Knaggs to roar as the king of Cougar kids

NEW CAPTAIN: Ben Knaggs has been handed the reins to lead CYMS during the 2017/18 Whitney Cup season.
NEW CAPTAIN: Ben Knaggs has been handed the reins to lead CYMS during the 2017/18 Whitney Cup season.

CYMS have looked towards the future, naming youngster Ben Knaggs as skipper for the upcoming 2017/18 season.

The tragic neck injury suffered by former captain Ryan Medley during the football season forced the Cougars to find a new leader, and on Thursday night the club board announced the 18-year-old had received the nod.

Club secretary Gavin Weekes said the move had been endorsed by Medley, who identified qualities in Knaggs that would suit the role.

“We know ‘Knaggsy’ is going to need some help and guidance, but we’ve decided to go with a bloke we hope can lead the club for many years,” Weekes said.

“There’s some senior guys around our first grade group like Ben O’Donnell, Dave McAlister and Nick Guthrie that have done some captaincy, but we think they can help ‘Knaggsy’ really fit into the role well.

“We made the decision after speaking with Meds. He obviously would have been our first grade skipper again but we wanted him to have a say in who we picked and we’re happy to give Ben the opportunity.”

In recent years the Cougars have set the benchmark when it comes to junior development in Dubbo.

And that will again come to the fore in 2017/18 with the bulk of the first grade squad in their mid-to-late teens.

The likes of Knaggs, Thomas Nelson and Brock Larance have come through the junior system and made a plethora of junior representative sides, so while they aren’t old they do have a fair deal of experience.

And that was another reason why Knaggs got the not to lead.

“Most of the guys are in that age group, so hopefully they will be playing plenty of cricket together for many years,” Weekes said.

“We’re a club where we probably have more juniors than seniors playing grade cricket.

“Because of that they’re going to have some ups-and-downs but we think we’ll be able to provide the support they need.

“Marty Nelson is going to take a bit of a back seat with playing third grade this year and take on a managerial role with the first grade side, which will hopefully allow ‘Knaggsy’ just to worry about the on-field stuff and not the off-field stuff that comes with being a captain.”

CYMS start their season with a two-day clash against Rugby at No.3 Oval over the next two Saturdays.

Rugby will be without star batsman Jordan Moran and explosive fast bowler due to representative commitments, but should otherwise be close to full-strength.

Moran admitted during the week he is looking forward to seeing legspinner Adrian Carey back at the club in 2017/18, while Aidan Bennewith is also expected to carry more of a load with the ball this season.