Tigers’ open­ing round test

Alpine Observer - - Sport -

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

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