Norths Captain Mick Ryan and long-term campaigner Rick Rochford are eager to make their division return this weekend.
Norths Captain Mick Ryan and long-term campaigner Rick Rochford are eager to make their division return this weekend. Max Fleet

Club draws on experience in return

AFTER seven years in the division two doldrums Norths will make a return to the top tier of Bundaberg Cricket Association competition this weekend.

Captain Mick Ryan said after a steady rebuilding phase the club was now ready to move forward and take its place in the division one competition.

“It’s taken a while, but I think we’re back to where we need to be to be competitive,” he said.

“We’re not expecting it to be easy, in fact we’re expecting a pretty hard time, but the guys are ready for it and they’re going to play the best cricket they know how to.”

The former Bundaberg Cricket Association heavy weights suffered a dizzying fall from grace in 2003 after an exodus of players placed them on the receiving end of some one-sided score lines.

“We had some of the older guys retire and some of our promising youngsters followed their cricket ambitions down to Brisbane and we never really recovered from it,” he said.

“We couldn’t compete with the likes of Across The Waves and Brothers and we had to make the call.”

Ryan said an influx of players to the club last year had helped officials make the decision and hoped the club would recruit more talent now that a decision one team had been re-established.

“It can be a bit of vicious cycle because it’s hard to attract and retain players if you don’t have a division one team,” he said.

“Hopefully now we can attract more promising juniors and who knows we might even see a few old faces come on board.”

Ryan said the re-emergence of Norths had created plenty of excitement around Bundaberg and would come as a significant boost to the Bundaberg cricket competition.

“It’s going to help strengthen the competition and I think it will help create a more competitive and varied game for everyone,” Ryan said.

“The guys are keen to get out there and see what they can achieve.”

Ryan said the transition back to the division one competition would be a long-term commitment taken by players and committee members.

“I think we’re in for a pretty long haul, but we’re committed and we’ll look to build over this season and over coming seasons.”

The club hopes to give promising young juniors a chance to spread their wings in the division one competition.

“There’s a good mix of young and old in the team and we’ve tried to put a real emphasis on fostering junior talent,” Ryan said.

Norths will make their debut in division one game against Brothers at Salter Oval 11.30am today.



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