Fall from grace

By MITCHELL DALE

THUD!

That was the sound reverberating around Fitzroy Oval on Saturday, as defending first grade cricket premiers Nana Glen came crashing to earth quicker than a sky diver with a busted parachute.

After the euphoria of a fairytale premiership in their first grade debut last season, Nana Glen got caught on the steep slippery dip to the bottom this summer.

When they lost their final match of the season against Coffs Hotel Tigers on Saturday, not only had Nana Glen missed the finals, they had finished equal last.

Joint-wooden spooners in a competition they dominated 12 months earlier.

Captain Andrew Mainey has no doubt his side can return to the summit next season, but says they will need to reassess their approach to the game.

He says the side's willow-wielding top order will need to curb their dashing ways, at least until they are set at the crease.

"Our biggest downfall was that we lacked discipline with the bat, we need to get a start and then go on with it instead of going out all guns blazing from the first ball," he said.

"That approach worked last year, but teams have changed their game plan against us.

"If we are a good first grade side, and I still believe we are, we can adjust our approach.

"We need to hang around and use the overs up, if you stay out there it doesn't matter if you're belting the crap out of the ball or not, you will still score runs.

"Nana Glen are renowned for guys turning up, swinging the bat and having a bit of fun, but that is no good if we don't win games."

Nana Glen's batting troubles this season were intriguing, given that aspect of their game was so strong last summer.

"In 75-over matches, you are not going to win games with 150 runs," Mainey said.

"I think we only scored more than 200 runs twice this season, last year we would be disappointed if we scored 200.

"Our bowling and fielding was good this year, but you must have the runs on the board."

Mainey admitted his side's commitment to training was not as good as last season.

But that will change next summer.

"We will start training nice and early, a good couple of months before the season starts," Mainey says.

"There could also be a few changes to the side, there are some young guys from seconds who deserve a go."

The Nana Glen skipper, who this season took over the reins of the Coffs Harbour representative side following Craig Haworth's retirement, realises it is inevitable some people will see last season's premiership as a fluke.

"Last year was definitely no fluke... we won by out playing the rest of the competition," he said defiantly.

"(A fluke) is the way people might look at it and so be it.

"If they do, it could benefit us because they might take us easily next season."

However, opponents are unlikely to take Nana Glen lightly while the side possesses players such as Mainey, Trent Jones, Matt Andrews and Damien Elks, who all starred in the representative arena this season.

The only positive for the once-mighty Nana Glen is that they can't go any further than rock-bottom.

n It has been confirmed that Sawtell finished second on the first grade ladder, edging out Bellingen on quotient. In this weekend's semi-finals, Coffs Hotel Tigers will play Sawtell in the grand final qualifier at Brelsford Park, while Bellingen will play Diggers Ex-Services at Fitzroy Oval.



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