Tatura Cricket Club creates history tomorrow.
For the first time since returning to Cricket Shepparton’s ranks in 2006, the club’s A-grade team will taste finals action when it strides out onto Numurkah Showgrounds.
A huge number of players and members have put in the blood, sweat and tears required during the past dozen years in order to make the long-standing dream a reality.
But in the true fashion of those who go above and beyond for a sporting organisation, many will not be there to witness the moment.
Instead, the likes of Glenn Walker and Peter Watt will be at Undera Recreation Reserve, helping the club’s B-grade squad in its challenge for glory.
Watt only made the step down a grade permanently this season (after playing at least five A-grade games in each of Tatura’s Cricket Shepparton campaigns since 2006) to accommodate some of Tatura’s rising stars and their push for a Haisman Shield title.
With 384 runs at an average of 32, including a high-score of 131, this campaign the veteran seems to have plenty of time at the crease left in his legs.
But he has been happy to take a step back and watch the next generation of Tatura cricketers ply their trade at the highest level.
‘‘Michael Archer has been a good example of that,’’ Walker said.
‘‘He’s been able to mature as a cricketer this year and gone from maybe thinking he was on the edge or making up the numbers to now knowing he’s a genuine senior cricketer and having that confidence in himself.’’
Walker was A-grade captain when Tatura returned to Cricket Shepparton and started the club off in the best possible fashion as part of an initial stand of 149, but from there it has been a hard slog.
He credits coach Tim Kelly, a strong junior system and a late friend as integral in the club’s recent resurgence.
‘‘To me that (2006) only feels like a few years ago, but it’s been a great move,’’ Walker said.
‘‘It probably goes back to the late Rodney Kilmartin for getting us back to the Shepp comp.
‘‘All of our kids go to school here in Shepparton and it was a big part of the reason for us coming over.
‘‘I guess the biggest challenge for us has been about getting depth in the club, and you’ve got to put a fair bit of that hard work down to Tim.
‘‘He’s got a lot of young kids coming up through the junior ranks at the club and into the seniors, and most of those boys in A-grade have been at the club since their junior days.
‘‘He has a good connection with the kids and even when it does get a bit tough they’re still all coming to training because they don’t want to let him or the club down.’’
Names such as Graham Ballis, Heath Fidock, Rohan Forster, Ian Petherick, David Miller and Louis Worm were also part of that 2006-07 campaign and will be sprinkled across the B and C-grade teams this weekend.
It shows that while a new wave of stars are lining up to play under Kelly, the old firm is still part of the fabric of the overall health of Tatura Cricket Club.
‘‘I guess from my perspective the club has had off-field success in terms of finances, and we’ve got a strong committee and blokes and equipment to prepare the pitch, so we’re very lucky,’’ Walker said.
‘‘It’s all starting to come together and hopefully things that are coming together now continue to do so into the future.’’