Robertson takes the reins for Rockingham-Mandurah ahead of new Premier Cricket season
Opening batsman Tyler Robertson will skipper Rockingham-Mandurah in the coming Premier Cricket season after replacing veteran Craig Simmons.
The left-hander enjoyed his best first-grade season to date in 2018-19, scoring 498 runs at 27.7 with three 50s and a top score of 60, and assumes the captaincy as the Mariners aim to go one better in 2019-20.
After finishing last season on top of the Premier Cricket ladder, the Mariners were comprehensively beaten in March’s grand final by reigning champs Claremont-Nedlands —and Robertson knows his side will be the hunted rather than the hunter this season.
But he’s confident his young side can continue their improvement which took them from second bottom in 2016-17 to top of the pile and a grand final berth.
Robertson also has no worries about his own game suffering despite taking on the extra responsibility.
“I have some experience in the past but Craig, Leon Coombs and Aaron Burrage all have captaincy experience so there’s plenty of guys to lean on if I ever need encouragement or tactical advice,” he said. “I’ll try not to worry about (being captain) and just focus on my game and then when decisions need to be made, make them to the best of my ability.
“Every team this year is going to be out to try and beat us so it’s going to be another tough season. Every season is tricky but we’ll back our ability and hope at the end of the season we’re up there and playing good cricket again.”
Mariners coach Kris Kennedy said he hoped the new skipper would use Simmons as a mentor, and also echoed Robertson’s sentiments about the club’s expectations for the coming season after focusing throughout the off-season on the continued development of homegrown talent.
The Mariners have lost 2017-18 Olly Cooley medallist Dane Ugle, who has decided to play suburban cricket at Murdoch after his opportunities with the WACA ended, and popular English keeper-batsman James Bracey returned home.
Kennedy said the club was working to bring in one of veteran Gloucestershire batsman Ian Cockbain or 20-year-old keeper-batsman Harry Swindells from Leicestershire as their new import.
“We’re still in talks but should have that sewn up within a fortnight,” Kennedy said. “Swindells played England under-19s last year. He’s still up and coming but has played 12 T20s and four first-class games, whereas Cockbain is on the other end of the spectrum. He’s 32 and an experienced middle order batsman.
“We look to bring over batsmen as our professionals because runs on the board help you win games. We’ve also got quite an inexperienced top order so to get someone of their calibre is important.”
Kennedy also has big hopes paceman Adam France will have an improved season after struggling at times on the spin-friendly Lark Hill deck last season.
“We’re expecting big things from him with the different conditions at Lark Hill this season,” he said.
“We got the pitch relaid before the start of last season so it was fairly spin-friendly,but it will be more conducive to pace bowling this season.”
The Mariners start the season on Saturday with a tough trip to Fremantle, who boast a squad including WA captain Ashton Turner, WA keeper Sam Whiteman and Test players Shaun and Mitchell Marsh and Jye Richardson.
Robertson and Kennedy said playing the ball rather than the name would be key to winning, with Robertson adding he relished challenging himself against the best players in the competition.
“If they come up against an Australian player it’s a big challenge but I guess getting it at the start of the season can give the boys some confidence for the rest of the season as that’s as hard as it’s going to get,” Kennedy said.
“You try and forget about the names and just play your best,” Robertson said.
The Mariners face Fremantle at Stevens Reserve on Saturday, October 5 from 10.30am.
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