Swifts batsman Jarred Lacey trudges off against Strollers last season but is confident of a better 2011-12 for the club.
Swifts batsman Jarred Lacey trudges off against Strollers last season but is confident of a better 2011-12 for the club. Sarah Harvey

Swifts on path to improvement

THROWN into the captaincy at Swifts last season, Jarred Lacey has emerged wiser for the experience.

He hopes he can take what he has learned, along with an improved playing group, into a competitive 2011-12 Division One season.

"We're looking quite good," Lacey said of his Swifts squad, ahead of the start of the Ipswich cricket season on Saturday.

"Most of the young blokes who started first grade last year but had to leave for school cricket are back for the full season."

Lacey has also lured his mate Jason Green back from Brothers, while fast bowler Chris Mantell will be on board if a shoulder injury allows him.

Combined with young talent such as keeper Jay Evans, all-rounder Cameron Wood and batsman Steve Homburg, Lacey is confident Swifts have progressed significantly from last season's wooden spoon.

"We've been training well," he said.

"We've had a Queensland Cricket guy helping us out.

"Last year was a bad year but these things happen in sport. This year is a totally better ball game.

"I've got quality players around me if I need help."

It was something he had little of last summer once Jacob Sarra left to work out west.

"Last year we did scratch for players at times," Lacey said.

"We had players coming up from second to first grade who struggled.

"But we're a young club with young players so you've got to expect it.

"We're not going to be world beaters but we'll give it a shake up.

"The only goal you have is to be competitive."

Lacey's toughest job will be to retain that competitive edge if results start going against the Bluebirds, starting this weekend against Laidley at Baxter Oval.

His secret to keeping spirits up will be to encourage his players to enjoy themselves.

"One thing I hope to bring is to have fun," Lacey said.

"If we're having fun, we should see player improvement."