Bottom-up focus no help yet at top

Tim O’Sullivan
Tim O’Sullivan
A few runs would be great.

A win would be even better.

Right now University-Grange would probably settle for being more competitive.

The club is hopeful its policy of providing opportunities for younger cricketers will pay off in the future.

But the senior team is really battling in the premier grade this season.

It has lost all six one-day games and three of them by 200-plus runs.

There has also been a nine-wicket loss and the team is averaging just a smidge over 110 with the bat.

It suffered three heavy defeats in the twenty20 tournament as well.

President Andrew Hore said that while results were bitterly disappointing, the club had worked hard off the field.

It returned to the premier grade last season after a four-year absence, player numbers were up and the club remained committed to fielding a premier-grade side.

‘‘Our philosophy is to give school players opportunities to play senior cricket earlier,’’ Hore said.

To that end, the club has a working relationship with Otago Boys’ High School and John McGlashan College.

‘‘And this week we have a young King’s boy playing for our senior team as well. We really want the grass-roots players to push through rather than get outside guys coming in all the time, so that is one reason why we’ve gone this way.’’

The down side of picking young players was the team lacked experience. However, Hore is confident the side ‘‘will get more competitive’’.

‘‘I think you’ll find the sides we have played against know that we have a good bowling attack — when they are available — and we have some guys who can bat but who have really not got the runs yet.’’

The club could have used one or two of Otago’s new recruits this season but the likes of Dean Foxcroft and Nick Kelly opted to go elsewhere.

While Hore felt ‘‘it makes sense to spread your top players out around the clubs’’, he said the club was committed to building from the bottom up.

Dunedin Cricket Association general manager Tim O’Sullivan said the association met University-Grange before the season started ‘‘to set expectations from Dunedin cricket’s point of view’’.

‘‘They are struggling results-wise but in terms of running their club they are doing extremely well.

‘‘We indicated their performance would need to improve [from last season] and their recruitment strategies would need to be set in place for them to establish themselves as a senior team.

‘‘Some of their players are very young and still learning the trade. We were happy with where they were sitting prior to the season but we will have a chat in the near future about how they are going and how they see themselves performing.’’

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