Newly-appointed Orange City first grade skipper Ed Morrish knows he and the rest of the club’s 2018-19 captains have a big job on their hands, after all, it’s not often a club enjoys the kind of success the greens did last summer.
Along with hoisting the McCarthy Cup as club champions, the Warriors claimed last season’s Orange District Cricket Association first, second and third grade titles and won a handful of junior premierships as well.
“That’s pretty tough for anyone to follow,” Morrish laughed, he replaces outgoing skipper Craig Rogan in the top job, who didn’t nominate for the role again.
“Last year was a pretty incredible season, but the battle now is to try and back that up this year with some new faces.
“We’ve got a couple of other new captains and, in first grade anyway, there’ll be a bit of turnover with some of the premiership-winning players moving on.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Along with Morrish, Adam Cowden has been appointed second grade skipper while Josh Cheney retains the role in thirds, with Gary Burton taking the job on in Centenary Cup.
In terms of the top grade’s turnover, Orange City are expected to go into the 2018-19 season without the likes of Tim Low, Brad Johnson, Nathan Rosser and, in the biggest loss, Taylor Beatty.
Beatty only joined the Warriors midway through last summer but still pummeled 485 runs at 121.3 with two tons, and took 12 wickets at 14.8 apiece as well.
The former Manly-Warringah top grader won man-of-the-match in the Warriors’ grand final win and was also, unsurprisingly, named the club’s cricketer of the year.
“At the moment it doesn’t look like those guys are playing, and they’re all big losses,” Morrish said.
“Obviously Taylor, after what he did last summer, is probably the biggest loss if he isn’t around, so I guess in a way we’ll be looking to rebuild.
“But in saying that there’s a lot of talent coming through, we saw that with our lower grades winning as well, so we’ll have good players coming in to fill those roles.”
Some of that talent, Morrish says, comes in the form of the club’s boom teenage contingent.
The Warriors’ under-16 side won the title last summer and a number of them have already tasted senior cricket and the top grade, with Morrish saying continuing their development is a huge focus of his.
“Guys like Lachie Coyte, who played first grade virtually all of last season and did well, Blake Weymouth and a few of those other under 16s all have a lot of ability,” Morrish said.
“We want to be able to utilise that talent and give them a chance, and make sure they keep developing as players.”
Morrish wouldn’t go as far as saying his number one priority is defending the top grade title, though.
While he said that’s the ideal end goal he’ll be focusing more on performance and continued improvement, that he hopes in turn will help the big picture take care of itself.
“Everyone wants to win, obviously, but you have to do a lot of hard work to put yourself in that position, give yourself a chance,” he said.
“One of the big things I’d like to see early in the season is more improvement in the way we go about things with the bat.
“We’re still pretty accustomed to a collapse every now and then. We were better last summer, but there’s still room to get better and that’s one thing I really want to see us do.”
Although he’s not been in the role full-time, Morrish had a big taste of the leadership role last year.
As Rogan’s vice-captain, he took the reins when his skipper was out injured through the early stages of the year and stood in with aplomb, boasting a winning percentage of 84 per cent.
“That’s good experience, I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did it last year and I’m looking forward to this year,” he said.
“There’ll be a lot more off-field commitments this season, last year when I was filling in Craigy still took care of all that stuff and I just got the side on the weekend.
“It’s all stuff I’m excited to get involved in though.”
Orange City president Nick Cooper congratulated Morrish on his appointment, adding the club remains in good stead to back up last year’s stunning success.
“Ed was the obvious choice in a way, he’s been vice captain now for a while and has done a great job and he’s very enthusiastic about the role,” Cooper said.
“He seems to perform better when he’s captain too, with that extra responsibility, so hopefully that continues.
“Congratulations to the other captains appointed too, we’re looking forward to another big season.”
The 2018-19 draw are yet to be released, but Orange City has begun training, doing so on Sunday.
The Warriors will continue training every Sunday from 11am until the season begins, at Endeavour Oval’s nets.