RETURN: The Bushrangers return to the field for their first game of the season. Mark Speechley gets back into his crease before bowler Matt Burgess can inflict any damage and (below) Jason Riley’s first innings of the season ends after a pearler whacks his middle stump.
RETURN: The Bushrangers return to the field for their first game of the season. Mark Speechley gets back into his crease before bowler Matt Burgess can inflict any damage and (below) Jason Riley’s first innings of the season ends after a pearler whacks his middle stump. Alistair Brightman

Bay Bushrangers back on the field

THERE was absolutely no way Jason Riley could stand back and watch his cricket team fold.

A staunch Bay Bushrangers man, Saturday's season-opener marked the 13th year Riley has padded up for the club.

Six months ago it looked as if the Bushrangers club was dead.

After merging with Bombers to create the Bombers Bushrangers last season, a lack of volunteers meant the joint venture could not form a committee.

No committee means no club, and after nobody attended an emergency meeting the Bombers Bushrangers were no more.

Former Bombers Bushrangers players now had no home, but Riley was one of several players who did not want to play for anyone else.

"I never wanted to see it die," Riley said.

"We couldn't form a committee with Bombers. There was a bit of talk that (players) would go elsewhere."

The word got out, and the amount of interest within the "first few days" was enough to ensure the Bushrangers lived.

"As soon as word got out the majority got back to us in about a day or so," he said.

"Most of us are mates and enjoy playing together. It seemed a shame to let it go."

They moved away from the Bombers ground on Raward Rd and will field two teams out of HBCA's Walkers Rd base.

"We're still slightly light on for players. We've got too many for one team but not quite enough for two," Riley said.

"We'll just scrape the two teams and hope we get a few more blokes.

"You need 11 out there to compete against the quality sides."

What makes Bushrangers' task more difficult is the lack of juniors.

Where in the past the club has had at least one junior club, the seniors will go it alone in 2015/16.

"Retaining kids is pretty tough as they've got a lot more stuff to do," he said.

More cricket on page 26.



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