Valley guns seek Country Week glory

The Latrobe Valley’s best cricketers will travel to Melbourne today to put their skills to the test in a week-long tournament against other associations from across the state.

Traralgon and District will compete in the elite Provincial division in this year’s Country Week in a bid to be named the best association in Victoria.

The TDCA will have the benefit of familiarity going into the tournament having faced two other competitors, Bairnsdale and Sale-Maffra, in the Gippsland Cricket League.

Traralgon enjoyed an excellent GCL campaign this season, losing just one match, and is set to face Sale Maffra in the grand final at Leongatha’s Scorpion Park on 12 February.

The other spots in the competition are dominated by the state’s major regional areas, such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

The TDCA kicks off its campaign today against Mornington Peninsula at Frankston’s A H Butler Oval.

Central Gippsland will mount its campaign for promotion from the third division.

CGCA captain Rory Hare will lead an all-star team dominated by representatives from the top two ranked teams, Mirboo North and Morwell.

Ace all-rounder Robert Webber, import ‘keeper Jordan Campbell and bowler Travis Pickering along with Hare from the Morwell contingent of the CGCA side.

They will be joined by Mirboo North’s Shane Peters, Will Cheatley, Jesse Giardina, Adam Mates, Liam Smit and Rob Phoenix who have barely lost a game all season.

Trafalgar import Marco Higgins and returning batting behemoth Rob McKinley will also play.

Moe quick Sam Price will join the side on Wednesday and Thursday.

Central Gippsland starts its campaign today against Wangaratta at Croydon Park Oval and Hare said his team had its eyes set firmly on promotion.

“Obviously, you can’t take anyone lightly but I’d like to think we can play some good cricket and see where we are at the end of the week,” he said.

“It’s quite a good side.”

In its favour is the number of players who have experience playing together, with the side drawing heavily from Mirboo North and Morwell.

“Obviously, the guys from Morwell have played together,” Hare said.

“So we should be right and hopefully we should be able to mingle.”

Hare named GCL opponent Warragul as a team his side would relish playing.