Drysdale Cricket Club this season.
The 31-year-old replaces Darren Cameron as coach and Shane Cutajar as skipper of the A grade side, and is looking forward to the challenge after the Hawks failed to make the finals last season after winning a long-awaited premiership in 2014-’15.
“Last year was a huge disappointment,” he said. “We had injuries and players constantly unavailable, and we never got any momentum going. The bowlers kept us in it for the majority of the season, but we just couldn’t score enough runs.”
Drysdale has lost young paceman Jack Jenkins, who has gone to St Peters to try his luck on turf, Scott Jervies has retired to concentrate on golf and Brett Harding will play with Bannockburn.
However, Hallam is keen to develop the club’s junior talent, rather than chase ready-made replacements.
“We need to develop some of the juniors coming through,” he said. “We will have a Hawks Futures squad where some under 17s and under 15s will be invited to train with the seniors. My theory is more about long-term development and bridging the gap between seniors and juniors. It’s also about trying to build a preseason and showing guys what our direction is.”
Hallam will look to the likes of Shane Gordon, Lachy Birse and Luke Malcolm to step up into the A grade side. Pat Willis will also be groomed as the side’s No 1 wicket-keeper. “A lot of the seniors players need to stand up,” Hallam said. “There’s a lot of excitement around at the moment and that’s good.”
Hallam said that while development of youth was a priority, the ultimate goal hadn’t changed. “Finals are still the goal,” he said. “You go into every season with the aim of making the top four.”