Welcome back to another edition of Whit’s Wisdom. I hope that you enjoyed the festive season with your friends and families, and have been enjoying the Ashes series in what has been another great performance by the Aussie boys.

The on-field performances of the Randy Petes and the Club Championship

I’ve been very pleased with where First, Third and Fourth Grade are sitting, as well as Second Grade who are building nicely now. I’ve been a bit disappointed with a couple of the other sides, I’d obviously love to see every side in semi final contention. I think I said in the first Whit’s Wisdom, right now is a very crucial time of the season. People will go away on holidays, teams will be left short, players will be up and down. We really need to remember that we are in very good positions in those grades, and try and maintain that throughout this difficult part of the season.

A great start from Green Shield along with those other grades has got us sitting in 6th spot in the ever-important Club Championship, which is a lot better than we were sitting this time last season. It is imperative that we now keep this momentum going and go into that final part of the season.

The last two years we have finished 11th in the Club Championship, and to me as the President that is very disappointing. We are a much better club than that, and we should be aiming to be in the top four spots every year. That’s where I see us and that’s where I feel that we should always be with the infrastructure that we have and the supporters we have. The players we have in the club as well as the sponsors and finances all mean that we should be having plenty of success ON the field. We are continuing to work on our training facilities down at Snape Park with the local council to keep our performances where they should be.

The Club Championship is reflective of not just our club but of every Grade club. We need to be in at least the top six every year, if not the top four, and right now we are in a good position to do that. I’m very happy where we are, and we just need to keep pushing.

On Matt Everett’s recent form and potential for a First Grade spot

Trying to push his way into the First Grade side is going to be a very tough gig for Matty obviously, because Samsy (Anthony Sams) is the captain of that side and is also the keeper as well as an opening batsman. What Matty has to keep doing is pushing and pushing, and if he pushes hard enough, and continues to score as many runs as he has been, he may be picked in the side as a batsman.

Right now, I can’t see him replacing Samsy as our keeper, unless of course he gets picked for higher honours. The way Matty has been going though has been wonderful, and it’s great to see someone in Second Grade perform so well and push for a spot in our top side. It’s fantastic for the club to have competitiveness in our own ranks as well as on the field.

I’m not a selector, but I have always said that weight of runs and weight of wickets allows you and entitles you to move up the grades. If he keeps this current form for a little while longer, and someone in First Grade falters with the bat, he could be a big chance of getting picked for his batting alone.

On Daniel Sams and his recent selections for First Class and BBL games

Both Daniel and his brother Anthony are both very professional in the way they go about their cricket whether it be for Randwick or elsewhere. They train very hard and they take it very seriously. I think Anthony could play some NSW cricket as a keeper-batsman, he’s definitely good enough and has been for a couple of years.

Daniel is someone I love watching because he is a left-arm paceman like I was when I played – though he bats a lot better than I ever did! I’ve seen him continue to grow, step by step, every year that he’s been at the club and he would not be out of his depth playing First Class cricket for NSW. He performed well over in New Zealand at that level for the couple of weeks he had there. That was a fantastic thing for him, just to get a taste of that level of cricket, and I think this will just add to any talks that the NSW selectors have of bringing him into the fold there.

Daniel is just a wonderful all-round cricketer, a very good left-arm bowler and a very handy batsman. He’s very athletic in the field, and that’s the sort of players NSW are after and I don’t think he is too far off. If you put in enough good performances, they have no choice but to pick you in the end.

The few games he has played in the Big Bash for the Sixers have been good for him, as it gets him in that professional environment as well as opening up the public’s eyes to what a talented player he is. His debut game as outstanding, and hopefully he can transfer his form in the shorter forms of the game into a First Class debut for NSW.

On the successful Ashes series for Australia

The big differences in this Ashes series have been:

  • First Test – Steve Smith’s innings, where he batted for such a long time
  • Second Test – Shaun Marsh’s innings, where he batted for such a long time
  • Third Test – Steve Smith’s innings, where he batted for SUCH A LONG TIME

To see Smith double what he did in Brisbane was simply outstanding, and to see Mitchell Marsh open his shoulders and show the type of innings a lot of people know he has always had in him was great to watch.

The biggest difference is that ability of the Australian batsmen, in particular our great captain, to bat for long periods of times and make big, match-changing scores. Those types of innings are just pure cricket the way it used to be. Now we see a lot of Twenty20 games, not much focus on the One Dayers, and they say Tests are fading away. Well, to watch Steve Smith bat in those two games, as well as in Melbourne, and execute the way he has, it is Bradman-esque type of cricket. Batting for long times, working the fields over and manipulating each bowler the way he wants to, it has been wonderful to watch and we deserve to be 3-0 up in this series because we have been the far better side on the back of Smith and company.

On the Ashes form of Dave Warner and Usman Khawaja

Davey has looked good all series but was unlucky a few times where he was looking good and then got himself out. We saw what he can do in the Boxing Day Test, a couple of great knocks there. The commentators have mentioned that we have seen more of a subdued Dave Warner this series at times, which means that he is continuing to mature as a player.

We have seen glimpses of Usman’s ability this series and the player that we all know he is capable of being; his timing, his elegance, his relaxed nature always on display. He’s obviously not had that big score, but like Dave he has got a few good ones and got himself out when he was looking okay. I’m thinking a big score is not far away for him.

Some advice for Randy Petes players

For the sides that haven’t been performing so far, it’s time to get together as a team and reassess what has been going wrong in the first half of the season. You need to work out why you have lost games you think you could have won and how you can improve for next time. Sit down, and make sure that in this next period of the season we are ready to rock and roll and try string some wins together.

To the sides that are playing really well, now just need to continue that form and improve that form and if we can do that we will end up with at least three and hopefully four sides in the finals and push ourselves even further up those Club Championships. That should be our ultimate focus and end goal is to finish as high as possible in all grades and the overall Championship.

Always try to play as best you can, and TRAIN as best you can. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year period, but just remember the season is only half over and we have a very long way to go.

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