Despite losing a large chunk of its senior side, Lancefield is confident it can be competitive this season in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association.
The Tigers have dropped from the McIntyre Cup competition to the Jensen Shield Sub-District Firsts competition, the old C-grade competition, due to losing so many players.
They finished bottom of the McIntyre Cup last season after being deducted points for playing an unregistered player and were facing relegation.
Ryan Millar will captain the Tigers this year.
Millar is the only player from the club’s B-grade premiership in 2016-17 who will play full-time this season.
“A few of the boys have been playing cricket and footy each year and are a bit tired, so they decided they needed a freshen up,” he said. “There’s no bad blood and they’re welcome back any time.
“I’m the only player left full-time from the B-grade flag, so it is a bit of a challenge, but we’ve got some really good guys around the club.”
Millar said the club made the decision to drop down a further grade to ensure the side wasn’t getting smashed every week, denting the confidence of the young players.
He said that while the Tigers were dropping grades on the field, they didn’t want to go backwards as a club.
“We don’t want people to look at the club and think that no one wants to play for them,” he said.
“The club made the decision to make sure we weren’t going out there every week being smashed and not being able to retain those players in the next few years.
“We want to get back up to the higher level, but we also want to ensure we’re enjoying our cricket.”
Luke Harrison will provide some experience coming from Taylors Lakes in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association after moving to the area.
Mark Caton and Samuel Taylor will provide experience, while Jarryd McGill, another member of the B-grade premiership, will play when he can. Cameron Stein, Connor Dowling and Callum Sankey are some of the young guys Millar said the club expected would get more opportunities.
Millar said the focus was on maintaining a positive environment.
“We still have a good core group and most of them are kids with a positive attitude,” he said.
“We’ll still put up a fight. We would like to win a few games and maybe sneak into finals – that would be the icing on the cake.”
The Tigers had an interesting start to the season on Saturday, tieing with Malmsbury.
Malmsbury was bowled out on the final ball of its overs for 195.
The Tigers finished 7-195 in reply, with Jack Wilson top scoring with 54 not out.
Macedon, St Anthonys and Kyneton were the other winners.