MELVILLE Cricket Club coach Brad Thompson is plotting a speedy return to First Grade finals after missing out last season for just the second time in his 13 years at the helm.
The Storm finished ninth in 2015-16 after collecting zero points from two games that were washed out with Melville in a commanding position.
The Western Australian Cricket Association has reinstated draw points for the 2016-17 season but perhaps more importantly, Melville has regained the services of bustling left arm quick Ryan Duffield and right arm medium fast Tom Kerr-Sheppard.
Contracted to the Western Warriors, Duffield returns to his native Storm after playing last season with Perth while Kerr-Sheppard spent most of the year sidelined through injury.
“On his day Ryan is potentially one of the best players in the league, not just because of his bowling but because he is also a very powerful left-handed batsman,” Thompson said.
“With him back in the fold and Tom returning from injury we look like we should have a really impressive bowling cartel.”
The pair join the dangerous Mark Turner, who collected 44 scalps in 2015-16 at an average of 12.39, in a fearsome bowling line-up that will also expect contributions from Myles Keyt, Ryan James, Liam Duffield (younger brother of Ryan) and all-rounders Drew Porter and Blake Reed.
Right arm off-spinner Daniel Rootes also joins the club from the ACT after travelling to Perth for work.
As far as the willow is concerned, Melville has recruited promising young opener Angus Robson who has spent the last four English summers with County side Leicestershire.
Younger brother of Middlesex and England opener Sam, Robson is Australian-born and will be looking to impress as he chases his dream of one day pulling on the baggy green.
Melville’s 2015-16 leading run-scorer Luke Towers returns and he, along with Robson, Matthew Wiley, Tom Scollay and Fraser Hay will be expected to do the bulk of the Storm’s work with the bat.
“If each of those players can add another 100 runs to their totals from last season we’ll comfortably finish in the top six,” Thompson said.
Melville begins its First Grade campaign when it hosts South Perth at Tompkins Park on Saturday.