Former clubman commits to Finley cricket this season
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.