WALLAN District Cricket Club stalwart Stevie Bell has been named the Magpies’ coach for the 2020-21 season.

Bell’s appointment comes after former coach Chris Vecchie stepped down during the off-season.

Bell said coaching the club was something he had always wanted to do.

“I was thinking more in a few years’ time but once Chris expressed that he wasn’t interested, I thought I may as well do it now,” he said.

Bell has a long history with the club, starting his junior career in 1994 before making his first XI debut just four years later.

He was also part of the Magpies’ 2002-03 McIntyre Cup premiership and the 2009-10 B Grade flag, and has played football for Wallan throughout his sporting career.

“Whenever I’ve played local sport, it’s always been for Wallan. It’s a good town with good people and I love representing the town,” he said.

Bell has set lofty goals for the club, which just two seasons ago was relegated from Gisborne District Cricket Association’s top-flight McIntyre Cup, but has given himself plenty of time to get there.

“I want to get the club a bit more competitive than what we were last year,” he said.

“To have four teams at the club and not one play finals was a bit disappointing and I hope to get the club back playing McIntyre Cup cricket within four years, that’s the big aim overall.”

To get there, Bell said the First XI’s batting and fielding needed to improve significantly.

“Last year, we relied too much of Ryan Cumberland and Kieran Atkin, I’m hoping to bring some better batsmen to the club,” he said.

“We also need to improve the fielding which I thought was pretty disappointing last year in the ones.

“We had games where we would drop five or six catches and it’s not good enough.”