THE results have been less than ideal and a division one finals appearance might be a few seasons away yet.
But Nirranda believes it has a group of emerging young players who could be the cornerstone of the rural club for seasons to come.
Among that group are three teenagers who have become regulars in the Knights’ Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) division one side.
The rise of Brody Couch, Jono McLaren and Tyler Mungean has delivered hope to fans that success will come to those who are patient.
Brody, 14, became the youngest player in WDCA history to play in division one when he made his debut against Russells Creek last season.
The all-rounder is among the best young players in the south-west and has represented the WDCA and Western Waves.
Jono and Tyler, both 16, also got a taste of top grade action last season and have shown improvement as a consequence.
Nirranda coach Jason Mungean said the elevation of the trio was a result of the club wanting to blood youngsters as well as reward for effort.
“It was a bit of both. We wanted to play a few young ones but that’s the way it’s fallen at the same time, they’ve all worked hard to get their spots,” Mungean said.
“There has been no pressure on them. It’s just to see them improve as the year goes on so they know what they’re up against in the next couple of years.
“They haven’t really shown it in seniors yet but they’ve all improved at junior level. The more cricket you play, the better you will be.”
Brody has come on at first or second-change and has developed a knack of dismissing top batsmen, Dustin Drew and Andrew Cheeseman included.
He bats towards the end of the innings and had a high score of 62 not out in the under 15s. Jono is also a tailender with the bat but is honing his talents as a wicketkeeper and has taken the gloves from incumbent Damon Delaney on occasion.
Tyler is a change bowler and has fired with the bat playing for Brierly-Christ Church in the under 17s, with scores of 61, 60 and 31.
Josh Oates, Jarryd Walsh, Jackson Couch and Zavier Mungean are also getting experience by playing in the Knights’ division three side.
“They’re young at the moment but there is a group coming through, they play a fair bit of under 15s and division three cricket,” Mungean said.
“In five or six years’ time they’ll be in that 18, 19, 20 age group and they’ll be the ones hopefully dominating the WDCA top grade.”
Nirranda travels to Reid Oval for day one of its WDCA Merri conference round eight match against Nestles today.
In other matches, conference leader West Warrnambool takes on Port Fairy and Wesley-CBC welcomes resurgent Dennington to Walter Oval, with the Beavers in danger of dropping two games behind the top two.
The Hopkins conference match of the round is between Brierly-Christ Church and pacesetter Merrivale at Brierly.
The Bulls are fourth and will drop two matches outside of the top two should Woodford lose to Russells Creek at Jetty Flat.
Allansford is hoping to recover after consecutive defeats when it plays East Warrnambool-YCW at Uebergang Oval.