St Andrews Footscray has been forced to recalibrate its thinking in the VTCA’s north-west A1 competition.
For much of coach Phil Crea’s three summers at Pennell Reserve, finals cricket has been the pass mark for the Saints, but with key personnel changes in recent off-seasons has come a change of mindset.
Now, the goal is merely survival.
“As long as we don’t get relegated, we will have had a successful season and we can build on that,” Crea said.
“In the past two years we’ve lost four strike bowlers and it’s hurt us. At least we’re blooding some young blokes now, so we’re going in the right direction.”
St Andrews entered the weekend rock bottom of the division, but a win over Williamstown CYMS saw it jump out of the relegation zone, and not before time.
The optimists will say the Saints are still in with a mathematical chance of reaching the finals.
While Crea will never say never on that front, he is realistic that it remains as only a slim chance. “It’s a close competition,” the coach said.
“We beat the top side just before Christmas, so anyone on their given day can beat anyone.
“At this stage, avoiding relegation is our main concern along with giving our young blokes a good culture to play in the higher grade and to see where they have to go to get to that level.
“We’ve got a few things planned for the next couple of years and one of those is putting more time into the kids.
“We want to build a culture where the club can have a successful run for three to five years.”
St Andrews recently celebrated the 300-game milestone of club stalwart Mick Gregory.
The man known as ‘MG’ is highly regarded for his dedication to both training and work behind the scenes.
“Since I’ve been at St Andrews, he’s hardly missed a training run,” Crea said.
“If he’s not playing a game of cricket, he’s always there supporting the senior side.
“To play 300 games at one club, that’s an unbelievable thing. St Andrews is not just a club for him, it’s his family as well.”