The Greater Shepparton cricket factory continues to produce talent of state and national standard.
The school holiday season is packed with representative tournaments, and the region’s cricketers are, as usual, among the best performers.
●It is not just the youngest cricketers of the region who are strutting their stuff across the country.
Former Central Park-St Brendan’s star Layton McCann has impressed for Victoria Country at the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Western Australia this week.
McCann, who returned to his home club Moama ahead of this season, has mostly enjoyed his time in Geraldton so far and is sitting seventh on the tournament’s batting charts with 145 runs at an average of 29.
The three-time Haisman Shield premiership winner started slowly with a score of eight at first-drop in the first match of the competition before missing out on a dig in the second game.
But from there McCann was sent to the top of the order, smashing 38, 62 and 31 in the final three Twenty20 fixtures before being dismissed cheaply (for six) in the first one-dayer.
At the time of writing McCann had four 50-over matches remaining to stamp his authority on the prestigious tournament.
●Country Northern Rivers has begun its under-14 female state championship title defence in the best way possible — thanks largely to a local hero.
Euroa’s Georgia Gall has entered an amazing purple patch at the event to help her side remain undefeated to today’s preliminary final stage.
Gall has shown disdain for the state’s best bowling attacks in her four matches, smashing a tournament-leading 155 runs and being dismissed just once along the way.
Her bowling has also been a strong point for Northern Rivers, taking four wickets at an average of less than six and an economy rate of less than two.
Other familiar performers include Gall’s sister Olivia (four wickets) and Yea Tigers talent Ruby O’Dwyer (101 runs and three wickets).
The preliminary and grand finals are scheduled for today in Melbourne.
● Some of last year’s state championship stars have made the step up in grade to the under-16 level look easy.
Central Park-St Brendan’s rising talent Arnika McGregor showcased her match-winning ability in the first round of proceedings, turning an impossible situation into victory.
After grinding out a match-high score of 18 from 39 deliveries (twice that of any other player from either side) in a Northern Rivers total of 9-59, McGregor took it upon herself to rip the heart out of the Central Highlands batting line-up.
The all-rounder engineered figures of 4-7 from 21 deliveries, and with them a nine-run win for her side.
Northern Rivers has ridden that wave of momentum to remain undefeated across the three qualifying rounds, and will compete in today’s finals series.
Shepparton United’s Lily Bond (49 runs and three wickets) and Jerilderie product Mardie Hamilton (three wickets) have also done well.
● Also taking on Victoria’s best this week is the Northern Rivers under-18 male outfit.
The squad is another yet to taste defeat, building success on the back of Cricket Shepparton performances.
Karramomus’ Andrew Poppa has hit his straps after scoring just one in the first match, smashing back-to-back half centuries in the next two contests.
Shepparton United’s Harry Tonks and Tatura’s Jayden Armstrong have also been integral with the ball, taking seven wickets between them.
Murray Valley Cricket Association’s Jordan Cleeland (46 runs and one wicket) and Goulburn Murray Cricket’s Alistair McCann (32 runs and three wickets) have also held their own.
The side’s campaign continues today in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs.