Panthers pin hopes on import's return

WEST Warrnambool believes it has a 50-50 chance of retaining English import Karl Turner for the next Warrnambool and District Cricket Association season.

Panthers coach Dean Hurford said club officials had already talked to Turner about returning to the Davidson Oval club in 12 months.

The gun left-hander has been the dominant batsman in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association and looms as a major weapon at Melbourne Country Week.

He has made 434 runs at an average of 62 in division one and smashed 133 not out off 90 balls in the second innings against Port Fairy on Saturday.

Hurford said Turner was “as good a player as I’ve seen in Warrnambool when he’s on”.

“It’s great to see him play his shots. It was a magnificent innings. He hits balls harder than I’ve seen anyone, to all parts of the ground,” he said.

“His major strength is how he sets himself to go out and bat, just his mental approach to the game.

“I’d say we’re 50-50 on getting him back next year. He’s shown interest in coming back and the club definitely wants him to come back.”

Hurford said the major hurdle to Turner returning was whether he trialled with an English county club during the next nothern winter.

Turner has played for Durham and Nottinghamshire during his career, although the bulk of his matches have been at second XI level.

He has six first XI matches to his name for Nottinghamshire and has ambitions to again play at the top domestic level in his homeland.

“If he has a breakout season playing one rung down from county level, he said he wants to have some hits with a county club (in the off-season),” Hurford said.

“I really hope for him he has an outstanding year when he goes back home.”

Hurford was also confident Turner could have an impact for the WDCA at Melbourne Country Week, from February 17 to 21.

“I’d love to see him go nuts. I reckon the wickets down there will suit him. They’re flat and faster. He does like the ball coming onto the bat,” he said.

“It’s a lot higher level at Country Week and that’ll suit him more than anything. 

“He has played at that level. He’s the type of person that will lift.”

West Warrnambool is unbeaten at the top of the WDCA Merri conference, with seven wins and a draw from its eight matches.

It starts a two-day match against Nirranda at Davidson Oval on Saturday, while its final fixture is against Dennington at Dennington.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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