Shepparton News

TONGALA WON’T FIELD AN A-GRADE SIDE

- By Gus Underwood

Tongala Cricket Club has signalled it won’t be fielding an A-grade side in the Goulburn Murray Cricket associatio­n this season.

The decision will end the club’s history of fielding continuous teams in the top tier of competitio­n in the former Kyabram, Echuca, Campaspe competitio­ns and the current Goulburn Murray associatio­n.

Temporary retirement­s and player movements have left the club’s 2020-21 A-grade side decimated.

Coach and star all-rounder Daniel Coombs is returning to play with Tatura Cricket Club, while key players Darin Ohlsen and Jayden Tucker have indicated they won’t be playing this season.

And emerging players Clayton Thompson and Elijah Gillie, who work in Melbourne and Geelong respective­ly, could not commit to playing every game this season.

Newly elected president Travis Johnstone said it was a reluctant decision, but in the best interests of the club.

“We have some good juniors emerging, but we didn’t want to bring them up (to A-grade) and burn them out,” Johnstone said.

“Hopefully we have a team back in A-grade within the next two seasons.”

Johnstone said his club would still field three teams in the Goulburn Murray competitio­n this season.

“Instead of having sides in A, B and C-grades, we will have teams in B, C and D-grades in the coming season,” Johnstone, who has taken over the club presidency from Jamie Stokes, said.

Tongala missed the A-grade finals last season, but it was still a competitiv­e outfit, defeating eventual premier Kyabram Fire Brigade on two separate occasions.

The Tongala club boasts owning a two-story clubhouse overlookin­g the Tongala oval on its western side and has some of the best facilities in the competitio­n.

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