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LOCAL cricket continues its upward drive with Casterton Cricket Club to enter three teams in this year’s Hamilton and District Cricket Association senior competition.

The club’s Rick Killey said following the success of the combined Casterton-Wando Vale team in its first year in C Grade last year, a full player list and to assist the association with the balancing of the draw, Casterton would nominate a team for the B Grade competition in 2020/2021.

“We’ve got plenty of kids coming up through the club and we don’t want them missing out on cricket,” Killey said.

“Kane (Forbes) and I have done a few numbers and if everyone commits, we’ve got heaps of players, plenty for three grades and probably too many, if we look at it.

“I think with people not being able to play sport this year, they’re more committed to getting on the field.

“And we wanted to help the association out, even up the draw so no-one has a bye.

“There’s not a great deal of difference between B and C Grade and if everyone commits, there’s no reason we can’t be successful in B Grade, with the great start we had last year.”

The club benefits from the return of several former players with Dylan Ryan returning to the line-up, along with Will Rowland who has signed with the locals after a stint with Tahara.

The Geary family also returns to the fold, after several seasons with South Australian clubs.

“We’ve also got several juniors coming up that are too old for Under 14s, but still keen to play local cricket … there’s nearly a full team there,” Killey said.

Casterton and Wando Vale Cricket Clubs will hold their annual general meetings on Thursday, September 3, online via Zoo, with Wando Vale to determine its plans, going forward, at the meeting.

Hamilton association president, Lloyd Ilet said with the additional Casterton team and another entered from the Grampians club, the association was planning for a “normal season”, in anticipation of Covid-19 restrictions being lifted to at least Stage 2.

“The Casterton club originally nominated for A, C and D Grades but after some discussion and the C Grade side’s success last year, they’ve nominated for B Grade, which is outstanding  - it’s a great fit for the club and the association,” Ilet said.

“Grampians have nominated a D Grade side, a father-son side from the Under 12s and Under 14s from last year and that seems to be coming along really well.”

The A and B Grade draws are expected to be ratified by the association tonight, with C and D Grade draws to be finalised in consultation with the clubs.

Ilet said there were concerns about Dartmoor’s ability to field a side, with several of its players based in South Australia and there would be several minor but noticeable changes to game day.

“The players won’t be able to use sweat or saliva to shine the ball and umpires won’t be holding players’ hats, jumpers and other equipment … we may see the umpires in masks,” he said.

“This all depends on what this new ‘visitor’, this virus does between now and then, but we still have the staggered October start planned at the moment, for (October 3, 10 and 17) … we’re really looking forward to it.

Women’s comp to feature

HAMILTON District Women’s Cricket Association will run its carnival event again this year, with Cricket Victoria getting on board to make the event a showpiece for junior girls’ cricket in Victoria.

“We can’t believe that there’s no other carnival for junior girls in Victoria, with all the work that has gone into girls’ cricket over the past four or five years,” Ilet said.

“Our women’s cricket competition is the longest running in Victoria, outside of Melbourne … it’s going really strong and we’re looking forward to another big season and our carnival which will really showcase the talent in the region.”

Support for upgrades

WITH planned upgrades to the amenities at Island Park 2 and the Casterton club focused on the installation of a turf wicket on the oval, the Casterton Cricket Club is on-track to be a major venue for the association.

“It’s marvellous that the local shire is right behind local sport and sporting facilities,” he said.

“It really is a little boutique ground down there at Island Park 2 and we’d love to see a turf wicket down there to complete it.

“The Casterton club has really got the bit between their teeth this last season and we know it won’t be for this season, but maybe next season, with some grant money and the great young men they’ve got down there, prepared to do the hard work that comes with a turf wicket, it will happen for Casterton.”

He said the number of turf wickets within the HDCA was admired by many neighbouring associations and an additional facility at Casterton would be a feather in the cap of the local competition and the club.

“It will mean that A Grade finals will be played at Casterton,” Ilet said.

“We have a rule in place, if a team finishes first or second, they get to host semi-finals except in A Grade, where if a team only has a hard wicket, they miss out because we like the semi-finals to be played on turf.

“A turf wicket at Casterton would see semi-finals at home, it would be great for the club and the town and there’s no reason why we couldn’t hold grand finals there.”

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