Altona North’s upswing in form in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 1 has come as no surprise to playing assistant coach Andrew Auciello.
North is getting rewarded for the enthusiasm and preparation of skipper Haydn Wilkinson and buy-in and toil of the playing group.
A three-game winning streak has pushed North back in the premiership mix.
“It’s down to the hard work on Tuesday and Thursday that everyone is doing,” Auciello said.
“You sort of create your own luck and that is happening now.”
Wilkinson is leading the charge for Altona North.
The opening batsman has implored his players to improve with every training session.
The players are doing some heavy lifting for him between matches and the benefits can be seen with their rising stocks in the league.
“The captain, for sure, has been excellent in setting the tone,” Auciello said.
“He’s the driving force, really pushes everyone and everyone is right behind him.
“The form is coming through.”
Altona North gained a lot of confidence out of its big win over Aberfeldie in a one-day game at Clifton Park on Sunday.
A day after toppling Greenvale Kangaroos, North laid down the challenge straight away to a quality Abers outfit, posting an above-par 7-159 off 40 overs in tough batting conditions.
“At the start of the day, looking at the pitch, we thought 130 might be around par,” Auciello said.
“To get nearly 160, especially with it popping around a bit, was really good.”
Altona North’s bowlers stuck to the script, routing Aberfeldie for just 114.
Nick Rainone, North’s leading scorer with 40, completed a man-of-the match performance, 5-31 off 7.1 overs with his spot-on medium pace.
“The pitch was doing a lot for him, so he was putting it there, being patient and letting them make the mistakes,” Auciello said.
Domenic Di Guglielmo and Buddhi Samarawickrama snared two wickets apiece.
While it was Rainone’s day on this occasion, Auciello says the real strength of Altona North is the close-knit team.
“Everyone wants to be there, everyone is good mates and that’s what we’re trying to breed out at Altona North,” he said
Altona North will face fourth-placed Tullamarine in a blockbuster at Crofts Reserve on Saturday.
In senior division, Spotswood maintained the pressure on the top four with a seven-wicket win over Sunshine United at Donald McLean Reserve.
The fifth-placed Woodsmen will meet
St Albans, the team sitting fourth, in a home game starting on Saturday.
Seddon sunk to the bottom after a 94-run hammering from St Albans, while Yarraville Club is also outside the top four after a six-wicket loss to Keilor.
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