BRIERLY-Christ Church captain Nathan Murphy hopes pre-season recruiting and improvement from young players can help the club charge this cricket season.
The Bulls have been one of the most productive Warrnambool and District cricket clubs during the off-season, luring handy talents to the club.
Hard-hitting all-rounder Phil Edwards has crossed from Russells Creek and the experienced Brandt Walther from Grassmere and Tom Fallon from Bookaar add depth.
Bryce Halliday will also don the whites for the whole season after playing a bit part last summer, while other recruits are in the pipeline.
Murphy said the new faces could help lift Brierly-Christ Church off the bottom of the ladder. He said cricket fans could also expect more confident performances from the Bulls’ youth.
“Our main improvement will be from the young blokes who were already there — Tim Ryan, Ben Ryan, Mark Murphy, Lachlan Rooke,” he said.
“They’re in that bracket with 20 to 50 games under their belt.
“We had a practice game against West Gambier a couple of weeks ago. We played a lot of young guys and we managed to get over the line in the last over. They’ve taken a lot of confidence from that and they’re working hard at training,” he said.
“There’s a really good vibe at the club.” Murphy, who has captained for five of the past six years, said the playing group had dubbed itself the “Baby Bulls” and was content rebuilding with emerging cricketers.
The side endured a rough 2011-12 campaign, highlighted by only one regular batsman — Murphy — averaging above 20.
Only two bowlers — Col Pascoe and Jason Greer — averaged below 20 with the ball as the side celebrated just one win.
“We were very young and we lost four out of our top six batsmen from the previous year,” Murphy said.
“But they worked hard and that’s the good thing we have the group we’ve got. They work hard. They’re nice and easy to coach.”
Murphy said he supported division one being a 12-team competition, up from 10 last summer.
But he said the whole season — rather than just four rounds — should have 50-over one-day matches, while the Twenty20 competition should go ahead in October.
“You get your better footballers who are good cricketers. They don’t have to commit to two weeks,” he said. “And you get a better indication of your better players who could go down to Country Week. That’s my opinion — each to their own.”