Newcastle District Cricket Association: NSW Country representative Nick Foster steps up to captain struggling Stockton

SPIN: NSW Country representative Nick Foster will captain Stockton and Northern Districts in 2018-2019. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
SPIN: NSW Country representative Nick Foster will captain Stockton and Northern Districts in 2018-2019. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Nick Foster is Stockton born and bred and he wasn’t going down without a fight.

With the Newcastle District Cricket Association foundation club considering folding, the NSW Country representative has opted to take the reins as first grade captain for 2018-2019 rather than simply walking away.

Less than two months out from the start of the season, Foster accepted the leadership role at a crisis meeting on Sunday as the peninsula club dropped Raymond Terrace from its name and reverted to the more traditional title Stockton and Northern Districts.     

“There was some pretty honest and frank discussion on Sunday and ultimately we decided to go all in,” Foster told the Newcastle Herald.

“We want to leave no stone unturned and not walk away without exploring every single avenue we can.

“If it doesn’t pan out then so be it … but it’s a foundation club and we wanted to at least have a crack.”

Foster is under no illusion that the Seagulls are staring down the barrel of a “long summer” in the top grade with player quality and player numbers the major issues. 

The 34-year-old off-spinner said half of last season’s first XI aren’t going around again, including most recent skipper, former NSW Country representative and fellow Stockton junior Jeff Goninan who has stood down from his position and indicated he wanted some time away from the game. 

Old boys such as Terry Crittenden and Sam Jenkinson may be called upon this season in what Foster described as a “short-term fix”.   

“We’ll field what we can and do the best that we can, but it will be tough,” he said. 

Stockton has now ended official ties with Maitland club Raymond Terrace but the Seagulls have recently been in talks with Nelson Bay, who field multiple teams in Newcastle City and Suburban senior and Newcastle junior competitions. 

District chairman Paul Marjoribanks said “Newcastle needed a presence north of the Stockton Bridge” in the current, 12-team, first-grade competition. 

Stockton, which formed in 1888, avoided the wooden spoon by one win last campaign after making the grand final three summers earlier in 2014-2015.   

Off the field and long-term club president Ron Hancock has vacated his seat and returned to the committee with Marco Caponecchia now in charge of the Seagulls. 

Pre-season training resumes at Lynn Oval on Saturday week, August 25 (10am), under continuing coach Benn West.

The 2018-2019 draw has yet to be released but round one is scheduled for September 29.