Passionate, but busy, Tim Coyle is excited to be given the chance to lead Northern Tasmania’s inaugural foray into the Hobart-based Cricket Tasmania Premier League in 2018-19.
Tasmania’s most successful cricket coach will mentor the team to be named Greater Northern Raiders, featuring the best Cricket North and Cricket North-West players.
“I’m very passionate about the North understanding its history,” the 57-year-old said.
“Being a player that’s come from here, I became a coach in the first instance in Launceston, I live here and it’s an area that has been so rich in terms of talent.
“This opportunity is well overdue to give the North the injection it needs to continue to stay relevant in the big picture of Tasmania and Australian cricket.”
Coyle, an accomplished wicketkeeper, played seven first-class matches with Tasmania before leading the Tigers to three Sheffield Shield titles – including the state’s first ever in 2006-07.
He said a training program had been set in preparation for October’s opening round and was honest on how he thought the team would fare.
“We have had some initial discussions with players and there’s some really good interest, but we need commitment,” he said.
“In real terms it’s not a club, it’s a team and that will be our first challenge. At the moment we are realistic and understand we are coming from a long way back in terms of our talent pool – it will be a long-term project.
“If you were honest [about if the North has the talent to compete with Southern clubs] you would have to say no. Our cricket in the North and North-West has certainly gone backwards since the ‘80s and ‘90s as talent has moved to Hobart for obvious reasons.
“I’d love to have some experience. We’ve got some talented young players… so we need some experience and those experienced players to perform.”
Coyle will still carry out existing commitments with WBBL side the Melbourne Renegades and Cricket Australia.
However, he will be supported by some of the region’s best cricket minds in Jason Pearce, Andrew Gower, Roger Brown, Dane Anderson and Nick Hayes.
Cricket Tasmania staff members Clinton Reid and Alex King will also assist with the transition between the team and Cricket Tasmania development pathways.
Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins said it would be unlikely that the Raiders would have access to contracted players.
“There is an allocation process and we are looking at how that will be executed for this year but effectively clubs can apply for interstate players,” he said
“There are a couple in Gurinder Sandhu and Lawrence Neil-Smith, who will play for clubs, but is unlikely they will play for the Raiders given that training will be along way away for them considering those players will always be based in Hobart.
“Secondly, the purpose of the Greater Northern Team is to give opportunities for player in the North and North-West to play premier cricket, rather than bringing in imports and denying local players those opportunities.”
Richard Bennett said the Raiders would have nine home games – 12 days of cricket – to be played in the North and North-West.
“The primary options in Launceston are both NTCA grounds and hopefully UTAS Stadium and Invermay Park as well,” he said.
“Certainly Devonport Oval and West Park on the Coast, and Latrobe is making a play as well with a Women’s Big Bash game slated for Latrobe this year.” Bennett said a season launch would be held to introduce the team to the community.