Jarrett Tough has been tasked with the tricky assignment of guiding the Narrabri RSL Cricket Club first XI to back-to-back Narrabri District Cricket Association first grade premierships in season 2021-22.

Last season’s club champions, RSL, hosted its annual general meeting on Sunday where a new chairman was elected and captains for the coming season were announced.

Chris Watkins is the club’s new chairman. He replaces the outgoing Mick Dowdell.

Watkins will also captain the second grade one day team, replacing Jason Trindall, while his teammate Justin Saunders will skipper the T20 side for the second consecutive season.

RSL are defending champions in both of those competitions, just as they are in the first grade one day comp.

After leading RSL to its first top grade premiership since the 2012-13 season in March last year, the club’s 2020-21 championship-winning captain Tough will again skipper the side during the coming campaign.

He told The Courier that he enjoyed the challenge of leading the club last season and could not wait to get back into training this afternoon when the club hosts its first session at the Cooma Oval nets.

“I waited a long time before I got a chance to captain the club last year and I didn’t want to just do it for one season,” he said.

“It’s a big job which I took seriously last year, so now I’m keen to try and get the boys back into the grand final this season.

“The captaincy puts a bit more weight on your shoulders and it’s very stressful, but at the end of the day its great to see a plan come together.

“We had a good year last year and I reckon both teams can go well again.

“We’ll be down at the nets training every Tuesday from [today] and I encourage everyone to show up and get into it nice and early so we are ready for the season,” Tough added.

Tough said that Watkins was a great choice to lead the club as its chairman for at least the next 12 months.

“He’s very proactive which you need,” Tough said.

“He likes being involved with the club and also making sure everyone is happy.

“He’s a very good clubman.

“He always keeps us on our toes with meetings and things we have to do.”

RSL enters the 2021-22 campaign without four regular players from last season’s first XI.

Mick Dowdell, a former first grade captain and premiership winner as well as club president, has decided to hang up the whites following last season’s grand final victory, while spin bowler Matt Tubner and wicket-keeper Craig Summers are both expected to miss this season.

All-rounder Hamish Duncan has joined Civeo Tourist Cricket Club for season 2021-22.

Bernard O’Connor and Will Ford are two young guns at RSL who are expected to fill the void left by the club’s departing players.

Both have played first grade cricket in Narrabri under Tough, and the RSL skipper said that he expected both to play key roles this season.

“I’m looking to get Bernard and Will into the team,” Tough said.

“They are both pretty close to ready, they had a couple of games in first grade the last couple of years and they are only getting older and smarter so they’ll definitely get a few games in at least.”

Tough said that he expected RSL to be successful in both grades during the 2021-22 season given the depth at the club, despite a few second graders potentially hanging up the whites as well.

Meanwhile, the other three NDCA clubs have not yet held their annual general meetings.

All three clubs are expected to host meetings early next week, at which their 2021-22 season captains will be named. Tatts will have a new first grade captain for the coming campaign, with last season’s skipper Ryan O’Neill relocating to Perth for work.

The NDCA will then host its annual general meeting next week, where the 2021-22 season will be discussed.

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