By Melanie Whelan
SHANE Harwood will play on for Brown Hill in the Ballarat Cricket Association next summer.
The former Australian fast bowler will captain Brown Hill Bulls first eleven.
Brown Hill president Phil Knowles said Harwood had signed as skipper - definitely for one season, hopefully to extend to two.
"It's all governed by him and his body and fitness, especially being a bowler," Knowles said.
"He bring a lot of attributes to the club off the field too, other than just his game.
"...Anybody who has achieved what Shane has achieved at international level, to come back to their local cricket club as he did, has just been invaluable."
Harwood, aged 40, relieves Jason Knowles of the Bulls' captaincy, a role Knowles has held the past two seasons.
The 1996-97 EJ Cleary Medallist made his return to the BCA last summer, capturing 46 wickets- including nine wickets in the finals series.
His best haul was 7-20 and featured a double hat-trick on a day he obliterated Napoleons-Sebastopol.
Importantly, Harwood did what he always intended - helped lead the Bulls to a grand final.
Harwood will join forces with new head coaching Dan Davies to prepare the Bulls next season.
Davies, back in action from a season's hiatus, moves from Napoleons-Sebastopol, a club he helped take to two consecutive club firsts finals and where he won the 2011-12 EJ Cleary Medal as competition's best and fairest.
The experienced all-rounder will particularly bolster the Bulls' batting stock.
Phil Knowles said Harwood and Davies' leadership would allow players, like Jason Knowles, a chance to focus on developing their own games.
For Ballarat cricket, Knowles said Harwood was a fantastic drawcard with club cricketers from across the state trekking to Eastern Oval to watch Harwood play in various stages of the grand final against Mount Clear.
Harwood played his junior cricket with Napoleons and launched his cricket career from Brown Hill.
He made his first-class debut for Victoria in the 2002-03 season, and played 44 Sheffield Shield matches for the Bushrangers.
Nicknamed "Stickers", Harwood also played four matches for Australia, including three Twenty20s and a one-day clash against South Africa, and also played for Melbourne Renegades in the inaugural Big Bash League season.