GUYRA cricket is continuing its emergence from the darkness of a few years ago and taking a brave step into the Armidale first grade.
The club has decided to have a go at the top grade this year after getting a taste of it last summer when it competed in the first grade one-day competition.
This year there is no two-day cricket in Armidale so Guyra chose to test itself at the higher level for the full season, bringing the number of teams in first grade up to six for the first time since Centrals tried to make the move up a few years ago.
Around that same time there was no cricket in Guyra at all after the town’s local club competition died a slow death.
Now it has two senior teams, one in first grade and one in thirds.
Mitch Woods will captain the first grade team and will have a few other experienced players to call on.
Jason Rolff and Tom Skipper won’t be playing every week but will be handy additions when they do, while regular first grader Charles Rao has joined Guyra from Ex-Services.
Otherwise the club is full of youngsters, and playing first grade every week will be an eye-opener for a lot of them.
Among them is Shane Wolfenden and Corby Kliendienst, who came through the juniors and have been playing with the senior club in recent years.
Kliendienst has even taken on some of the curating responsibilities this season and has been tending to the wicket at the sportsground for the past few weeks.
He said it would be a green top, as usual.
But that’s okay because Guyra looks like it will have some strength in the bowling stakes.
A few more batsmen would be handy.
Another boost for the club is a new set of cricket nets at the sportsground and some heightened interest at junior level.
Guyra will have four junior teams in the Armidale competition this year, up from three last year, with under 9s, 10s, 12s and 16s entered.
Milo in2Cricket also starts with a registration day tomorrow from 10am at the Guyra Central School oval so the next generation is on the way up.
Guyra’s first game this Saturday is against Ex-Services at home, while the third grade side faces Hillgrove Colts at Elizabeth Park in Armidale.
In the other first grade games, Hillgrove and City meet at the Armidale Sportsground and Easts tackle TAS at Lambert Park.
Of course, that’s if the rain doesn’t wash it all out.