Toc’s cricket coup
Tocumwal will enter the 2018/19 Murray Valley Cricket premier division with new faces marking a new era for the club.
It will be the first time since the 2013/14 season that Tocumwal has competed in premier division.
Boosting their lineup will be former Finley cricket captain Chris Shaw — who has been named team captain — plus young gun Matt Wilson and veteran batter Daniel Hibberd from Finley.
Club president Rod Meloury confirmed the premier team will be included with two English imports with the possibility of a third.
Meloury said the club is excited to be joining the Premier Division for the first time in five years.
‘‘It think we’ll give the competition a good shake.
‘‘It’s a foundation season but I reckon we can grow on it as well with our juniors who are coming through.
‘‘Joining Premier Division will provide the perfect opportunity to those players in their mid-20s to see where they’re at.
‘‘It’s hard to say who will be the best teams as we didn’t play in this division last year but probably the tough sides to beat will be Cobram, Barooga, Nathalia and Deni,’’ Meloury said.
The side is also expected to include 2017/18 players Jesse Barker, Andy Arthur and Michael Roberts.
Shaw said he chose to join Tocumwal because of the junior program and was looking forward to playing with the younger players coming through.
‘‘It’s an exciting time and a new challenge but Tocumwal are a great group of lads and I’m thankful for the opportunity to captain the club,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m happy to be working with their young players coming out of their program such as Jesse Barker and they’ve done a lot of work over the past four years working on that side of the club.
‘‘The aim is to play finals; we’re here to have a crack.
‘‘We have had a really good preseason so hopefully we can carry that into this first week.’’
Kicking off week one will be a trip to Katamatite, who finished the 2017/18 season with four wins, two draws and eight losses.
Shaw said he’s unsure how his young side will perform on Saturday but is confident they’ll be competitive.
‘‘We need to get the basics right and implement what we’ve been doing at training.
‘‘It’ll be an experience for the lads as quite a few haven’t played Premier Division so that will be both a big and exciting challenge.
‘‘These first few weeks will be about accepting the challenge and enjoying it.
‘‘It might just be a matter of trying to establish where were are and just playing as a team, but my aim is for us to play finals.’’
Coach Ranji Oliver said batting will be the key to beating Katamatite.
‘‘They’re are a good batting side and had a good start to the season last year but fell away late.
‘‘In my opinion our team can bowl okay, it’ll just be matter of whether the batsmen can do the job.’’
The match between Tocumwal and Katamatite will be a one-day 45 over fixture, starting at 12.30pm on Saturday.
Tocumwal’s Division One side will also kick-off their 2018/19 campaign when they host Cobram for a one-day 40 over game at 1pm on Saturday.
■ Tocumwal coach Ranji Oliver, new Tocumwal captain Chris Shaw and club president Rod Meloury are ready for the 2018/19 Murray Valley Cricket Association season.