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Key pair’s absence puts acid test on Bulls attack

Replacing almost 60 wickets will be the task for Mt Barker who enter the new Albany Cricket Association season without the competition’s two leading wicket takers Jacob Wintle and Tim Fitzgerald.

The Bulls reached the preliminary final in 2017-18 in their first season in A-grade spearheaded by the duo who at times devastated batting line-ups.

Wintle’s raw pace and Fitzgerald’s clever medium pacers rattled teams last season with the dangerous duo combining for close to 60 wickets between them and were one of the keys to the Bulls’ success. The Bulls won seven of their 14 regular season matches and won their first final before being bundled out of the premiership race by Manypeaks in the preliminary final.

Wintle (29 wickets) is unlikely to be available until the back half of the season after suffering a neck injury during football season while Fitzgerald (27 wickets) is set to move back to Victoria.

Wintle, Fitzgerald and leading run scorer Nathan Crosby were vital additions to the Bulls line-up from the Great Southern Cricket Association last season. Captain Jeremy Wood along with experienced batsman Alex Fergie and Crosby will be required to be among the runs regularly.

Wood said despite the loss of two key players, the squad was hoping to go one better in 2019.

“We’ve still got some young talent at the top,” he said.

“Every club has these sorts of issues, so we’ll walk through it.”

He said his players were keen to start the season with their eyes set on playing to the final ball this year.

“As a collective group we’d want to go one step further and play the grand final, that’d be our goal for the year,” he said.

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