By Nick Creely
There’s going to be plenty of Dandenong flavour to the Cranbourne Cricket Club in 2020/21, with the Eagles confirming the return of some of the club’s favourite sons.
The Dandenong District Turf 2 club – which finished sixth on the table in 2019/20 – has locked in its senior coach and assistant, with the Sweeney boys, Pete (assistant) and Mick (head coach), set to make a return to their junior club after storied careers with Dandenong spanning almost two decades.
And that’s not all for the Eagles, who have also confirmed the return of ex-Dandenong senior coach and Cranbourne champion Ross Woodall to the club in a coaching capacity, a further boost for a club looking to surge back into finals calculations.
A couple of powerhouse clubs have also locked in senior coaches, with Springvale South announcing the great fast bowler Darren Arter as the Bloods’ main man, while reigning Turf 1 premier Berwick has locked away Brad James as senior coach, replacing outgoing coach Will Carr, who has departed for Casey-South Melbourne.
Coomoora has also announced a new playing senior coach, with Abhinav Bhatia signing on for the Roos after a strong season with Mulgrave Wheelers Hill, while the Roos have signed Lachie Cummins and Awais Ahmed from Endeavour Hills.
While on Endeavour Hills, it’s also proving to be a busy off-season period for the club, which has also locked in its senior coach and a couple of more than handy signings to go with a series of first XI players re-committing to the club.
Nick Bole-Brown – a Victorian and Australian over 50s representative cricketer – has signed on as the Eagles’ coach for 2020/21, while the Eagles have also welcomed back quality seamer Chris Pereira after a strong stint with Hallam Kalora Park, where he will also captain the first XI next season.
But in the club’s biggest coup so far, the Eagles have brought in quality top-order bat Austin Heldt, a former Victorian under 19 representative who has played Premier Cricket with Dandenong and Casey-South Melbourne, where he featured in four games at first XI level.
Heldt only recently captained North Dandenong in the DDCA’s tough Turf 1 competition last season and enjoyed a solid season.
Premier Cricket outfit Dandenong’s preparations for next season under new coach Warren Ayres are also in full swing, with the Panthers building some more depth to their bowling ranks as well as adding a new assistant coach.
Adding to the fast bowling stocks, the Panthers have snared duo James Maxwell and Jack Fowler from Casey-South Melbourne and Kingston Hawthorn respectively, while Adam McMaster has also returned to Shepley Oval after a brief stint with Melbourne, adding plenty of depth to the bowling department.
And the Panthers will also welcome in DDCA legend Craig Slocombe as an assistant coach, with the great batsman retiring after an incredible career with Springvale South at the end of last season. Slocombe will link up once again with former teammate Warren Ayres.