Springwood cricketer Ryan Smith to captain first grade, Penrith

When Springwood cricketer Ryan Smith sets foot on the green in the upcoming season, he’ll shoulder a new challenge and added responsibility.

The fast bowler will captain Penrith’s first grade, replacing Michael Castle who has returned to Queensland.

Smith has played for Penrith for 11 years, and five have been as club captain, but the appointment still shocked him.

“I was surprised, it’s not very often that a fast bowler gets to be captain of a team,” the 31-year-old said.

“I’m getting more and more excited for the challenge and the opportunity.”

As club captain Smith has been used to “work hard, train hard and be a role model for the rest of the club”, but being responsible for the decision-making on game day will be a new experience.

“I’m a little bit nervous but I’m pretty confident. We’ve got a bunch of guys that will respond well to me being captain,” he said.

“I am hoping I will be able to do what I have been doing and get the best out of the players.”

There’s expected to be a few changes in the team this year, but the line-up will still include Mountains batsmen Ryan Hackney from Faulconbridge and Johnny Di Bartolo from Springwood.

In his junior cricket years Smith was an all rounder for Hazelbrook Cricket Club when he lived in Bullaburra.

He’s taken more than 250 wickets and more than 1000 runs for Penrith in first grade.