A prolific Warrnambool and District Cricket Association run-machine and highly-credentialed coach is on the move next season to Port Fairy in a bid to help the Pirates surge up the division one table.
West Warrnambool champion Alastair Templeton will call Avery's Paddock home in 2023-24, signing on as the club's captain-coach after a distinguished two-decade career at the Panthers which saw him net over 7,000 runs.
The opening batter replaces Brian Medew-Ewen in the top role after three years.
Templeton, a schoolteacher at Emmanuel College, is coming off a golden season for the Panthers which included selection in The Standard's Team of the Year, scoring 470 runs at 52.22 including a century and four fifties.
He told The Standard the move made perfect sense after moving to town with his young family and added he was keen to get stuck into it.
"It sits really well, moving to Port Fairy and getting to know the local community, it is a good fit for me," he said.
"I've played at West around 20, pretty much since I was 12 but I'm looking forward to a new challenge.
"At the back-end of your career, particularly when you are past 30 things can get a bit repetitive but I'm looking forward to joining a new club and getting to know new people and play with new people."
Templeton said moving from Warrnambool was a major catalyst in the switch.
"Moving was the main factor, really. After work, I'd stay in town, have training and make my way home," he said.
"I think you can contribute more to your local community when you've got a club just around the corner. It's a big driving force for me."
After taking the year off coaching and focusing purely on playing at West, he said he was excited by the challenge of leading the Pirates moving forward, who are coming off an 11th place finish in division one but a Twenty20 premiership.
"When you go to a new group, you hear a new voice, so it gives me a bit of a spark to get back into coaching," he said.
"There's a great group of established senior players here who've played some cricket together now so I don't think this year's results were the greatest indication of the talent, particular when you play limited overs games.
"The batting is a strength so hopefully I can help contribute to that and really get out what we can out of our bowling group.
"I want us to be a hard team to play."
He said he would like to bolster the playing list and target a few key areas if possible.
"There's areas we want to fill in like every team and hopefully we can find players who can fit in, but if not I'm confident there's players here who can really fire some shots," he said.
Port Fairy president Steve Dwyer said the signing of Templeton was a major coup for the club and an exciting moment for all involved.
"We're incredibly excited as a club," he said. "Al has got one of the best cricketing resumes in our competition so it's a terrific day for the club.
"Everything's all fallen into place for us, really. We're lucky to bring him in.
"He'll add to the strength of our top order but we weren't just looking at Al from an on-field perspective, he brings extensive experience off-field.
"We want a coach for the long haul who'll work with the youth as well and he ticks all the boxes."
Dwyer also confirmed the club had already secured champion overseas player Jason Perera for another season in 2023-24.
Sports reporter with The Standard
Sports reporter with The Standard
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