By Jonty Ralphsmith
It’s been a quick ascent for Doveton Cricket Club.
In 2018/19, the famous club was in Turf 5 and now the once mighty Turf 1 competitor is back in Turf 2, among the best 16 clubs in the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA), having won two premierships in three years.
President and all-rounder Kaine Bundy says there is great excitement which Doveton will look to embrace.
“There is plenty of buzz around the joint, I’m always talking to someone about the future, which hasn’t been going on around the club for a while,” Bundy said.
“It used to be…we rock up to play, and then go home, but people want to talk behind the scenes when the club is improving.
“We definitely aren’t there to just make up the numbers, I hope we play finals in our first year in turf two and give it a crack.
“It’s a good place to be again.”
New coach Mitch Daley takes over from Troy Hancock and is the perfect person to complement the anticipation according to Bundy.
Daley scored 351 runs from 14 hits as an opener last season, including a century in the final when he formed a big partnership with Simon Mackie, and has an excellent grounding in leadership.
“He’s a likeable lad,” Bundy said.
“You always want a firmness with the coach but when people are excited and want to be there, you don’t have much else go wrong.
“He’s a wealth of knowledge having captained Emerald for five years so I think he’s going to be really good for a few of the younger boys to help them take the next step.
“Everyone expects them to be to be really good quality turf one cricketers by the time they’re done.”
Doveton had five batters in the top 20 turf three run-scorers last season – Ryan Hendy (385) Simon Mackie (379 runs), Mitch Daley, Troy Hancock (305), Adam Read (268) – and have retained the quintet.
Hendy has long monopolised the top-order runs for Doveton, but Bundy is keen to see how some others perform at turf two level.
“Talent is definitely there it is just about applying ourselves for longer periods than the opposition,” Bundy said.
“We need to be a lot better at adapting week to week from two-day cricket to one-day cricket as we will play the two mixed this season.
“I think that has been our one downfall in the past. At times, we didn’t adapt well to the circumstances of the game at times – we would lose a couple of wickets and try to hit our way out rather than using our 40 overs.”
Former Emerald opening bowler and late-order hitter Trent Rolfs has jumped on board for the season to add potency to the bowling line-up.
Rolfs captured five wickets from four games last season and has averaged 22 with the ball in his past three seasons.
Nathan Wilson – who will captain the side in 2022-23 – and Hendy, offer handy spin, Adam Read is a rapid bowler that can bowl scary spells and Kenny Smart is a workhorse medium pacer that adds variation to the attack, alongside Rolfs.
Bundy also indicated there may be some other recruits the club is circling which will be announced in the coming weeks.