TEENAGER Corey Gallichan is discovering the positves and pitfalls of having class players around him as he makes his way in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s top grade.
The 18-year-old attributes his inclusion in Nestles’ division one side for the majority of the season to the tuition teammate and Melbourne Country Week captain Brett Eldridge has given him during long net sessions.
He’s also had club legend Trevor McKenzie working with him on his leg-spinners.
Both individuals have had a significant impact on his form.
But batting at number seven or eight in a side with experience and youth has either seen him struggle to get lots of time at the crease with the likes of Eldridge and co-captains Cam Williams and Scott Kelly making runs or, if they fail, he’s been walking to the crease with the Factory in a crisis.
Against ladder-leader Dennington, his side was 5-124 chasing 217.
In the WDCA twenty20 cup grand final, Nestles was 6-25 when he arrived to face the music and against reigning premier West Warrnambool last month it was 6-70.
Each time he made significant knocks of 24, 24 and 28.
While he is pleased with getting among the runs and contributing when his team needs him, Gallichan said he had much more work to do.
Today he gets his chance when the Factory takes on Russells Creek in a game that will determine Nestles’ finals hopes.
“I’ve been getting a few starts,” Gallichan said.
“I’ve made a couple of 20s but just can’t go on with it.
“When I’ve been coming in at five or six down, we’ve been trying to save an innings.
“Hopefully I can go on with it rather than just getting starts. I want to turn 25s into 50s and gradually get going. Hopefully these last two games I can.”
Gallichan, who played a couple of division one matches last season, figured his chances of forcing his way into the team this season rested on him being a leg-spinner who batted down the order.
But he thought he could bat, despite having played all his cricket with the club since he was nine batting in the lower order.
“I’ve worked on a few things with Brett Eldridge and Scott Kelly,” he said.
“I’ve been working pretty hard on the batting side of things. Brett has helped a lot with my batting.”
Nestles, which sits eighth on the ladder, could take a significant chunk out of the 20-point gap to fifth-placed Russells Creek with a win in the two-day game which starts today at Reid Oval.
While the Factory needs other results to go their way, it is possible they could sneak into the four with a big win against Creek and another against ninth-placed Port Fairy in the final match of the regular season.
“Poss (Kelly) said ‘don’t throw in the towel, if we win this game we are still a chance’,” Gallichan said.
“It is a long shot, but we have to keep our heads up. If things go our way, we are still a mathematical chance.”
He said last week’s dramatic outright win over Wesley-CBC had given him and his teammates a boost.
“We should take a bit of confidence going into this week. It does put a spring in your step,” he said.
In other matches, 11th-placed Nirranda is chasing its first win since October 27 when it plays a home game against Port Fairy at the Pirates’ home ground at Avery’s Paddock.
Fourth-placed Merrivale will be looking to stitch up a top-four spot against an equally-desperate sixth-placed Wesley-CBC, which has to win to have any chance of making the finals after last week’s outright loss. Ladder-leader Dennington faces 10th-placed Allansford at Allansford, Brierly-Christ Church needs an upset win over third-placed Woodford and second-placed West Warrnambool will be looking to ice a top-two spot when it takes on bottom side East Warrnambool-YCW at Davidson Oval.