Work ahead of season for Hoppers

Hoppers Crossing batsman Jack Rhodes. (Luke Hemer) 201741_06

Tara Murray

Hoppers Crossing is working hard behind the scenes ahead of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west season.

With restrictions easing last week, the Cats returned to the training track ahead of a scheduled season start date of November 21.

Speaking a couple of days after the announcement that training could start, Cats president Jake Porter said it was a stressful time.

“There’s lots to do and not enough time to do it,” he said.

“It’s great news that we can train again. We’re planning to start training in the next couple of days for the seniors, or at least do a walk-through about the COVID protocols and then get fully into training next week.

“The juniors will start next week too.”

Porter said they would look to field the same number of teams this year, which includes a senior women’s and veteran’s team.

He said their men’s first XI side was similar to past season.

“A couple of players have stepped away for family reasons,” he said.

“Jermey Swan has come back to the club after a couple of years away and we’ve had a couple of people who have expressed interest in playing. We haven’t been able to have a look at them yet.

“Hopefully we’ll have a few guys putting pressure on the first XI.”

Jack Rhodes has been named captain-coach of the side this season. Rhodes was appointed to that role last season, but stood down before the season started.

“Jack has a lot of experience at district level [premier] and has been at the club the last couple of seasons,’ he said.

“Getting down to the nitty gritty last season, he knew it was a great deal of work and the timing wasn’t right for him.

“He still played last season and things have changed to allow him to coach. We’ve got a bit more coaching support around him as well.”

The Cats finished last season in seventh, missing finals on percentage.

Porter said there was plenty of motivation to break into that top six.

“We lost one of our own early in the season and the guys battled through the season,” he said.

“A lot of guys were emotionally drained at the end.

“They are motivated to take that next step as we’ve been knocking at the door the last couple of years.

“We’ve been relying on other teams, we need to make sure we’re getting the results ourselves to get into finals.”

The Cats will kick off their season on November 21 against Melton.