New St Anthonys coach Wayne Turner is looking to continue to bring through the youth at the Gisborne and District Cricket Association club.
Turner, who has been involved in the club as a player since the 2015-16 season, decided to step up and take on the coaching role this season after the departure of former captain-coach Cam Clayton.
“I’ve been thereabouts at the club, not as an assistant coach but filling that role,” Turner said.
“The club was looking for a coach and with COVID it was difficult and they were running out of time.
“I then decided to do the coaching role.”
Turner coached outdoor cricket teams a number of years ago, before turning his attention to coaching indoor sides.
He has been coach of the Victorian Women’s indoor cricket team for a number years and played for both Victoria and Australia in indoor cricket.
He said there were some slight differences between the two.
The departure of Clayton is a big one for the club, with him 428 runs last season and taking seven wickets.
They’ve also lost Alex Kerr and Conrad Farrugia, who have gone to test themselves on turf cricket.
With those losses, the Saints requested to drop down from the top grade McIntyre Cup and play in the Johnstone Shield.
The Saints finished second bottom last season in the McIntyre Cup with just one win coming against bottom side Riddell.
Turner said they needed to keep focusing on rebuilding and bringing through the younger players.
“We just didn’t have the cattle,” Turner said of this season’s side.
“From initial thoughts, the departures aren’t as bad as we thought they would be.
“The team will be a mixture of older players and young players coming through.
“We’ve got a few juniors going to play at Melton. I will always encourage players to live the dream and play on turf to further their careers.”
Turner said they expected to be competitive in the Johnstone Shield. He said they were still looking for players and anyone interested in playing can come down to the club once training starts.
With St Anthonys dropping down a division, the McIntyre Cup will have just seven teams this season.
GDCA president Rob McIntyre said they had spoken to some teams in the Johnstone Shield about stepping up a grade, but they all felt they did not have the players to compete at that level.
It means the McIntyre Cup will have a bye this season.