Tongala Cricket Club has lured former Old Students captain Daniel Coombs to be its playing coach for the next two seasons.
Coombs had coached the Students for the past three seasons after joining in 2013, in which time he had an important hand in the club’s 2016-17 Haisman Shield triumph.
The Blues’ new coach said he had been approached for the role before last season, and felt now was the right time for change.
‘‘I probably played a few friendlies with Tongala in the last two or three seasons, and I played some Twenty20s as well, so I know a few of the players,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘They approached me last year, but I wanted to stay with Old Students, but I think this year I was looking for a bit of a change,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘I wasn’t enjoying my cricket as much in the last couple of seasons, so I’m off for a bit of a new challenge.’’
It follows a strong season from the Blues that saw them finish fourth on the Goulburn Murray Cricket table and lose in the first week of finals.
‘‘I’m massively excited by (the opportunity), I know a few of the guys at the club and they had a pretty good season,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘We hope to build on that as well as bringing in some experience, and bring in some different things with coaching and training to hopefully push on a bit.
‘‘When you look at the side there’s some room for growth as well.
‘‘The last couple of seasons the side has improved and even little one per cent or 10 per cent improvements are going to make a big difference.’’
Coombs added his task was to take the already functioning group and help sculpt it into a title challenger, while also aiding club-wide development.
‘‘The club hasn’t had an out and out coaching set-up, so the structure and consistency will help the team,’’ he said.
‘‘But with them the development of the juniors going forward is important as well.
‘‘It’s not a one-year plan, we want to improve in A-grade, but there’s other things to be working on as well.’’
Coombs was part of the side’s 2017 Haisman Shield win as well as the 2014-15 one-day title.
He particularly shone with 377 runs at an average of 29 as his side surged from fifth on the table to win the grand final.
‘‘Obviously I loved my time there; there’s been lots of highs and lows along the way, especially winning the Haisman Shield last year and the one-day title,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m going to miss it, I won’t ever forget some of the memories from the club and I’ve made lifelong friends.
‘‘I’ll miss playing there, but it’s the right time for a new challenge.’’