Irvine re­turns

For­mer club­man com­mits to Fin­ley cricket this sea­son

Southern Riverina news - - SPORT -

Cricket sea­son is of­fi­cially here, with Fin­ley Cricket Club host­ing Co­bram for round one of the Mur­ray Val­ley Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion Pre­mier Di­vi­sion this Satur­day.

The club has been pre­par­ing for the sea­son over the past few weeks, with a fa­mil­iar face re­turn­ing to play for Fin­ley.

Af­ter 10 years away from the club, right-arm medium pace bowler Paul Irvine (pic­tured) will make his re­turn.

Irvine said he’s been think­ing about re­turn­ing to the club for the past three years.

‘‘I played for Fin­ley in my early 20s for five years,’’ he said.

‘‘Then I moved to Mel­bourne where I played for North­cote and Mul­grave while work­ing at the Royal Mel­bourne Golf Club for seven years.

‘‘When I moved to How­long I al­ways thought about play­ing for Fin­ley be­cause I would like to fin­ish up at the club.

‘‘I have plenty of mates in Fin­ley and it’s only an hour’s drive. So I bit the bul­let this year, and here I am.’’

The 38 year-old has had an im­pres­sive crick­et­ing ca­reer, hav­ing won three club crick­eter of the year awards, cap­tain­ing sides in the East­ern Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion and even play­ing a Twenty20 tour for Mul­grave in Malaysia.

Fin­ley’s cap­tain/coach Chris Shaw is de­lighted with the ac­qui­si­tion of Irvine.

‘‘It’s just great to have him back,’’ Shaw said.

‘‘I’m still good mates with him and have kept in con­tact the whole time.

‘‘He’s got a good crick­et­ing brain and is a qual­ity seam bowler so he’ll add some ex­pe­ri­ence to the side.’’

Un­for­tu­nately for the Cats they will lose joint best and fairest win­ners Tom Sin­clair and Rus­sell Stock­dale.

Fin­ley Cricket Club sec­re­tary Daniel Hib­berd said it will leave a mas­sive hole in the side.

‘‘We’ve been ac­tively on the look­out to fill the void,’’ Hib­berd said.

‘‘But it will be dif­fi­cult to find a qual­ity open­ing bats­man/keeper to re­place Sin­clair and we’ll miss Stock­dale’s leg spin­ners.

‘‘There is a slight chance of Russ (Stock­dale) com­ing back later in the year but it’s very slim.

‘‘Ei­ther way we’re all ex­cited to kick off the year for cricket.’’

Satur­day’s match will be held at the Fin­ley Apex Sports and Com­mu­nity Cen­tre start­ing at 12.30pm.

Fin­ley will also have its Di­vi­sion One side play­ing this week­end, trav­el­ling to Co­bram for its first round in the MVCA at the Co­bram Show­grounds at 1pm on Satur­day.

Di­vi­sion Two of MVCA will be­gin next week as well as the Un­der 16s and Un­der 14s in the Mur­ray Val­ley Ju­nior Cricket com­pe­ti­tion.

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