New Kinross coach Ben Roland isn’t sure what to expect from his young charges in the Royal Hotel Cup clash with Lithgow Lightning on Friday night.
Roland isn’t entirely sure what they’ve even been up to this week, with most of the students away on a cadets camp, meaning the last hit-out any of them had was last weekend’s Orange District Cricket Association first-grade game.
There will be a few new factors at play for the students, with Gus Cumming and Charlie Greer still overseas in the United Kingdom and new skipper Sam Ridley taking the reins for his first game in charge.
Ridley is one of the few older hands in Friday night’s side, with he and Logan Buckley the two older students in year 11, with the rest all year 10 – aside from year nine student Phoebe Litchfield.
Roland himself will also line up for the students, with the 32-year-old teacher made to feel old amongst his young charges.
They've got a bit more fitness than I do, but that means they’re more capable of running from fine leg to fine leg.Ben Roland
However, it didn’t stop him from cheekily noting that as long as the ever-reliable Stu Crisp is in the side he’ll still feel young.
The teacher has spent time playing club cricket in both Sydney and the UK before moving west, and he’ll sit in the middle order and bowl legspin when required, with the students without a front-line spinner.
“Hopefully I can bring a steady head and a bit of experience,” he said.
“They've got a bit more fitness than I do, but that means they’re more capable of running from fine leg to fine leg.”
Walking out the middle had been a big reality check, especially with a “long time” out of the game.
“Add fielders and a wicketkeeper and it becomes completely different to the nets,” he said.
He said Crisp would also be invaluable as an experienced hand for the young outfit, with the ability to stem runs and take much-needed wickets a drawcard.
The batting order is very much up in the air for Kinross, with Ridley a chance to open the batting as a bigger hitter.
“He plays firsts rugby and doesn’t look out of place amongst men on the field so he can clear the rope,” Roland said.
Batting will be the crucial point for Kinross, with Roland very quickly picking up fielding and bowling are the students’ strength – which he admits plays into their hands in the longer form of the game but could put a lot of pressure on the Lightning if they take early wickets and keep the runs tight.
“It’ll be interesting to see how we go, with that many youngsters in the side,” he said.
Kinross host Lithgow Lightning from 8pm on Friday at Wade Park.
- Kinross: Will Luelf, Alex Brien, Stu Crisp, Logan Buckley, Sam Ridley (c), Ben Ronald, Phoebe Litchfield, Harry May, Hugh McIntyre, Harry Kermode, Ed Taylor
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