THERE will be a changing of the guard at Mortlake Cricket Club this upcoming South West Cricket season.
The Cats are set for a change of leadership with president Simon Ritchie confirming Todd Lamont has stood down as captain of the club’s top side.
He will remain as a player under the leadership of incoming skipper, opening batsman Tyler Schafer, with Lamont playing a key role in identifying, mentoring and appointing his successor.
“I think a few of the boys got together and I think Todd actually suggested it himself,” Ritchie said.
“He said there is a young fella keen to go and we’ve got to give Schaf a go at it so that’s how it came about.
“The club’s more than happy with that, it’s just an easy answer really, Schaf’s come a long way and his cricket proves it on and off field, so he’s ready to go for it.
“He’s got big shoes to fill with what Todd has done for the club but I think Schaf is going to handle it not a worry.”
Lamont came to his decision after weeks of contemplation at the end of last season and said he had identified Schafer as the perfect replacement.
He said the Cats grand final loss to Pomborneit did not force him to reconsider his decision, adding the playing group was ready for a “fresh voice”.
“I wanted to give Tyler the same opportunity I had when I was younger and I didn’t want to hold back anyone else who had aspirations of being captain which had been playing on my mind,” he said.
“Win, lose or draw, that was going to be it for me, I think it was definitely time and Tyler is pretty keen to do the job.
“There’s obviously going to be a bit of an age gap between Tyler and some of the senior players in the team but I don’t think that will be a problem.
“I think everyone will embrace him, he’s certainly let his cricket do the talking the last few years and I think he’ll be fine.”
Lamont has been skipper of the Cats for the past 11 years and has been at the helm of one of their most successful periods.
He led the club to four consecutive premierships between 2011/12 and 2014/15 and two more in 2016/17 and 2017/18, while he also guided the club to Twenty20 success at the Sungold Cup in 2018.
“I’m pretty satisfied, I guess at the start I was just trying to make things a bit more professional and then we rolled on with getting a few wins together,” Lamont said.
“We started to get some team success and the club sort of built on that and we got three sides together and we haven’t looked back since.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to be a part of I suppose.”
Schafer could not be happier to take over from Lamont and said captaining his home club has always been a dream of his.
“They’re big shoes to fill but Toddy is still going to be there to get advice off and what not but I’m really happy to get the opportunity,” he said.
“Especially of my home town, it’s been a big goal of mine and hopefully I can strive (in the role) and get a few wins on the board.”
Schafer said there would be little change around the club given “the mould’s been set” although early indications are that he will place a greater emphasis on cricket’s shorter form.
“We’re a pretty successful club on and off the field so I just want to keep that going,” he said.
“We’re not losing anybody and we’ve got a few gains there, but there’s not a whole deal I want to change.
“But I really want to emphasise Twenty20 cricket this year, I want to try and win the Sungold Cup back.
“It’s a big part of cricket now, Twenty20 cricket, and we’ve done it once before and we have the team to do it so there is no reason why we can’t.”