Victoria captains can't wait to start the new season

Victoria captains can't wait to start the new season

The pavilion in Lurgan Park, home to Victoria CC.

Staff reporter

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The local cricket season began on Saturday past, but unfortunately a number of games fell victim to the weather, including Lurgan side Victoria’s opening fixture.

Victoria will be fielding three senior teams this year – the first time that has happened since 2016.

The 1st XI will start with the group stage of the LVS T20 Bowl, before embarking on the Robinsons Services League season.

Matthew Parks is in his second stint as 1st XI captain. Speaking to Your Lurgan, he said the team was looking forward to getting started.

“We were lucky that we were able to play some cricket last season, but we did miss the opportunity to play the longer format,” said Matthew.

“We allowed some of our younger players to get some more experience and responsibility in the 2nd XI, and their performances then, as well in pre-season, will see a lot of them given an opportunity in the first team.

“Without singling anyone out, there are a few who are ready to challenge the more established players, who will hopefully step up their game in response.”

When asked about the team’s aims for the season, he responded, “We want to bring an energy and enthusiasm to everything we do this year, starting at practice and replicating it on a Saturday.

“Consistency will be the key for us - If we’re able to get our best team on the pitch week-in, week-out and get runs on the board, we’re a match for anyone.”

The 2nd XI finished as runners-up in their localised group last year. Long-standing 2nd XI captain, Ben Johnston, had this to say: “I am looking forward to getting the season started this Friday evening against CSNI, and having a full season.”

Asked about his expectations for the season, Ben responded, “If we can get a settled team out each week, start the season off strongly and get on a run, we can push for promotion, although it will be a tough ask, as it is a strong league.

“The main thing will be improving players and giving them an opportunity so that they can give the 1st team skipper a few more selection headaches.”

Finally, when questioned on the upcoming Cup game, Ben said, “I hope we can build on the team spirit we had last season and go on a cup run, but we have a potential banana skin against our own 3rd team to overcome first.”

Peter Martin will captain the returning 3rd XI. He said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“I am looking forward to getting our season underway and showing that Victoria 3s are not just there to make up the numbers,” he said.

On the balance of the side, he explained,  “We will look to field sides containing a mixture of experience, youth and those taking up cricket for the first time giving all valuable game time, that will hopefully showcase what they can do and lead to selection higher up the club.”

The fixture list has thrown up an interesting start to the season. “We have a big opening match against our own 2nd XI in the Cup and I’m sure that the lads that miss out on selection into Ben’s team will be keen to show the skipper what they can do.”

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