Scorchers add to their international stocks
CRICKET: After seeing the Sunshine Coast snap an eight-year drought to reach the finals of the Queensland Premier Grade last summer, talented off-spinner Sam Gardiner says the Scorchers are capable of even bigger things this time around.
The team has bolstered its batting stocks ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, which starts next month, and Gardiner has high hopes.
"Making the semi-finals was great and a lot of players came of age like (James) Bazley and (Nick) Selman, but we've got to keep building on that this season," the 21-year-old said.
The Scorchers won their only two-day title in the 2005-06 season and are hungry to reach the top again.
"All teams want to play finals cricket, but also to win in finals and that's going to be the challenge for us this year, going that step further," Gardiner said. "I think we're capable of it."
The Scorchers have kept most of their personnel, including captain James Henry and coach Brad Murphy.
Englishman Fabian Cowdrey is set to return for a few months.
The son of ex-England captain Chris Cowdrey and grandson of England great Colin Cowdrey averaged 47.27 last season.
Another Kent batsman, Sam Northeast, will return, having played a significant role for the Scorchers in the 2012-13 season.
He is expected to be available for most of the season.
The team's batting depth will also be enhanced by Lancashire duo Paul Horton and Luis Reece, who have had previous stints on the Coast.
Reece is set to arrive when Cowdrey leaves after Christmas, essentially replacing him.
Batting all-rounder and state under-17 representative Jack Wood - the nephew of Sunshine Coast ex-international Ashley Noffke - has also joined the squad, as has Queensland Country opening bowler Ben Milne.
The Rockhampton paceman should complement Ashley Renouf - the competition's fourth-highest wicket taker last season.
But the Scorchers will miss Ben Smith, who has relocated to Melbourne for work, and impressive all-rounder Alecz Day, who is set to play first-class cricket in New Zealand.
"That's a huge loss for us," Gardiner said of Day.
Sunshine Coast will start its season against Norths on September 13.
On Saturday at Buderim the Coast side will contest a one-day trial against a Sandgate-Redcliffe unit led by last year's Scorchers second-grade coach, Ashley Holznagel.
The Scorchers will also clash with an outfit from Indian state Madhya Pradesh in a four-dayer next week.
SOUTH Australia has cancelled its four-day camp on the Sunshine Coast this week because of the recent rain, which has made conditions testing at John Blanck Oval.
Tasmania and Victoria are set to collide at the venue next month.
SUNSHINE COAST SCORCHERS
SQUAD FOR 2014-15 SEASON: J Bazley, N Carruthers, P Cash, P Dein, J Dennien, G Flegler, S Gardiner, K Griggs, S Heise, J Henry, B Maher, J Mathys, B Murphy, D Pinkstone, A Renouf, N Selman, A Soanes, L Stutter, J Turnbull, C Welsh, J Wood, F Cowdrey, S Northeast, P Horton, L Reece.