Barker to coach Lancefield again

Luke Barker will again coach Lancefield. Picture Shawn Smits.

Two-time premiership winning coach Luke Barker will again take on the coaching reins at Lancefield Cricket Club.

Barker had signaled his intentions to step down as coach after three seasons, after taking the club to a Gisborne and District Cricket Association B-grade premiership earlier this year.

The Tigers advertised for a coach, but soon turned their attention to convincing Barker to stay on for another season.

“The club struggled to find someone with a lot of people not willing to come out to Lancefield,” Barker said.

“A few things led to another and they came back to me. Because the side was going into McIntyre Cup, I spoke with my wife and things fell into place.

“It’s a really good challenge moving into the top grade.”

Barker said it was unlikely he would continue on as captain. He said they would look to give someone else a go with an eye on planning for the future.

With Barker signing on as coach, he’s also decided to fully commit to playing this season. He had originally planned to play seven to eight games.

Barker averaged 58 with the bat last season.

With the coaching side of things settled, Barker and the Tigers are looking forward to the challenge of playing the McIntyre Cup for the first time.

Only three players, including Barker, from last season’s premiership team having played in the McIntyre Cup before.

“We’re probably not going to challenge the top sides, but if we can finish mid field that would be a massive effort from where the club has come from.

“It’s a big step up for us.”

Barker is hoping to add a couple more players with McIntyre Cup experience to the side in the next couple of months. He said adding more depth was necessary if they were to be competitive.

Mathew Loughnane, a Kevin Sullivan Medalist with Woodend, has committed to playing more games this season after playing three games for the Tigers last season.

The Tigers have also picked up Daniel Toman.