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By Kath Gannaway

With extreme weather extending the break for senior cricketers across the Yarra Valley, the cream of the Valley’s junior crop take centre stage for their upcoming representative carnivals.
Annually during the summer school holidays, Melbourne’s most talented junior cricketers pit their skills in the Victorian Metropolitan Cricket Union (VMCU) representative carnivals.
The YVCA has a proud history in the competition playing in many finals and taking out multiple titles. This year’s competition involves a series of preliminary matches which act as qualifying for a knockout finals series.
The best of the Valley have been put through their paces with a series of training/selection sessions, plus a series of Region 8 games against Ferntree Gully, West Gippsland and Mornington Penisula Cricket Associations rounded out a solid preparation for the competition.
After some nervous moments, the teams were selected, and caps presented, at a formal presentation at Coldstream Cricket Club before the Christmas break.
The Under 12 Girls have already completed their qualifying games in the Claudia Fantone Shield finishing in tenth position.
With many of the girls just beginning their cricketing journeys, they found the competition tough, but the learning experience enjoyable. The team consisted of Briana Parker (Launching Place), Natasha Vassallo (Gruyere), Ameilia Kuth (Launching Place), Pearl Saurine (Warburton-Millgrove), Holly Robins (Mt Evelyn), Ella Amore (Launching Place), Eliza Owen (Launching Place), Alisha Beers (Gruyere) and Samara Kuth (Launching Place). Caitlin Parker of Launching Place gave the girls great guidance as coach of the team. With girls’ cricket going through dramatic growth, the future of this team looks bright.
The Under 12 and 14 Boys teams kick off their campaigns on Monday, and their competition consists of five qualifying games, plus finals across two weeks. Competing in the Josh Browne Plate, the Under 12 team will be coached by Stuart Parker (Launching Place) and Chris Handasyde (Healesville) with the team represented by Baylin Spencer (Woori Yallock), Billy Thurlow (Hoddles Creek), Cody Anderson (Healesville), Dan Potter (Mt Evelyn), David Carvill (Launching Place), Dylan Walker (Warburton-Millgrove), Harvey Smith (Seville), Hudson Semple-Hetherton (Warburton-Millgrove), John Thurlow (Hoddles Creek), Joshua Handasyde (Healesville), Lucas Parker (Launching Place), Luke Pearse (Yarra Glen), Raph Lever (Healesville), Riley Cameron (Healesville) and Ryan Thompson (Warburton-Millgrove). With their home games based at Queen’s Park, Healesville, the team are looking for a big two weeks of competition. For a full fixture of games, go to mycricket.cricket.com.au and search for VMCU > Josh Browne U12 Plate.
Competing in the Des Nolan Cup, the Under 14 team will be coached by Adam Humphrey (Warburton-Millgrove) with the team represented by Bailey Humphrey (Warburton-Millgrove), Josh Sharp (Warburton-Millgrove), Ryan Gribbrock (Warburton-Millgrove), Angus Smith (Seville), Jai Kettlar (Yarra Junction), Sam Gebert (Healesville), Ryan Vassallo (Gruyere), Cooper Williams (Mt Evelyn), Reece Thomas (Launching Place), Bohdie Jones (Mt Evelyn), Riley Foley (Yarra Junction) and Taykyn Nicolandos (Warburton-Millgrove). With their home games based at Yarra Junction, the team are looking for a competitive effort against Melbourne’s best. For a full fixture of games, go to mycricket.cricket.com.au and search for VMCU > Des Nolan U14 Cup.
The representative cricket doesn’t end there. The Yarra Valley also have good representation amongst teams representing the Outer East Eagles in the Victorian State Championships. The following players have been recognised for their excellent skills; Lucy Sinnott (Wandin) and Taylah Darvell (Mt Evelyn) in the Under 14 Girls, Hayley Fry (Healesville) and Georgia Parker (Launching Place) in the Under 16 Girls, Caitlin Parker (Launching Place) and Ari Taylor (Coldstream) in the Under 18 Girls, and Daniel Ebbels (Healesville) in the Under 14 Boys. To be selected to play in the state’s highest underage competition is a phenomenal achievement.
The Valley’s best Senior cricketers are also beginning their preparations for the VCCL Country Week competition being held in February. With a host of changes to the delivery of the competition, the squad are looking forward to finalising their preparations over the next month. Rick Bean has been reappointed as coach of the team, whilst Mt Evelyn gun all rounder Kane Jones has been appointed the captain of the squad. Training and selection will begin shortly with the hierarchy keen to consolidate their position in Division 2 of the competition after finding it tough going in last year’s competition.

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