Silly season kicks off

Buckley Ridges are confident that star all-rounder Jerome Jones will return next season. 201523 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Nick Creely

Cricket’s silly season is only really just beginning, but clubs in the region are already making moves for the 2021/22 season.

Dandenong District Cricket Association Turf 1 powerhouses Buckley Ridges, as they usually are, have been busy with the pen this off-season, with two big signings set to bolster the club.

Ben Wright, a former Glamorgan batsman and England Under 19 representative, will link up with the Bucks next season, with the Englishman set to relocate with his Australian wife in Melbourne.

It continues on the strong overseas connection with the club and ex and current County cricketers.

Wright, 33, has also had previous experience playing Premier Cricket in South Australia for three years.

In 89 first-class matches, Wright scored 3684 runs at an average of 27, with six centuries and 16 half-centuries, while also playing over 100 combined one-day and Twenty20 matches.

He retired from the professional ranks in 2015, and returned to his home club, Cowbridge, where he has piled on the runs.

“I’ve been fortunate to sample life in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne . . . and we fell in love with Melbourne and its eastern suburbs,” Ben told Gezza talking cricket’s column.

“We have always wanted to raise our boys in Australia and we felt now was the right time to make the move while they were still young.”

Wright said the club and the association has come “highly recommended” to him by James Cole at the Cric X player agency, as well as Nottingham’s skipper and his old Under-19s teammate Steven “Mulls” Mullaney, who was Buckley’s former captain-coach.

“I spoke to Steve and he was extremely complimentary about the club and its people (so) I am looking forward to getting my whole family involved with the club,” he said.

The Bucks have also signed Nimesh Kariyawasam from North Dandenong, an impressive pace bowler who snared 22 wickets in Turf 1 last season, and have confirmed that if the borders allow it, West Indian all-rounder Jerome Jones will be returning back to the club after his ultra-impressive stint in 2019/20.

It’s also set to be a hectic off-season for runners-up Dandenong in the Victorian Premier Cricket competition, with the Panthers linked to some big moves.

What has been confirmed is the arrival of all-rounder Matt Wilson from Carlton, who will be looking for further opportunity in first XI cricket under Warren Ayres.

Several big names, Peter Cassidy and Lincoln ‘LJ’ Edwards are linked to moves to the Sub-District competition, with Cassidy expected to land at Brighton, while Suraj Randiv has departed to the Eastern Cricket Association where he will coach Edinburgh.

Champion skipper Tom Donnell is weighing up retirement after a stellar career, while superstar all-rounder James Nanopoulos has several offers on the table.