Greater Northern Raiders men's captain Miles Barnard says the positives outweighed the negatives in their 2019-2020 Cricket Tasmania Premier League season.
The Raiders finished their year with four wins across the two-day, one-day and T20 competitions and their inaugural coach Andrew Gower decided to stand down after two years in charge.
But Barnard believed the development and success of Jake Williams (664 runs at 36.89) and Brodie Hayes (619 runs at 61.9) and less big losses showed the program was going in the right direction.
"We certainly had more close games in the second year and if it was another year, four or five could have gone our way," he said.
"We didn't get outright losses in any of the two-day games and we were able to take a lot of games the distance.
"It was really exciting for us as a group for Jake to get selected in the Tasmanian second XI, because that is what the team is about, providing a pathway for guys in the North to get to the state team.
"Brodie was fantastic, I really think he could have got a second XI game, especially in the longer format because he was very hard to get out for the bowlers."
Barnard said that the impressive seasons from Williams and Hayes would not have been possible without the outgoing Gower, who has left big shoes to fill.
"He did an immense job in my opinion, I absolutely loved working with him," he said.
"We had combined seasons when we could, but he put in a mountain of work with the guys, especially on Jake and Brodie with their technique and that paid dividends in their performance.
"We obviously went through a lot of players in the first year and Andy was tearing his hair out to get a competitive team on the park.
"He put in a heap of work and he was huge for us and it will be a huge hole in the group."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
The 2019-20 season was also an improved one for Barnard, who compiled 472 runs at an average of 27.76 with a top score of 99.
Barnard said he felt more comfortable at the level this season and confirmed he will be staying on with the Raiders for the next year.
"In the first season I felt things just didn't go my way at times and didn't have a lot of luck," he said.
"If you play at the level a bit longer, you may get used to it a little, I certainly found form around Christmas time and was able to carry it into the second half of the year and it made it more enjoyable."
Barnard said the next goal of the Raiders was to keep the young core together while adding experienced heads.
"We have got to keep the youngsters coming through, the talented guys that want to push for higher honours," he said.
"I would to see guys like Jake, Brodie, Ollie Wood and James Beattie have another crack and the next generation guys like Cooper Anthes, Spencer Hayes and Jake Dixon," he said.
"At the other end, I would like to try and recruit one or two older experienced club cricketers to help stabilise the team like Nathan Philip or Tristan Weeks."