Plenty Valley is hoping to surprise a few teams in women’s Victorian Premier Cricket this season.
With a playing group likely to have an average age of about 20, new Bats coach Adam Drinkwell knows it could be a challenging season for the young side.
“We’ll enter most games as underdogs,” he said.
“A lot of our top-end players have left and gone elsewhere to further their aspirations.
“We’re pretty excited with what lies ahead. The girls have put high expectations on themselves.”
Drinkwell joins the Bats after moving from Tasmania to Victoria in the off-season.
Having been involved at Cricket Tasmania and coaching state girls teams at under-15 level, Drinkwell wanted to stay in coaching in his new state.
A case of good timing time has found him joining the Bats as women’s coach and a player in the men’s side.
“I live up the road from the club,” he said. “I liked their Facebook page and a couple of days later they got in contact with me and it went from there.”
The Bats will have a new look about them this season, with six players who played in the first XI last season on the move to different clubs.
They include former captains Kirsty Lamb and Laura Crofts along with Kate Burns, Sophie Van De Huevel and Tegean Brett.
Drinkwell said the raft of departures would give a number of other players the opportunities to step up.
He pinpointed Sophie Reid, Jacinta Goodger-Chandler and Kiara Jones as three players he expected to play greater roles.
“Girls who are going through the pathway programs will continue to be given opportunities and the opportunity for promotion,” he said.
“Emma Sands and Letesha Bawden are a couple of girls who will get opportunities.
“Jane Tiley has come through the Tasmanian youth system and comes into the squad having moved to Melbourne for uni.”
Drinkwell also expects Rhiann O’Donnell and Tayla Vlaeminck to play major roles when available.
Both have been named in the Victorian Spirit squad for the Women’s National Cricket League.
Vlaeminck made her debut for the Spirit last week, playing in both its opening round matches.
The Bats had a solid opening round performance with the bat, but couldn’t get the win against Prahran.
The Bats made 7-242 from their overs, with Goodger-Chandler making 79 not out and new skipper Meagan Ciavarella making 58.
Prahran got off to a flying start through Jess Cameron and were 0-85. With all its batsmen getting starts, Prahran made 3-245 with an over to spare.