CAPTAIN Nathan Divall is refusing to panic, despite Russells Creek’s winless start to the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) season.
Creek has suffered three defeats from its three Hopkins conference matches, falling to Woodford, Merrivale and East Warrnambool-YCW.
It failed to reach three figures with the bat in the first two matches, all out for 96 against the Eels and 81 against the Tigers.
A third batting collapse was on the cards against the Broncos before Shanaka Perumpuli and Adrian Benson combined for a 78-run stand.
The frustrating start comes after Creek was so impressive in the WDCA Twenty20 tournament, finishing with a 5-1 record.
Divall conceded poor batting performances had let Creek down, potentially a hangover of playing three weeks of Twenty20 cricket.
The absence of pace attack leader Ben Boyd, who is battling a side strain, has also been notable, while a young top order is still finding its feet. Bill Quinlivan and Jordan Fish have opened this season, while Riley Owen, Thomas Dark and Jack Primmer are other emerging prospects with the bat.
“We consciously have given those guys a crack at the top of the order,” Divall said.
“We think they’re the long-term future of the club, along with a couple of guys in division two who are filtering in and out.
“For the long-term benefit of the club, we’ve got to get those guys exposed to cricket at the top of the order.
“There’s no point them batting at eight or nine, I don’t think that’s going to improve their cricket at a rapid rate.”
Divall, who has 18 wickets across all formats this season, was upbeat about the prospects of Creek turning around its fortunes.
He said the tight Hopkins conference meant his side was still a realistic chance of finishing in the top two at the end of the season.
Frontrunners Allansford, Woodford, Merrivale and Brierly-Christ Church each have 2-1 records and the ladder could remain congested by Saturday night.
Creek plays Allansford at Uebergang Oval, Merrivale meets Woodford at Merrivale and Brierly-Christ Church welcomes East Warrnambool-YCW to Brierly.
“The good thing is it’s so even. We beat Allansford this week, we’re only a game out of the top two,” Divall said.
“There are still seven games to go. Win the majority of those, then anything is possible.”
In Merri conference matches, West Warrnambool plays Dennington at Davidson Oval in the match of the round.
In-form Wesley-CBC meets Nirranda at Walter Oval and Port Fairy welcomes Nestles to Avery’s Paddock.