Ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2016/17 Sydney Grade Cricket competition, the Penrith Cricket Club have announced their captains for the upcoming season.
Last Saturday night the club held their annual Season Launch where they revealed Ryan Smith as club captain and Matthew Halse as first grade captain for the 2016/17 season.
Penrith Cricket Club President Paul Goldsmith said the pair were excellent leaders both on and off the field.
“Ryan Smith is a long time first grader and he’s probably our hardest trainer. He’s extremely fit and a great role model for our young players,” he told the Weekender.
“Matthew Halse will continue to be first grade captain this season, however he’s unavailable for the first three rounds because he is travelling.
“In his absence, Tim Cummins will be the first grade captain in the interim.”
Also returning to the club this season is head coach Steve Small, who will once again look after Penrith’s first grade side.
Small, who is highly respected at the club, was set to depart Howell Oval in the off-season but has been retained for one more year.
“Steve’s plan was to do the three years on the basis that if you hear the same voice over and over it gets a bit tiring,” Goldsmith said.
“We had hoped to get another person to step into his shoes but that wasn’t to be this year, so we spoke to Steve over the last few months and he’s agreed to join us again this year.
“We’re really excited to have him back particularly with a couple of new faces that have joined us.”
Giving Penrith’s first grade team a huge boost in the opening rounds of the season is former Test cricketer and local junior Pat Cummins.
The 23-year-old fast bowler was named in Penrith’s side for their Round 1 clash against Parramatta this weekend at Howell Oval.
“We’re rapt because we rarely get to see Pat given his international and state commitments,” Goldsmith said.
“Cricket NSW made the commitment to all grades that, for the first couple of rounds, they’ll make all their state players available ahead of the start of the Matador Cup.
“I saw Pat a few weeks ago and he’s fit and firing, so hopefully we see a couple of quick spells from him.”
Penrith will take on Parramatta in a One Day Match this Saturday morning at Howell Oval.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.