LADY luck has dealt Nestles skipper Geoff Williams an ugly blow, with the opening batsman facing a month on the sidelines as the result of a fractured finger.
Williams sustained the injury in a fielding drill at a Melbourne Country Week training session last week.
While scans deemed surgery unnecessary, Williams was forced to watch Nestles’ heart-wrenching last-ball loss to Wesley-CBC from the sidelines on Saturday.
He described his absence as an opportunity for several emerging leaders to step up.
“Brett (Eldridge) will take the captaincy while I’m not there, but there’s a real chance for your Caleb Bidmades, your Jacob Hetheringtons and your Matt Prices to step up,” WIlliams said.
“They can see what it’s like to be a leader and start to think about things like fielding positions and bowlers and why we do these things.
“I’d really like to see them helping Brett because we’re not at the start of our careers. We want to teach these guys things so they can take the reins eventually.”
Williams said a lacklustre batting effort in the first innings of the match put his young side under pressure.
“We didn’t make enough runs. We did well to bat out the 20 overs, and we believed we could defend a small total on the big, slow ground that is the Reid,” he told The Standard.
“We bowled well to begin with and had lots of dot balls in the first four or five overs. (Joe) Higgins and (Ryan) McArdle built a bit of a partnership and accumulated runs in those middle overs.
“Once we got them out the scoring slowed but they managed to get level and ran a bye on the last ball to get the win. There’s lots of could-have scenarios but we can’t dwell.”
Bidmade was among Nestles’ best, blasting 27, while wicketkeeper Matt Cameron provided resistance from number seven with 18 runs.
Williams wanted his men to immediately switch their thinking to two-day cricket.
“But we’ll still take aspects of Twenty20 cricket into that – we want sharp singles, we want to be solid in the field,” he revealed.
“We have to make sure we’re bowling in the right areas and be hitting the gaps as we normally would.
“We’re still in the hunt for finals in that we’re among that group of teams and we’ve won both of our two-day games so far.”
Nestles travels to Avery’s Paddock to face Port Fairy when the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s two-day form returns on Saturday.
Factory is fifth on the association’s overall ladder, trailing fourth-placed Merrivale on percentage with four games to go.