Grampians Cricket Association A Grade Round One | Swifts/Great Western v Buangor

STEPPING DOWN: Swifts/Great Western's Marc Brilliant bowls against Buangor last season. Sam Cocks will take over as captain of the Combine. Picture: Peter Pickering.
STEPPING DOWN: Swifts/Great Western's Marc Brilliant bowls against Buangor last season. Sam Cocks will take over as captain of the Combine. Picture: Peter Pickering.

Swifts/Great Western and Buangor will play in a blockbuster first round to open the A Grade Grampians Cricket Association season on Saturday. 

The Combine and Buangor finished first and second on the ladder respectively in the 2016-17 season, losing just six matches between them for the home and away season.

Buangor went on to win the premiership with the Combine faltering in the semi finals. 

Former Swifts/Great Western captain and club secretary Marc Brilliant said despite the domination of both club’s last year this season is unknown.

“We are a little uncertain on what will happen this year,” he said.

“We had a a few guys come in and few leave. The season seems to have come around pretty quickly.

“It is a bit hard to pinpoint where everyone will sit in the competition.”

The Combine introduced all-rounders Matt Heffer from the Swan Hill region Brady Miller from St Andrews to the team to bolster the squad.

They will take the place of Jamie Bach and Jackson Dark who will be unavailable for the early part of the season.

In a year of transition for the Combine, Sam Cocks takes over as A Grade captain as a number of older players look to stand aside from the team. 

Brilliant said Cocks will be a good introduction as leader of the team. 

“He (Cocks) has been one of our most consistent players for a while,” he said.

With the uncertainty of their opposition and themselves Brilliant said the equation is easy for his team.

“We have to win as many games before Christmas so we aren’t playing catch up for finals,” he said.

“Buangor will probably still be the team to beat I think.”

Buangor president Athol Fraser shared the sentiments of Brilliant, uncertain of how Saturday’s game will go.

“They (Swifts/Great Western are always really tough,” he said.

“They are a strong and deep club and we have enormous respect for them.

“On any given day any team could come away with a win.”

Chris Jerram will return as Buangor’s captain for the 2017-18 season. 

Fraser said despite carrying the title of reigning premiers his club remain vigilant of the rest of the competition. 

“No one at the club is silly enough to think we are a shoe in,” he said.

“We don’t feel any added pressure at all though.

“Hopefully it is a fairly competitive season.”