Woodend striving for consistency

Woodend's Greg Matthews. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Consistency is the key for Woodend as it tries to return to the Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup finals.

Having finished fifth – a game outside the top four – Woodend was left to rue some poor performances last season.

Woodend playing coach Greg Matthews said they dropped a lot of games they should have won last season.

“There was inconsistency across the board, from within games to week to week,” he said.

“We struggled to consistently put runs on the board and bowl teams out.

“We showed we can match it with the top couple of teams, but when we played at our worst, we were right off the pace.”

Woodend is backing in the same playing group to get the job done this year.

Englishman Monte McCague, who has returned home, and Nick Smith, who has joined Sunbury, are the two major outs.

Matthews said they were confident that they could take the step back into finals.

Most of the group was part of the side that made the grand final in 2017-18.

“There’s not too many new faces,” he said. “Most people are going around again.

“We’re looking to be more consistent as individuals. This season we want to improve in that area.

“All the guys have another season under their belts, particularly the younger players. They understand the game a bit better.”

Matthews said there had been some good numbers at training throughout the pre-season.

He said they would continue to try and bring some younger players through the top side.

He said they were expecting a few more younger players to return in the next couple of weeks.

“We blooded a couple who are quite young in the firsts and seconds last season and they contributed a lot.

“They played in the seconds premiership and contributed in finals and the grand

“They showed they can play at this level.”

As well as the youngsters stepping up, Matthews said the group in their early 20s were coming into their peak and should be able to take their games to the next level.

Matthews said the focus for the side early on was to ensure they got off to a good start in the one-dayers.

He said if they could get some early points on the board, it would help set them up for the season.

Woodend starts its season with a one-dayer against Riddell.

In other first-round matches, Gisborne hosts Bacchus Marsh in a rematch of last season’s grand final, Romsey plays Diggers Rest Bulla and Sunbury United faces newly promoted St Anthonys.