Wodonga Raiders are winless heading into the final round of provincial cricket. But skipper Chris Beard tells The Border Mail's Brett Kohlhagen the season has still bee a success.
BRETT KOHLHAGEN: Out of 10, how would you rate Wodonga Raiders’ first season in provincial?
CHRIS BEARD: As I said at the start of the season, it was never going to results-driven. We knew we were going to be up against it but I would rate it a 7 or 8 off the field and a 1 or 2 on it. All the boys have stuck at it and I can’t fault their effort. They have embraced the challenge really well.
BK: Do you think the team has answered its critics?
CB: We have definitely held our own. We have been in every game and haven’t been obliterated which I think most people thought would happen. We will come back bigger and better next season.
BK: Where does the club need to get better?
CB: Probably on-field structure. We need a bit more leadership with myself being crook and our coach Carl McGregor getting a job opportunity back home in England. That’s hurt us a bit this season. Our wicket is going to get done for next season and there will be work put into our facilities as well which is exciting for the club.
BK: Does that mean you will be stepping down as captain?
CB: It’s been a bit of a caretaker role for me to help out and hopefully we can get someone to step in and do the job.
BK: Will you try to recruit any established players from rival CAW clubs?
CB: We probably need to get a bit more experience into the club to help Kori (Stevenson) and players like him. Whether that be district players or second grade players I’m not too sure, but it’s something we will look at.
BK: How big a step up is it from district to provincial?
CB: It’s been a big step. The quality is definitely better. You play on better wickets, guys don’t give their wickets away and you can’t afford lapses. We have learnt a lot as we have gone on.
BK: Kori Stevenson has really stood up. How far can he go?
CB: You can’t put a limit on him. He’s a freak. At the start of the year we wanted to go for kids like him. He’s proven himself to be one of the best five or six batsmen in the competition with 567 runs.
BK: Any other good youngsters coming through the ranks?
CB: We have four of five who are probably a couple of years away. Kids like Avery Weilandt are coming through and will be good players for the club.
BK: What has been the season highlight?
CB: Just being back where we belong. For myself, five or six years ago we played in a grand final and to step out in that first game of the season was fantastic.
CB: It was heart-breaking to lose to North Albury at the weekend because it was so close. We were right in the game and couldn’t get over the line.
BK: Who is the best team you have played this year?
CB: St Pat’s are the most complete team in the batting and bowling and East Albury is a good side.