Due to considerable public demand (that's crap, I was only asked by Stebbo after a cricket-related Facebook status of mine got out of control over the off-season!) here's my Southern Cricket Association 1st Grade preview for the clubs located in the Northern Suburbs, the local area of the Glenorchy Cricket Club.
In alphabetical order:
CLAREMONT: The newly named Magpies, now wearing Black and White after wearing "Lindisfarne colours" for most of their existence, welcome back their 3-time Premiership Captain-Coach Jason Harris from Clarence. Jason has already brought a great deal of professionalism to the club with his approach to training and also game plans. The club also welcomes enthusiastic seamer Vikram Koundal. Claremont have however been hit hard by departures from last season with all-rounder (and he is very round!) Justin Miller taking up the Captain-Coach position at Margate, another round guy Mathew Shelton returning to Glenorchy, his Brother Tim returning to St Anne's and Mark Clark not playing due to family commitments. With Claremont winning a fairytale 2nd XI Premiership last year from 5th spot after sneaking in to the finals, alot of players from their flag win will be needed to step up to cover their losses.
ST ANNE'S: The Crows have appointed their 2007-08 Premiership Coach and former Glenorchy quick the "Irish Aboriginal" Sean McGuire as Coach for 2012-13 and after his season last year was severely interrupted by work commitments, will be a big asset for them if he is available full time. Former Glenorchy players Brent Cartledge and Tim Shelton also return from that Premiership side, with the latter known as "the best fielder at St Anne's" at the time. He will face stiff opposition for that title, with multiple-time Jim Anderton Medallist as SCA Fielder of the Year Mark Kamaric finding his way back to St Anne's since Shelton last played at the club. They will however miss star batsmen Wayne Quarrell and Nathan Mallinson terribly, who have both joined Wellington. Opening bowler Paul Rogers has returned to Old Beach, along with a number of lower grade players also heading there which will severly test the Crows' depth. Talk has been that the Crows will struggle, but with experienced campaigners Phillip "Pip" Cockshutt, Luke Jones and David "Disco" Kamaric still about that doesn't wash with me. Expect them at or close to full strength, to be most competitive with all sides.
ST VIRGIL'S: While you wouldn't classify the Saints as a "Northern Suburbs club" they play out of St Virgil's College at Austins Ferry so we'll give them a run too. Not much has been said in the off-season about the Saints , who just missed the finals last year, other than the fact they have picked up former New Town quick Ben Smith who is touted as being one of, if not the quickest bowler in the SCA. If they keep the nucleus of their side from last season, with the addition of Smith, the should again go close to finals action.
WELLINGTON: If not much was said about St Virgil's over Winter, that definitely is not the case with the Warriors. Having won 9 flags in a row in the STCL going in to 2011-12, word out of Wellington is they were "embarrassed by their performance" in last year's decider which they lost to St Aidan's by approx 120 runs. This did not sit well with the Wellington hierarchy who decided to do something about it. And do something about it they sure did, embarking on what I think is the most impressive and productive recruiting campaign I've seen in this competition in it's now 17 year history. They recruited as mentioned above quality batsmen Wayne Quarrell and Nathan Mallinson from St Anne's, the latter returning to Wellington after playng in the first 4 of their 9 consecutive premierships; also returning is former Glenorchy Football captain Shane Piuselli who, like Ben Smith at St Virgil's, is said to be very sharp, former New Town and Glenorchy player and SCA journeyman Chris Hobson has also joined the club and it was through his strong friendship with Hobson as well as a dispute with a team mate at St Aidan's that has also seen last year's Grand Final Player of the Match Josh Henri cross from St Aidan's to Wellington, which has annoyed many across the river and is sure to add spice to the Grand Final Replay in Round 7. Like this wasn't enough, they have also managed to add former Tasmanian bowler Andrew Downton to their line up which appears to be the cherry on top. With an already strong line up and having only lost Daniel Muir to injury and Nathan Kopper to City as Coach, these additions along with players of the calibre of Darren McConnon and Deon Hill returning to the club as regular players, the Warriors will have depth that will be the envy of all opposition clubs and a 2nd XI that would prove a handful for all other 1st XI sides, while beating many of them! With a ruthless hunger driven by last year's loss and a professional environment lead by disciplined Coach Brandon Muir expect Wellington to take all before them this year and be hardly threatened if at all en route to the 2012-13 Premiership!
I hope you've enjoyed my preview and best of luck to all teams this season!