Centrals skipper Daryl Kennewell is “fairly confident” his side can down Royal Hotel Cup newcomers St Pat’s Old Boys in Friday night’s tournament-opener and, down the track, hopefully shrug off their reputation as the Twenty20 competition’s perennial cellar-dwellers.
Outside 2015-16 when the red and blacks made the grand final, largely thank to Jameel Qureshi’s efforts in the pool stage, Kennewell’s side has struggled in the shortest format of the game.
Apart from that breakthrough finals appearance Centrals haven’t featured in the play-offs since the tournament changed from 40 overs-a-side to T20, winning just two of their 15 games in those five seasons.
But there’s reason for hope this summer, Kennewell says, the red and blacks have recruited well in former Kinross quick Fletcher Rose, have a much younger group in general and are also buoyed by the return of former skipper Jake Pauletto.
“I’m interested to see how we go,” Kennewell said.
“We haven’t got any marquee players but we’ve got a solid base (and) we’ll be stronger (than last summer) with both bat and ball.
“[Pauletto] has been hitting them really well in the nets … [Rose] might take the new ball, or we might head to pace after a few overs, we’ll see.”
“The St Pat’s boys look like a fairly young side (too), it’ll be a tough game.”
Centrals face St Pat’s Old Boys from 6.30pm on Friday night under the bright lights of Wade Park, before facing Kinross, Orange City and perennial powerhouse Lithgow in their remaining pool A matches.
- CENTRALS: Dean Turner, Nick Dunlop, Jack Dodds, Matt Burgess, Ben Winslade, Nathan Gander, Daryl Kennewell ©, Fletcher Rose, Zac Reimer, Matt Ripps, Cam Rasmussen, Ed Dodds