EAST Warrnambool YCW hopes frontline all-rounder Michael Townsend can play a pivotal role in the club’s push for cricket promotion.
Townsend has shifted from West Warrnambool, where he has played since juniors, to Jones Oval to be assistant coach under incumbent leader Daniel Oakley.
The 25-year-old had an interrupted 2011-12 season and did not play finals as the Panthers surged to the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association top-grade flag.
He said he wanted a fresh start at a new club and was keen to take on a coaching role, something West couldn’t offer him.
“I sat down and had a chat with East and they offered me the assistant coach role. I wanted to look in that direction this year,” he told The Standard.
“They helped me out with a bit of work as well, which was handy.
“But it was mainly the assistant coaching role.
“I’ve got a young family and they proved to me they’re a big family-oriented club. They’ve got juniors coming up and they made me feel welcome.
“It made my decision a lot easier.”
East Warrnambool YCW lost the division two flag to Nirranda last season, after collapsing to be all out for 57 in reply to the Knights’ 96.
The club unsuccessfully applied for a spot in division one next season, but has long-term ambitions to be a permanent feature in the competition’s top grade.
Townsend said he wanted to play a central role as East Warrnambool shook up the established order in the WDCA.
“From what I’ve been told, and the list I’ve looked at, I reckon there is a big chance of East being a division one side in a couple of years, even next year,” he said.
He said East needed to promote to ensure its current crop of juniors had something to aspire to.
Townsend is a left-hand, middle-order batsman and left-arm medium pace bowler.
He came to the crease at number seven in his 10 matches for West Warrnambool last season, finishing with 123 runs and an average of 24.6.
He took eight wickets at 32.5 with the ball.
Townsend said he hoped to bat at “four or five” and would likely be a first-change bowler at his new home.
East Warrnambool YCW president Peter Baulch said he was rapt with the signing.
“He’s a very good cricketer,” Baulch said.
“We’re lucky to pick up a player of his calibre.”