Sydenham-Hillside is ready to step up in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 3 Roy Picone Shield competition.

Having won the division 4 premiership last season, the Storm has gone up a grade this season.

New president Warren Hackney said they were keen to build on last season.

“We’re looking at a new challenge,” he said.

“We managed to get pretty much the whole first XI team back and we want to build on that.

“Hopefully we’ll be competitive this year and see what happens.”

Hackney, who was part of last season’s premiership team, said it would be a little bit of an unknown how the side will go this season, having not faced any of these teams before.

He said for them, the biggest worry was to focus on what they could control and go from there.

“Hopefully we find ourselves in the mix.”

The Storm have a new leadership structure on the field, with last year’s leadership group of Dane Currency and Peter Magafas both on the move.

West Indian Alston Bobb will be playing-coach for Sydenham-Hillside.

He’s played a lot of first class cricket back home and is both strong with bat and ball and is known for his spin bowling.

Ben Green, who was a standout for the Storm last season, has stepped up to captain the side.

“Ben is a local guy and he has stepped up to captain the side,” Hackney said.

“He was in team of the year and had a really good season. We’re looking forward to him having a similar season personally and it will help the team.

“We’ve got the new leadership structure and we’re confident that it will work well.”

In a bonus for the side, Chandima Prasad, who was club champion a couple of the years ago, returns.

Hackney said the inclusion of Prasad and Bobb would fill the losses.

“We’re looking at making one or two further additions around the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“We’re feeling like we’ve prepared well and recruited well.”

As well as taking on the president’s role, Hackney will coach the women’s side.

It will be a different looking side to the one that has won the past two premierships.

“We had some circumstances in the off season with some key personnel departing,” he said.

“I felt it was an area that I was comfortable in and that I thought I could contribute.

“With the loss of personnel, it depleted us somewhat, but we’ve done some work to build the numbers back up.

“We’ve lost a bit of experience … We’re not expecting to win flags, it’s about enjoyment and improvement.”

Sydenham-Hillside will field an under-13 girls team for the first time.

Hackney said they were still looking for players for their women’s side.