WHEN a spot came up for a sharp opening bowler for East Ballarat’s marquee team, Oli Hayes seized his chance.
He played about half the season in the Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts last summer.
This season, Hayes is vying to work hard and keep his spot from the opening round.
“I just want to try and play as many (firsts) games as possible,” Hayes said.
“We’ve got a lot of young boys coming through and we’ve always had pretty strong junior teams so hopefully that will start to transfer through all grades.”
Hayes, a business student at the University of Ballarat, is also a product of the Hawks’ junior ranks and now finds himself in a rebuilding phase at the top end of the club.
Invaluable experience is mixed in the firsts line-up with new, young skipper Brad Whittaker headlining the exciting talent that is ready to make a mark on the competition.
Eighteen-year-old Hayes has his work cut out for him tomorrow.
Mt Clear needs 136 runs to win, with nine wickets in hand, on Russell Square 2.
The Hawks are bowling to a former mentor in Nathan Yates who, opening the Mounties batting, has returned to the BCA as Mounties’ coach after a two-year stint in Geelong.
“It’s a little bit tough but us young guys are going in again, like each week, confident,” Hayes said.
“Yater is definitely a very good player but hopefully we can pick up a couple of early wickets.
“... A match like this is probably good for us early on (in the season).”
Even when the Hawks oust Yates from the crease, the Mounties still have an impressive wealth of batting depth in the order.
Hayes said he looked forward to the challenge.