FOR years, Orange City has been the side that promised so much only to deliver very little.
In 2012-13 that all changed when the Warriors brought home the Royal Hotel Cup and, removing the ever-growing monkey off the club’s back, the Orange District Cricket Association first grade title with an emphatic outright victory over CYMS.
The pressure of years and years of so-close-yet-so-far campaigns now all but gone.
However, anyone who thought winning a premiership made cricketing life easier can think again.
Newly appointed Orange City skipper Matt Findlay believes the scrutiny on his side moving into the premiership defence will be tougher than ever before.
“Everyone has seen we can win a finals game now,” Findlay said.
“Inside the club and from clubmates, that pressure is now gone. Outside, they’ll all be gunning for us. The pressure and intensity on the field is going to be higher.”
Orange City stalwarts Andrew Rutledge and Dave Boundy have retired from the top grade, leaving a gaping hole in the side’s experience moving into 2013-14.
Quick Jono Warren has also opted not to play this season.
That void will be well and truly filled by the return of Jackson Coote, with the lanky left-armer returning to the club following two years in the Sydney Grade Cricket competition.
“We’re looking good at the moment,” Findlay said, admitting both Boundy and Rutledge may be coaxed into a return should numbers be low on any given week.
“On paper we’ve had a really good side the last couple of years and there’s probably a bit of relief after last season.
“Training hasn’t been that intense but around this time of year everyone starts to get keen.”
Orange City’s first game of the season is against CYMS at Wade Park on Saturday.