For the first time in nearly a decade, the Crookwell Cricket Club is set to play two teams in the Goulburn District Cricket Association senior competitions.
Crookwell First Grade captain, Jake Paterson, told the Post that, due to an influx of numbers over the off-season, the club has enough players to field both a First Grade and Second or Third Grade side (dependent on the structure of the competition in 2021/22).
"So far, we're looking as strong as we've ever looked," Paterson said.
"We've had a bit of an influx. I'm not sure what's pushing people across, but we've got a couple of players who want to play with us from other teams, and there's also some people who have moved into town who have come and watched a few games, and they want to play for us."
Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the club has not been able to hold a training session yet. Although the Upper Lachlan Shire is technically not under stay at home orders anymore, several members of the team work in Goulburn and thus cannot train.
But while Paterson is unsure of exactly what skills the new players bring to the side, he is thrilled to see Crookwell cricket thriving again.
"To see how far Crookwell cricket has come and the sort of team we've got is really impressive, it gives a sense of satisfaction," he said.
In recent seasons, Crookwell has been one of the most talented but least consistent teams in the First Grade competition.
They have always possessed a solid bowling attack, but their batting has been notoriously hit-and-miss, often literally. This year, the wave of new blood in the side has brought with it a number of new batsmen who, Paterson believes, will bolster the top of the order.
"Our problem's always been the batting," he said.
"We can all bowl well and everyone can do their job, but when we go to bat, we can suffer a little bit. Having that bit of extra strength there, and the quality of batters that we'll have will be good."
Taking home a premiership has long been the goal for Paterson and the Crookwell side. In recent years, they have shown that the team possesses the ability to do so, and with a more resolute batting lineup, he believes their chances are better than ever.
However, more than winning a title, Paterson hopes to prove to the rest of the sides in the GDCA that Crookwell is once again a force in the local competition.
"We've been hunting the premiership for years now, so that'd be at the top of the list," he said.
"But the main one for us is proving that we're not just a bunch of young kids that have just gotten into the team. We've all been there for a while now, and we can actually play good cricket and make the trip out to the Grange more dreaded than it is right now.
"We can be that team that everyone knows, when they come and play us, we've got a tough bowling lineup and a tough batting lineup."
The GDCA has not yet announced a start date for the 2021/22 season, as it is subject to the state government's current COVID-19 restrictions.
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