Good early signs for Bluff Point in Geraldton cricket, Sporties & Towns to play

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Towns captain Sam Crouch watches the ball.
Camera IconTowns captain Sam Crouch watches the ball. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

The 2021-22 Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket Season opens this weekend with five A-grade, six B-grade and four women’s teams. VICTOR TANTI previews the season ahead.

BLUFF POINT

Ben Millar is captain and if numbers at training are a guide, that’s enthusiasm hopefully linked to better results.

The Pointers have recruits and returning players, while Dongara’s Joel Leeson and Jamie Smith will play in Youngs Motors T20 games. Key men include Jay O’Brien, a class batter who will aim for more big scores, and Aaron Thomas, a hard-hitter hopefully available more often.

Mitch McAuliffe will lead the attack, while Sheldon English and Kade Zis have opportunities.

CHAPMAN VALLEY- NORTHAMPTON

James Billing is captain and wants results as CVN tend to look better on paper than in person.

In Billing, Nigel Routledge, Hayden Dawson, Jadyn Fitzsimmons, Jack Dawson (depending on work) and Josh Carson (after harvest), CVN has a solid basis.

Jamie McMahon may only play T20, while Andrew Cripps will ideally play most matches. Others will be promoted from B-grade, including Axis Hutchinson and Tom Gray.

Women: Captain Kylie Bremner faces challenges, with Lauren Newman — one of the competition’s best — now in Perth, and Natasha Perry also out. But there are new players to add to a reasonable list that includes Chloe Phillips (nee Bremner), Kate Clarkson and Kim Mawer. There was talk players from the defunct Bluff Point women’s side would join, but as yet nothing has come of that.

SPORTSMANS

Riley Barham is a left-field choice as captain but his steady progress suggests maybe an inspired one. There are losses. All-rounders Ben O’Brien and Glenn Wishart won’t be in town, an injured Aaron McAuliffe could miss the season, while Darcy Ingle’s studies in Perth will restrict appearances.

The Scorpions have scored gifted paceman Ethan Johnson from Towns, along with Jaigah Williams and Trent Simpson.

Flynn Dillon, best known for six sixes in an over, is back. Clint Yeates, Dan Welsh and Graeme Barndon remain while one to watch is Jarrod Jupp.

Women: Sarah Prickett stays in charge of a side that went close to winning last season’s grand final.

They’ll do well to repeat that as they’ve lost match-winning all-rounder Meg Spalding to Wanderers, but Prickett thinks young pace bowler Hayley Criddle can make a mark. Much will depend on how other experienced players perform but with Hayley McGlynn, Jo Walker and exciting wicket-taker Tia Hatch, there’s enough to work with.

TOWNS

Sam Crouch is the only surviving captain, but then Towns won the 2020-21 flag and T20 final.

He will hope Jai Russell retains Hogue Medal form and for input from Brady Collins, Jay Comben, Simon Evans, Vijil Varghese and Tom Forsyth.

Ethan Johnson is gone, Daniel Lennard has a bad knee and Ringo McKenna is yet to commit but Callum Marquis, shunned last summer by the gods, is due to shine.

Women: Pam Micke is captain while Janelle Phillips, hopefully back in the New Year, recovers from shoulder surgery.

Losses include Kristy Geuer and Hovea Winston.

Micke is arguably the comp’s most improved player and will enjoy leading several new but keen players.

Michelle McDonald, back from injury, is another fine player as are Corinne Lynch and Selina Kiddle.

WANDERERS

Kade Gillingham is captain and though young, has experienced players to lean on.

Gillingham is set to make serious runs along with his excellent ‘keeping, and another youngster ready to deliver is Alex Solomon. Add veteran Shayne Bidwell, Jason and Matt Partington, Ian Oglesby and some good juniors and the Yellowcaps should do well.

Women: Linda Rose again leads a basically unchanged line-up sporting new uniforms.

Their attack features Sam Biddiscombe, Olivia Bidwell, Abby Green, Ashlyn Thompson and Kasey Maynard. Top all-rounder Meg Spalding (ex-Sportsmans) will play when not with Midland-Guildford, while one to watch is Layne Gillingham.

If Wandies can make runs, they’ll be premiership contenders.

A-grade (Sat 11am start): Spo v Twn at Wonthella; BP v Wan at Muir. B-grade (Sat 1pm start): Wan v BP at GBSC3; Don v Spo at Dongara; CVN v Twn at Rec. Women’s (Sun 2pm start): Twn v CVN (GBSC3); Spo v Wan (GBSC4).

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails