CAVALIERS have been a benchmark team in the Orange District Cricket Association first grade competition for more than a decade.
But captain Richie Venner said his team can’t live in the past.
The 2013-14 season kicks off on Saturday and Venner said his side needs to find its killer instinct again.
Cavaliers won eight consecutive Bathurst Orange Inter District and ODCA first grand premierships from 2002-03 to 2009-10.
They then lost back-to-back grand finals against Centrals in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.
Last year Cavs missed out on a place in the big game.
“We’ve been in 14 of the last 16 grand finals which is fantastic, but that’s in the past,” Venner said.
“Lately when we’ve gotten to the right end of the season we’ve lost our killer instinct. When we used to get a team down, we’d put our foot on their throat. We haven’t done that the last few years.
“In the past we took our opportunities. We may not have been the best team, but when the big moments happened and there were opportunities, we played the right brand of cricket.
“We haven’t really stepped up in the last two years and that’s disappointing. That’s not something we can rectify at the start of the season. We’ll have to work on that.”
Something working in Cavaliers’ favour is their ability to field a similar side season to season.
You can expect to see the experienced heads of Venner, Stu Middleton, Chris Martin and Brad Wright back.
Young guns like Liam Gough and James Ryan will also be on hand, however there is a chance the teenagers could leave midway through the season.
Still, Venner knows Gough and Ryan could play key roles early.
Last season, Gough was part of the open Western Zone side which took out the NSW Country title.
Ryan had a solid year with the bat in Orange, scoring 270 runs from 12 games at an average of 20.77.
Stu Middleton with 456 runs from 11 games (41.45 average) was the only Cavs player to better Ryan.
Then there are other young players who have settled in the top grade.
“One good thing is we haven’t had a lot of changes,” Venner said.
“Our younger guys who have come in like Matt Corben now feel like part of the team and they’re not just there filling in. It will be exciting to see what they can do.”
Cavaliers have also picked up Blayney’s Matt Death.
“He’ll be a good addition to our side,” Venner said.
“He’s been to every training session and he’s keen as.”
The ODCA first grade competition is set to feature a limited overs competition, one-day games and two-day matches.
Add to that the day-night Royal Hotel Cup.
Venner said his side wouldn’t target a specific format.
Instead they want to perform every time they play.
“We’ll just worry about who’s in front of us and playing cricket. As players, we’ve got to do our job,” he said.