Former first grader back in the action

Pitch perfect: Barry Coad with son Lachlan after the former first grader’s successful return to Penrith Cricket Club last season. Picture: Gary WarrickBARRY Coad admits his job title was a little ambiguous but his overarching goal was always the same.
Nanjing Night Net

Captain, mentor, father — all three were roles he played in leading Penrith Cricket Club’s sixth grade side to a grand final berth in the Metropolitan Colts competition earlier this year.

While the team were unable to trounce Gordon and snare the premiership accolade, the former Penrith first grader said he enjoyed returning to the club and passing on his experience, particularly with 16-year-old son Lachlan in the side.

“It was an interesting feeling, to go from standing back in the coaching role to having to actually perform because the onus is on you and you’ve got a reputation to uphold,” Coad said.

“But it was fun and the ultimate aim of it all is to see these kids play higher levels and I’ll be a very proud man if they happen to reach NSW or higher one day.

“It’ll be in some small way, my help, which is a big thing when you get to 49-years-old — you’re not worried about getting 100 yourself — though that’d be a nice goal for next year.”

Despite registering nearly 4000 runs during his initial playing days with Penrith, Coad said nurturing Lachlan’s passion and competing alongside him was a career highlight.

“It was probably the most enjoyable thing I’ve done in cricket and he’s still got a long way to go but I’m certainly very proud,” Coad said.

“We batted together at a critical stage of the semi final and to have both our names on the scoreboard was very special.”

Penrith’s Colts side is predominantly “young blokes from 14 through to 19” and the man who featured in the club’s very first Poidevin-Gray premiership-winning team admitted churning out the runs wasn’t quite as easy as it was almost 30 years ago.

“I haven’t played since I retired so it was very difficult from a fitness point of view — that was the hardest part,” he said.

“But I certainly improved as the season went on and obviously the boys did too through their commitment and maturity beyond their years.”

With the Colts side providing a snapshot into the future potential of the Penrith club, Coad said the Black Cats legacy was in “great hands”.

“Every one of them will move into the higher grades,” he said. “Absolutely.”

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