Article by Luke D’Anello
Originally published in the Maribyrnong Leader
May 22, 2017
SECURING a strike bowler will be a top of Seddon’s list of priorities during the off-season as the club prepares for the step up to Turf Cricket Senior Division.
The Dockers powered to a 241-run triumph over Sunshine United in last summer’s North West Division decider to earn promotion to the top grade and have appointed Ben Speake as coach.
Speake made headlines in March when he thumped a club record score of 216 to set up his side’s grand final victory.
The 26-year-old replaces wicketkeeper Mark Webb, who has opted to remain at the club as an assistant coach due to work commitments, while John Taylor will continue as First XI captain.
Speake has coaching experience in New Zealand and England and said he was “pretty excited” to take on the role.
“I’m from New Zealand originally and did a little bit of coaching with my club in Hamilton,” he said.
“I’ve been over in England a couple of times and worked with juniors — not as head coach or anything, but just being involved.”
Malith Cooray, who was not a member of the premiership-winning team, is the Dockers’ only confirmed departure.
“A strike bowler of some sort, ideally a pace bowler, would be good,” Speake said.
“But we’ve got a good blend of some young players and some experience.
“It will be a challenge, but I definitely think we can compete in Senior Division.”
Speake has Senior Division experience following his stint with Doutta Stars before he arrived at Seddon at the start of last season.
The opening batsman finished 2016-17 with 641 runs and was remarkably still at the crease on day three of the grand final.
Speake logged two tons and two half-centuries during the campaign and also took 11 wickets.
“Anytime you can contribute in a grand final, it’s good,” he said.
“I was happy to contribute and just happy to win more than anything.
“There were patches through the season where we didn’t play our best, but coming towards the end of the season we started playing some good stuff. Hopefully we can build on that and take some confidence forward.”