North Ballarat will welcome the return of paceman Ash McCafferty, and the former junior returns with Victorian Premier League experience under his belt.
McCafferty has been plying his trade with Carlton and having joined the Roosters at under-16 level, the now 20-year-old has spent the past two seasons playing firsts and seconds in the state competition and he has returned to North Ballarat a better player and eager for success.
“North have always been close to me and I’ve always stayed good mates with everyone here, so I just felt it was a good time to come back and try and get some success here,” McCafferty said.
“I thought maybe it’s time to come back and hopefully get us into the finals this year.”
Having continued to live in Ballarat, McCafferty felt the travel commitments were too much and a return to his home club was an appealing prospect.
McCafferty also spent time playing in England, representing Southend on Sea. He said the standard of cricket he has been playing over the past two years, both in England and Melbourne, has made him a far better cricketer.
There is no room for the odd loose delivery – it will be punished. While mixing it with some of states best players both on weekends and in the nets has made him a more disciplined bowler.
“When you rock up and play against guys like James Pattinson and (Marcus) Stoinis, it’s pretty surreal sometimes, what am I doing on the same park as these blokes.
“Your bad balls, they’re definitely going to the boundary. You have to work on having more consistency and discipline. But that comes with the training too and bowling against good batsmen all the time.
“They’ve got good players all the way through, everyone can bat, no one drops catches - it’s such a good standard.”
Coach Adam Eddy expects McCafferty to be one of the quickest bowlers in the Ballarat Cricket Association first grade competition and is confident he will make a significant difference to its bowling attack.
In his most recent season for North Ballarat, 2014-15, he took 14 wickets. But his 2013-14 season was the standout – taking 27 wickets at an average of 10. And expect a spike in those numbers from a much-improved young cricketer.