Not having played a game of cricket in the last two weeks hasn't helped Kiama Cavaliers inconsistent South Coast District Cricket Association season to date.
Jaya Hartgerink can't do much about the weather but the Kiama captain reckons losing experienced players, noticeably Dale Scifleet, has hurt and contributed to his team's inconsistency to date which has seen the Cavaliers win just one of three one-day games heading into their round six fixture against Bomaderry Tigers at Kiama Sporting Complex on Saturday.
Hartgerink has though been particularly pleased by the form of two teenagers who have stepped up to first-grade this season, 14-year-old leg-spinner Joe Burgess and 17-year-old all-rounder Blake Mackrell.
But while the skipper was happy to see the young players develop and take the step up to first-grade, he expressed concern that there weren't too many players in the 20 to 35 age-group playing cricket across the board.
"In our team we have a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old and then probably the rest are aged 40 or over. There are no players in the 20 to 35-year-old age group, which is a concern," Hartgerink said.
In our team we have a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old and then probably the rest are aged 40 or over. There are no players in the 20 to 35-year-old age group, which is a concern.- Kiama Cavaliers captain Jaya Hartgerink
"We've got a big junior base at the moment which is good but it depends how many of them actually make it to grade level.
"We got a few good young ones. Hopefully they keep playing.
"But it seems across the board they just seem to stop playing around that 17 to 20 age group. I think everyone's struggling a little bit in that area, it just seems to be the common theme.
"I think there's a combination of reasons for that.
"I think everyone in life now seems to be under a little bit more work pressure. People aren't as willing to spend the seven hours on a Saturday playing cricket maybe.
"Young people are also finding other things to do.
"It is definitely a problem in all sports, but definitely in cricket. I think there's definitely not that many first grade players that are about 20 to 30 years-old at the moment.
"The comp's still probably getting held up a lot by guys between 35 and 40. which would be a concern going forward, I'd imagine."
Hartgerink's immediate concern though was on getting Kiama to play better, consistent cricket.
He said the Cavaliers had been okay in patches but needed one of their top-order batsmen to go on to make a big score.
"We are probably just looking for someone in our top order to make a big score. We've had a lot of starts but no one has gone on to make a big score, which has hurt us," Hartgerink said.
"We are a bit off with the bat and we just haven't taken our chances in the field a little bit. That's probably cost us in the last few games.
"We need to be better at that against Bomaderry, who in a lot of respects are similar to us.
"It should be a good game."
In other fixtures on Saturday, Albion Park Eagles play North Nowra Cambewarra at Keith Grey Oval, Ex Servos take on Lake Illawarra at Hayden Drexel Oval, Shellharbour City battle The Rail at Tom Willoughby Oval and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads hosts Bay and Basin Dolphins at Berry Sports Complex.
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