Ballarat-Redan captain Allister Edmends returns after injury

BALLARAT-Redan captain Allister Edmends has been waiting – a little impatiently – to get back on the field and lead his team.

The opening batsman steps back out in the whites tomorrow after three weeks sidelined with a broken hand.

A nasty knock on the hand at the crease in the final round’s play against Wendouree before Christmas had Edmends nursing the injury over the festive period.

All-rounder Chris Egan was promoted as skipper through the Combine’s one-day series – a tough run that featured rematches against Wendouree and undefeated top team Mt Clear.

The Combine’s final three fixtures – East Ballarat, Coronet City and Golden Point – are all realistically winnable, should Edmends’ team band together well.

This season very much marks a development phase for the Combine, which has lost two EJ Cleary medallists in Matt Hoey (Apollo Bay for work) and Simon Allan (Geelong club Lara).

But there has been lots of promise in Edmends’ first full season as captain. “It is definitely (a development season). We have played a lot of young guys ... and we need some more from our experienced guys,” Edmends said.

“We would’ve maybe liked a couple more wins but we’ve done as well as we could have probably hoped this season, won the games we should have won, and we played good cricket before Christmas before we hit a tough draw with two matches against both Mt Clear and Wendouree.”

Edmends said his team was keen to finish the season with three wins and improve its ladder status.

This round’s rival East Ballarat should serve up a strong challenge.

The Combine’s primary focus remains on blooding its youth, which has allowed young guns a chance to shine, like Nathan Patrikeos (18 wickets in eight matches and best bowling of 6-21), Jayden Hayes (55 runs against Wendouree last round) and Toby Hutt (a handy bowler with a best haul of 4-39 in the firsts).

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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