Smack bang on the Midland Highway, on your way to Geelong, is Elaine and while it may be one of those towns that if you blink, you miss it, it has much more than towns four times its size – community spirit and the mainstay of this hamlet is the sports ground.
You only have to drive into the recreation reserve to see the hard work that has gone into revitalising this area.
The latest focus is senior cricket. The club hasn’t had a senior side in the Ballarat Cricket Association (BCA) competition for 3 years with only U17, U15 and U13 teams.
But now this hiatus is over with the announcement of Brant Hocking as Senior Captain Coach for the upcoming cricket season.
Brant has had vast experience both playing and coaching and has recently been the senior coach of Hanging Rock Cricket Club in the GDCA.
Brant also has BCA experience with the Ballan Cricket Club and is very much looking forward to the challenge.
“At this stage I think we will be in Grade 4, the lowest two-day grade that the BCA will have,” Brant said.
Brant’s plan for this first year is to acclimatise the juniors to playing two-day cricket as well as playing against men.
“So probably in terms of where we finish, there is not too much expectation in the first year – we want to have fun this year,” he replied to the question of when a flag might come to the club.
“Maybe we can enter into a three year plan to get a flag.”
He likens the task at Elaine with that of his last club.
“I grew up playing cricket at Hanging Rock and I went back three years ago to give them a helping hand because they were in a similar position to Elaine, where they have a club that has no town and they had problems recruiting players,” Brant said.
“So I took 3 or 4 mates up there and got the seniors back up and running.”
His plan at Elaine is to bring the juniors through and recruit new players.
“At this stage we have 6 or 7 Under 17s, who will play Under 17s and then seniors, we’ve myself and a couple of my mates who will come across, as well,” Brant explained.
“I think there are two dads who want to play senior cricket, as well, – so it will be a bit of a mixture but we will do recruiting while making sure that the under 17s want to stay here and play here.
That’s probably the most important part.”
Committee member Shane Dunne backs Brant’s philosophy of ‘if you don’t enjoy it, why play?’
Shane has been instrumental in having major upgrades completed at the Rec Reserve and this includes the club rooms.
“We call it the Long Room. We still have a bit of work to do on it but it has a bar, contains memorabilia, and somewhere to sit and have tea,” Shane said.
“The Shire will top-dress the oval, which currently looks magnificent. We are working on a third cricket net, as well, we have a top of the range bowling machine and a great social side to the club.
“We also have Milo cricket.”
Recruitment for the senior side is open to anyone.
“Ideally we would want a bit of a mixture of juniors and also a base of senior players,” Brant added.
Brant will shortly announce a Sunday training/catch up session for later August. Any players new or old wanting to play senior cricket please contact Brant on 0401 522 645.