Toronto Workers cricketers have had a run of outs this season, but one upside is the fast-tracking of young players into hardened first graders

ARMY CALL: Toronto Workers and Newcastle representative fast bowler Andrew Somerville loads up to deliver at Ron Hill Oval. Picture: David Stewart
ARMY CALL: Toronto Workers and Newcastle representative fast bowler Andrew Somerville loads up to deliver at Ron Hill Oval. Picture: David Stewart

IF it wasn't for bad luck, Toronto Workers cricket team would have had no luck at all this season.

It started before a ball was bowled in the Newcastle District Cricket Association season of 2019-2020.

Toronto Workers fronted up minus seven of the players that had helped them win the premiership last season.

Then captain and experienced representative all-rounder Adrian Chad pulled out after a few games due to personal reasons.

Opener Corey Brown was elevated to the captaincy of a team that would rely heavily on the contributions of its few experienced players.

They included English import Michael Pepper, a stylish opening batsman and wicket-keeper, and representative paceman Andrew Somerville who returned to the Kookaburras after a stint with Manly in the Sydney grade competition.

The Englishman's stay, however, would be short, Brown said.

In the match against Charlestown, in Round 7, Pepper gloved a quick delivery from Somerville which struck and injured a finger.

Michael thought he was OK, but he had some tests which revealed he'd torn ligaments and broken the finger.

- Corey Brown

"Michael thought he was OK, but he had some tests which revealed he'd torn ligaments and broken the finger," Brown said.

His home club in Essex had him return to the UK to continue his rehabilitation.

"It was very disappointing to lose him," Brown said.

But it doesn't end there.

Somerville has also played his last game for the Kookaburras this season.

"Andy is leaving to join the army," Brown said.

"And he has been superb for us this season."

After Round 9, the Kookaburras sit at the bottom of the competition ladder, with just one win and a couple of draws.

Brown thought his team was well placed to push for wins against Waratah-Mayfield in the two-day fixture which concluded on Saturday, and the Summer Bash Twenty20 match against Wallsend on Sunday.

But rain intervened in both fixtures when Toronto was well placed.

"It was a very frustrating weekend of cricket," Brown said.

Toronto will travel to take on University in a two-day fixture starting on Saturday.

Brown conceded that the turnover of first grade players at Ron Hill Oval this season had meant some young players had received a call-up earlier than would normally be expected.

The upside of that, he said, was that players were being fast-tracked to becoming hardened first-graders.

"I think if you look ahead to two years from now, you'll see a few of these guys really excelling," Brown said.

"For now, we're still in really good spirits and supporting each other. We'll keep rolling on. And we'll be OK."

Adrian Chad, meanwhile, has been named to captain a Lake Mac Attack team including Brown and Toronto teammate Josh Westwood to contest the Regional T20 Bash semi-final at the SCG on Sunday.

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