Lions aim for return to A-grade finals

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Matt Wolfe cover drives for 4.
Camera IconRoyals' Matt Wolfe cover drives for 4. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Royals Cricket Club have put a return to finals in the Albany Cricket Association A-grade competition on the agenda after returning to the top tier last season.

Despite finishing last with only three wins, the Lions took some positive steps in their return to A-grade cricket, reaching the finals of the Twenty20 competition with four wins from six games and starting with two wins from their first five games.

The Lions last played finals in 2014-15 when they reached the semifinal stage.

Captain Jack Hastie said playing finals in the seven-team competition was a realistic goal for his side in their second season. “We are looking to make our first finals series since returning to A-grade,” he said.

“We will also be looking to continue to develop our young core.”

Hastie confirmed the Lions would opt for an overseas player, with all-rounder Sam Hughes to arrive in Australia to replace opening batsman Shameer Ahmed.

Batsman Will Moriarty also returns to the club, while batsman Cohen Chapman, left-arm seamer Jeremy Ellis and wicketkeeper and vice-captain Scott Worsfold are losses from the squad.

The Lions won two of their first five games last season with renewed enthusiasm but faded in the back half after Christmas.

Youngster Ted Batchelor impressed with the ball, snaring 18 wickets in his first full season of A-grade cricket, while Digby Nuthall was the Lions’ most consistent batsman with 234 runs to show positive signs for the season ahead.

Hastie (223) and stylish middle order batsman Matt Wolfe (218) were also among the runs in a tough season for batsmen on the new precinct pitches and the Lions will need greater contributions this season.

Royals begin the season against Manypeaks on October 20.

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