THE opportunity to lead Beechworth back from a season of disappointment was too good to pass up for Mark Butters, who has taken the reins as coach of the Wanderers for the 2016-17 Wangaratta and District Cricket Association season.
The Wanderers took all before them in 2014-15, winning their first ever A grade silverware when they captured the Rod Newton Shield by destroying Bruck in the one day grand final.
A month later they doubled up by claiming the Geoff Welch Cup when Brenton Surrey and Matt Ryan produced a 155-run partnership to set up victory over Bruck in the two-day final.
Butters joined the side following success at Cricket Albury Wodonga club St Patrick’s and Beechworth looked set for another big season in 2015-16.
But a horror start saw the Wanderers open with three losses and a draw from the first four rounds, ultimately missing the finals in seventh place.
Butters, who captured 25 wickets at 9.16 in his first season at the club, said getting Beechworth back into the finals was non-negotiable.
“Coming over to Beechworth last year I was very excited,” Butter said.
“They had won both grand finals the previous season, so I had no doubt we would be in contention again.
“But we were short on personnel early on.
“Brenton Surrey went away to get married, Kayde Surrey and Matt Hunt were missing – we were without the main soldiers and that made things difficult at the start.
“Coming into this season we know how important those early rounds are.
“Starting with three one-dayers you just have to get wins on the board, because if you drop them your season can be decided very quickly.”