September 06th, 2018
As another Hills winter comes to pass it’s just about time to hang up those muddy footy boots and bleach out the left over grass stains from your whites as the cricket season begins.

The Mount Barker Cricket Club is preparing its return to the A-grade this year after not having fielded a team in the top tier of the Alexandra and Eastern Hills Cricket Association since the 2011/2012 season.

Alexandra and Eastern Hills Cricket Association president Joe Hill has applauded both Mount Barker and Bremer/Callington for moving up into the A-grade.

“It’s fantastic to see both clubs so committed to developing their youngsters over the past few years,” Joe said.

“They’ve invested a lot of time and effort and now it’s beginning to pay dividends.

“It’s healthy for our association to have as many clubs as possible striving to compete at A Grade level so we congratulate Mount Barker and Bremer/Callington for taking the step up.”

In the six years since their last winless A-grade season, Mount Barker has been rebuilding and are ready to get back out on the pitch against some of the Hills’ best players.

Mount Barker Cricket Club president Jason Webb has high hopes for the club’s future.

“I think the A’s will do fairly well this year,” he said.

“Lots of the young guys who played in the last A’s team are now at a good level so I think they’ll be competitive.

“Of course they’re going to have some hard and tough games but the best way to learn is to play against the top teams.

“The important thing is that they keep their head up and don’t walk away from a loss deterred and upset.”

Jason has been working hard behind the scenes to foster a community focus at the club.

After moving back to Mount Barker with his family Jason set out to find a club where his children could play and ended up becoming increasingly involved with the club’s operations.

“We’ve got things like barbecues running each week after games,” he said.

“The lads are staying back to hang out, have a drink and a laugh, as well as taking things like afternoon tea into their own hands.

“We had some generous donations to help upgrade the clubrooms with fridges and a new TV and there seems to be more pride in the club overall.”

The Mount Barker Cricket Club was established in 1886 and has a long heritage that Jason is trying to bring back into the spotlight.

“There’s 130 years of cricket at this club,” he said.

“I’m still trying to chase down memorabilia for display around the club and to promote the history of community involvement here in Mount Barker.”

There is nothing more important for Jason than the next generation of players who will carry the Mount Barker Cricket Club into the future.

“The key thing is the juniors,” he said.

“We love watching them progress and they bring with them a real family atmosphere every weekend.”

Mount Barker develops its future players by promoting juniors into the ranks of the seniors which is something former president Alexander Lee experienced first hand when he was younger.

“Me and my mates were cricket obsessed,” he said.

“We had mum driving us all around the countryside for games.

“I would play with the under 16s first thing in the morning and then juniors then play with the men in the afternoon.”

Alexander’s interest for cricket waned when work and study loomed as high priorities. Now that he has returned to the pitch, Alexander has found himself mentoring the next generation of enthusiastic cricketers.

“We’re still having to fight this thing where kids finish school and want to go off and party in the afternoon instead of playing cricket,” he said.

“But the club and the association continues to grow.

“There are a few kids who left the club and are now coming back.

“We’re getting more people out there volunteering their time and effort to keep people interested and keep the club alive.

“There’s been a good turnout to pre-season training which shows good commitment as well.”

The Mount Barker Cricket Club is holding a registration day with a free barbecue on Sunday, September 16 from 12-2pm.

For more information call Jason on 0448 503 331.

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