COLAC District’s representative cricket captain Leighton Hart has anointed Stewart Sutherland as his Melbourne Country Week successor.
The outgoing skipper said Sutherland, who was Colac’s player of the week at the annual tournament, was the ideal fit as Colac chased Division Three promotion next year.
Sutherland made 212 runs at an average of 70.67 and took four wickets during the week, batting
Colac out of holes on multiple occasions as the side made the grand final.
“Stewie was the guy who, if he decided he could do it, he’d be the one to take it on,” Hart said, reviewing the campaign yesterday.
“We had a few top-order collapses, we were three for not many some days and he came and steadied the ship and got runs at a good rate,” he said.
“They’ve got a good group of young guys now but they have to keep coming back year after
year, as long as they enjoy it up there.
“I’ve enjoyed being a part of it and it’s good being amongst it. There are talented cricketers in the association.”
Hart said his representative playing days were up, but he hoped to remain a part of Melbourne Country Week, as a selector or team manager.
He said he believed now was the ideal time to hand the leadership of the squad to younger hands.
“I’m done. I’m 35 at the end of this week, it’s time for someone else to put their hand up and have a go,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to win this one but I’ve got three children that want to do things on Saturdays. I’m finished.
“I’m just getting older and feel like it’s time for some of these younger guys. The way they’ve played their cricket, they played well and they’re in their prime.
“I’d still like to be involved at association level and go down as a manager or to help or whatever.”
Hart said all-rounder Aidan Spence and teenage paceman James Rowan stepped up against some of country Victoria’s best cricketers.
Sam Cardinal also thrived opening the batting – a task which is never easy given unfamiliar attacks on unfamiliar turf wickets.