Numurkah Cricket Club has been busy in the Haisman Shield off-season.
After recruiting Cobram legend Shaun Downie and Waaia rising star Josh Smith, the Blues recently announced another coup.
Dylan Grandell will return to his junior club after spending four of the past five seasons plying his trade elsewhere.
The top-order batsman last played for the Blues during the 2014-15 Haisman Shield season, hitting 374 runs in 14 matches.
Grandell then played for Premier Cricket club Northcote before spending last season with Kew in the Victorian Sub Districts Cricket Association.
Numurkah captain Liam Gledhill won a Murray Premier Division flag alongside Grandell with Waaia in 2011-12, with his younger brother Daniel also a teammate of Grandell’s at Kew last year.
“He played sub district cricket with my little brother at Kew last season and came a long way with his cricket, so we’re expecting big things from Dyl at the top of the order this coming season,” Gledhill told the Numurkah Leader.
With all-rounder Gledhill playing largely a lone hand with the bat for the Blues during the past few seasons, the new signings will bolster the side’s ability to regularly post big totals.
“Having some of these guys improves our batting massively,” he said.
“It means that all the guys in our top six are capable of making 100s.
“That will take a lot of pressure off a number of players.”
Last season highlighted the correlation between Gledhill’s performance with the bat and Numurkah’s fortunes in the match.
The star passed 50 four times during the season and the Blues lost only one of those matches – their final round clash with Karramomus.
Conversely, in the eight games Gledhill failed to raise the bat, Numurkah only defeated cellar-dweller Tatura.
A strengthened batting order should help turn those results around.
“I’m not about to come out and say that we’re going to win the premiership, because we’re coming from a long way back, but we’ve certainly improved our team a lot and will be tough to beat this coming season,” Gledhill said.