NEW Colac West skipper Zac Hammond says the club opted to avoid the easy option of withdrawing from Division One cricket for the upcoming season.
West struggled in 2013-14, failing to win a game and was often on the end of heavy defeats to Colac District Cricket Association’s top sides.
But Hammond, 20, said the club’s promising junior players were keen to show they could match it with Colac district’s top cricketers this season.
Dylan Flanigan has joined the club after four years’ experience with Geelong in Victorian Premier League cricket, while the likes of Clay Mulgrew, Rob Thresher and Reegan Harty could have big seasons.
“We could’ve gone back to Division Two, but we thought it would be better for the younger guys coming up to get that A Grade experience,” Hammond said.
“It’s only going to help them in the long run,” he said.
“Those kids proved last year they were capable of playing A Grade, so I think they’ll only get better.”
Hammond said the CDCA’s decision to abolish two-day cricket and bring in 45-over matches for the 2014-15 season also swayed Colac West’s decision to stay in CDCA’s top grade.
“It helps us out, a lot of the players last year were fed-up, we couldn’t even bat 40 overs and then we fielded for a hundred overs,” he said.
“A few of the older boys were sick of it and hopefully they stick around now it has changed to 45 overs.”
Hammond took over the captaincy from Ben Shaw, who has taken a step back from playing in the early part of the season.
The top-order batsman said he was keen to lead a cricket side for the first time since his junior playing days.
“I’m looking forward to it and hopefully it’ll be a good year for us,” he said.
“I’ve captained under-16s and under-14s when I was coming through the grades.
“We were looking for other candidates this year and no one put their hand up, so it came down to me and I’m happy to do it.”