By Lance Jenkinson
Brad Apps is grasping his opportunity in the Werribee first XI this season.
After playing a key role in the Tigers’ second XI premiership in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association last summer, Apps was promoted to the firsts in round one and has not looked back.
The 29-year-old puts his strong first half of the season down to “the luxury of not having too many niggles” in the pre-season and simply being a smarter bowler.
“My stump line consistency is something I’ve prided myself on this year, instead of trying to take a wicket every ball,” he said.
Apps thought last year’s second XI flag might have been the peak of his career at Werribee.
After moving into a new home in Geelong West, the medium pacer seriously considered bidding farewell to Werribee.
“I’ve just moved down to Geelong West, so I was considering, after last year’s success with the seconds premiership, to probably find a new cricket home down in Geelong somewhere,” Apps said.
“After last year’s success and the group of people we had coming through, I thought I just want to still stick with it at Werribee.”
The decision to stay has quickly paid dividends for Apps.
His first two outings with the ball were a touch expensive, but he took wickets in those games to keep his spot in the side.
Now settled in a new-ball partnership with Jonathan Burton, Apps is both economical
and a key wicket taker for the Tigers with 16 scalps at an average of 15.4 in all formats this season.
Having played first XI without success in three games in 2016-17 and a debut game in 2014-15, this was probably a last chance saloon for Apps to prove himself in top grade.
“I’ve had a couple of goes before and I wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked to have been,” he said.
“When you do get your chance, you’ve really got to grasp it with two hands and have a red-hot crack.
“I’m a bit more experienced now and being a bit of an older head has put me in good stead.”
While the drive from Geelong takes its toll some days, Apps is relishing his days at Werribee.
He will get some respite when he begins training on Tuesday nights with Geelong’s Premier Cricket squad to cut down on travel.
A former Hoppers Crossing player, Apps says Werribee is a great environment to be around with a brand new facility at Chirnside Park, eager youngsters in the lower XIs snapping at the heels of players in the higher grades to keep the pressure on and a first XI that looks on track to play in the finals.
“The way we’re going this year just puts a smile on my face,” Apps said.
“This season has probably been the highlight of my whole cricketing career, bar last year [and] winning the flag. I’m playing the highest level I’ve ever played and being consistent and contributing to our wins.”
Apps wants more than just wins though – he wants to experience the ultimate thrill of a first XI premiership.
Sitting third on the ladder, Werribee is well positioned to be in the mix this season.
The bar was set in a win over reigning premier Williamstown before Christmas.
“The whole group had so much intensity and passion in that game,” he said.
“It wouldn’t matter how much we were defending, we would’ve won that game.
“As long as we keep that vibe going, we can go deep into the finals.
“I honestly think we can get to the end of the year, we can get to the big one.”
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