The next generation will be key to the hopes of Rupertswood in this year’s Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s Johnstone Shield.

Having made finals in their first season back in the second grade, Rupo is aiming to set the side up for the future.

Rupo coach Andrew Pizaro said they had a lot of kids coming through.

“We have a lot of under-17s keen to play and we’re really looking to push as many through as we can,“ he said.

“We have got two under-17s teams this year and we have got on the front foot to introduce them into the senior program.

“This group will be around for the next 12-15 years.”

Pizaro said they would have a mixture of youth and experience in both their top sides.

He said the under-17s were training with the senior teams to help them further develop.

“They want to play as high as they can, that is encouraging.”

There will be few changes to Rupo’s top side.

Michael Treweek has returned to Sunbury to play with his brothers and John Lane will step down to the seconds and captain the side. Bert Van Den Heuvel will assist Lane.

Young bowler Joel Muir has come across from the Sunbury Kangaroos [formerly Ashfield] and adds to the core young group.

Pizaro said there was some exciting times ahead.

“Joel has a couple of mates at the club,” he said. “I taught him at primary school and I’ve played against him.

“Alex Bond shone last year and is in that age group. He started the season batting at eight, nine and 10 … We gave him a chance and he took the next step.

“Max Howell played pretty much the whole season in the ones. They’re really starting to come together that next group.”

Rupertswood kicks off its season on Saturday in a one-dayer against the Sunbury Kangaroos.