When Sunshine broke its first XI premiership drought in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association last summer, its appetite was not totally suppressed.
The Crows were obviously ecstatic to secure their first top-flight flag since 1983-84, but it only left them hungry for more.
After re-signing the bulk of last summer’s heroes and enjoying a strong recruiting campaign, the Crows have moved up a tier to division 3 with confidence.
Crows’ captain Troy Stone has urged his players from day one of pre-season to be on the hunt for another premiership.
“We unfurled the flag and I sort of put it to the boys, we’ve won one, why can’t we win another one?” he said.
“We’ve gone out and recruited pretty well and held on to everyone from last year. The buzz is there [from last year’s premiership], but the buzz is to win another one.”
For years, Sunshine’s first XI struggled in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association.
Some of those summers before the move to the VTCA were spent merely making up the numbers.
Last season’s premiership has instilled belief that Sunshine can begin its climb up the divisions in the VTCA.
“We know what it takes now,” Stone said.
Most important for Sunshine is the mix in its playing list.
The Crows are well balanced with players who are eager to hit the repeat button and others who are keen to taste success for the first time. There is depth in the top two sides and competition for places is fierce.
“We’ve got the right mix of youth and experience,” Stone said. “The young guys have no fear, the new guys want to experience what we experienced last year and the older guys want to do it again.”
Sunshine has made an impressive start to the season. The Crows had breathing space on top of the ladder on Saturday after a six-wicket win over East Keilor in a one-day game.
It set the scene nicely for the Crows catch-up game with second-placed Point Cook on Sunday.
“We’re going well, but it’s still early, so it’s anyone’s game,” Stone said. “We’ll sort of know where we’re at come Christmas.”
One of the keys to Sunshine’s early season success has been young opening batsman Nikhil Pottabathini.
“He’s a young Indian student that we sort of came across pre-season having a hit in the nets,” Stone said.
“We signed him up before anyone else had a good look at him, so we got lucky there.
“He’s a left handed opener who just plays to his strengths, he bowls left arm spin as well, he can keep, so he can do a bit of everything.”
Asela Dasanayaka Aluthge has been on fire with the ball.
He has become the “go to” bowler at the death for Sunshine.
“He’s just very consistent and someone I can turn to in a tight situation and get the job done,” Stone said.
“He’s very smart – he bowls slower balls, he’ll mix it up and he can take the ball away.”
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