Newly appointed Nelson Griffins captain Ollie Jones-Allen is excited at the team’s new lineup. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Griffins seek to soar ahead of new season

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Excitement.

That’s the buzz word surrounding the start of the Nelson Griffins’ season this month.

A new coach, new captain and a slew of promising young prospects makes this year an intriguing one for the city’s premier cricket team.

New skipper Ollie Jones-Allen says the team possesses more than enough firepower to make some serious waves this season.

Returning to the squad are New Zealand U19 reps Finn Raxworthy and Thomas Zhorab, as well as Central Stag’s Greg Hay, Josh Clarkson and Felix Murray.

“We have an awesome bunch of boys and it’s nice to have some quality players coming back and supporting our group.”

Ollie says, while the side’s strength lies in its batting, there are plenty of quality bowlers in the ranks.

“Most of the batsmen can also contribute with the ball which makes the balance of the side really good. It makes a huge difference as a captain to have those options.”

The side will also return to Motueka for the first time in years as they are set to defend the Newman Shield against Marlborough on Sunday November 15.

“It’s always a highly contested and one we take a lot of pride in, Motueka is a really nice boutique ground, hopefully the locals over the hill will get out and support us.”

Also on the Griffins’ radar are the Chapple and Hawke Cups.

“We have a good opportunity to give them both a real crack.”

As well as Ollie’s appointment, BJ Barnett has also come on board as head coach.

“He is big on enjoyment and playing as a team. It’s exciting to have a fresh face leading the group.”

The born and bred Nelsonian says he is relishing the chance to lead his province.

“It is an awesome opportunity and a huge privilege to lead Nelson.”

Nelson Griffins Squad

Finn Raxworthy, Greg Hay*, Thomas Zohrab, Harsh Visavidiya, Josh Clarkson*, Tom Cross*, Jonty Raxworthy, Jack Aldridge (wk), Felix Murray, David Zohrab, Josh Simpson, Ollie Jones Allen ©, Ronan Restieaux, Josh Newport, James Graham. Brady Barnett (coach), Brendan Hodgson (manager).

(Three to be omitted for Chapple Cup)

*Chapple Cup only