Tigers’ opening round test
BY TATE SPITERI
OVENS Valley United will get their first opportunity to atone for a winless 2017/18 when they host Rovers United Bruck in a one day game on Saturday.
The Tigers ended last season in bitter fashion, losing nine consecutive games, and have not won since a sixrun triumph over Delatite on March 4, 2017.
Senior manager Tom Chettleburgh said the club was excited by the clean slate a new season offered with plenty of new faces set to add exuberance to the club.
The Tigers will also have a new voice at the top with Andy Newton stepping up as captain, replacing Corey Southern who will remain as a player.
Chettleburgh praised Southern for the “fantastic job” he did in his four years captaining both Ovens Valley and Myrtleford.
“It will be good for Corey to freshen his cricket up, he can really concentrate on his own personal game now and not have to focus on anything else,” he said.
Chettleburgh added that the Tigers would roll the dice with selection this week.
“Some younger guys will get a chance this week and it’s important for us that they are there because they are good cricketers,” he said.
“I think the key to success at the moment is not having blokes you need to hide in the field which we have had to do in the past, it’s one day cricket and we will have guys that can field anywhere.”
Star all-rounder Michael Newton is a certain starter while St Ives Town (UK) trio Ryan Withers, Michael Speed and Jack Haycock will also play.
Withers returns to the club as vice-captain and will assume the top role this weekend in Andy Newton’s absence.
One of the Tigers’ key concerns will be how to navigate giant left-arm spinner Joe Thomas, who has returned to the Hawks as a playing coach after a bumper debut season at the club last year.
The 6’7 Englishman took 26 wickets at a stunning average of 10 and a miserly economy rate of just 1.67.
THE fourth McKayos Challenge will feature a new start line after riders had difficulties getting to the top of Mt McKay last year.
The unique gravity enduro event race which combines snow, single track, fire trails and sealed mountain roads has traditionally started at Mt McKay - the highest driveable point in the Southern Hemisphere.
However, last year there was too much snow to take riders to Mt McKay to begin their descent down to Bogong Village.
“Anything short of digging a one metre trench for five kilometres meant the riders would take so long to reach the start we would be looking at a lunchtime race at best,” Falls Creek Resort Management Board marketing officer Nathan Fenton said.
“We improvised and a new start line was set closer to home outside the Ski Patrol base.
“With the new starting point McKayos can now take in a course that flies through steep, groomed ski runs and enters the village up high with nothing but gravity to get there - no uphill and no kilometres of narrow fire trail.
“With the Halleys Comet chair so close we can also race first thing when the conditions are best off an overnight freeze.”
As of Tuesday morning there were 200 riders who had signed up for this year’s McKayos Challenge, setting a new record that more than doubles any of the previous three years.
“It’s really fantastic to see how the event has grown exponentially this year,” Fenton said.
“There’s an exciting atmosphere building around the village and with more than a metre of snow remaining and good weather forecast riders should be treated to perfect conditions.”
For more details and to register visit www.mckayos. com.au.
NEW FACES: English pair Michael Speed, 18, (left) and Jack Haycock, 22, will debut for Ovens Valley this weekend. PHOTO: Tate Spiteri