Wests-UC batsman Adam Hewitt in action during last season's grand final. Photo: Colleen Petch
Wests/UC grand-final hero Adam Hewitt hopes he is fit enough to join his team on a charge to back-to-back two-day titles despite injury threatening to ruin his season.
The all-rounder has stress fractures in his back and has been ruled out of action until January.
It's a major blow to Wests/UC in their hopes of defending their premiership.
Hewitt starred in the two-day grand final earlier this year, scoring an unbeaten 154 to guide his team to a convincing victory.
Hewitt isn't allowed to run for six weeks and won't bowl this season.
''We've still got a few of the older heads around and some young guys coming through, but [Hewitt's] a grand-final hero, so it's a pretty big blow,'' Wests/UC captain Ben Oakley said.
''We've got batsmen to do the job, but it's a shame to lose someone as good as him.''
Hewitt had scans on Thursday after injuring his back while playing in England during Canberra's winter.
Although he's disappointed he won't be playing, Hewitt doesn't see his injury as a problem for the club.
''I think we've got lots of depth in our team and throughout second grade as well,'' Hewitt said.
''We've got plenty of bowlers and batting all-rounders; so I don't think it will make much of a difference. We've still got a lot of good players to put out each week, so we should still be as strong as ever.''
Wests/UC dominated all Cricket ACT competitions last season and won all of their regular-season matches.
But they got a rude shock when they slumped to an opening-round loss to North Canberra Gungahlin in the one-day competition last weekend.
They are determined to redeem themselves in a one-day grand-final rematch against Eastlake.
''The big message to come out of last week's loss is that we can't rest on our laurels,'' Oakley said.
''This year is going to be harder than last year because everyone is out to get us. It was the wake-up call we needed early in the year, we can't be too arrogant or confident about our side.''
Wests/UC relied too heavily on Oakley in the first round of the season.
The skipper took 5-49 and scored 39 runs in the 15-run defeat.
''We went into it [the game] confident, probably over confident,'' Hewitt said.
''We've trained really hard this week. After a successful year last year the other teams are gonna step up and we need to be ready for it.''