Despite having seven sides in finals last season – and winning two premierships – Plenty Valley Cricket Club isn’t resting on its laurels.
The club is working hard on a big off season.
The Bats have looked to strengthen both its men’s and women’s programs.
Plenty Valley president Darren Callahan said the Bats know they can’t stand still, with other clubs sure to be getting stronger.
On the men’s side, there are changes to the first XI side that claimed the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-east premiership.
Premiership winning captain-coach James Dickinson is on the more to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.
Callahan said Dickinson had left on good terms.
“We wanted him to be around and he wanted to stay, but the travel with work was getting him down,” Callahan said.
“He works in the country and was driving close to two hours to get to training. He’s moved on to be a batsman at Strathmore, which is closer to home.”
Ryan Pearson will take on the captaincy role, with Callahan saying he was the logical choice.
“He’s one of the best players in the competition,” he said. “He’s excited by it.”
The coaching structure will be different, with a director of coaching to oversee a number of assistant coaches.
Former coach Matthew Hewat returns to the club after a season away and will be coaching director.
Senior players Simon Black, Pearson, Daniel Heatley, Rory Collins and Michael Rogneda will step up and be assistant coaches.
Dickinson is one of three premiership players on the move, with teenagers Jai Lemire and Ikroop Dhanoa progressing to Victorian Premier Cricket.
Veteran Sean Ayres, who didn’t play the back end of the season due to injury, has been lured out of retirement and will captain-coach Preston Baseballers in the North Metro Cricket Association.
The Bats have moved quickly to replace those who have departed, adding three players with Premier Cricket experience
“Michael Rogneda has come across from Northcote and is a quality opening bowler and batsman,” Callahan said.
“Lee Brown is an ex-Hawthorn player and is a good friend of Ryan Pearson and Simon Black.
“Ryan Nankervis is the brother of Callum and he comes across from Essendon.”
Mathew Ceravolo, who hasn’t played cricket for a couple of years, also joins the Bats.
Plenty Valley is also focusing on their women’s program.
They’ve added a female cricket co-ordinator and appointed two assistant coaches.
Callahan said Adam Drinkwell, who will lead the women’s program for a third year, will work closely with Hewat.
Callahan said the Bats were looking at adding an overseas player to their talented young group of females.
Their Premier side played in finals last season for the first time in a number of years.
“Tayla Vlaeminck has been picked in the Ashes squad and she is a great talent,” Callahan said.
“There’s Sophie Reid, Rhiann O’Donnell and you’ve got Sophie Day, who is playing first-class cricket in England.
“We’ve got four or five at that high level now. We’ll be pretty competitive.”