Bringing it all together back to Barooga
Bringing it all together back to Barooga - and
a rare honor for our Sean
A Moonee Valley win - just like in 2009/10. L-R: Back - Amit Chaudhary, Dean Jukic, Daniel Phillips, Sean O'Kane, Matt Thomas, Craig Pridham, Kane Harding, Mark O'Kane, Mark Gauci, Ryan Fairclough and Pat Felmingham. Front - Peter O'Kane, Rajan Aiyappan.
Moonee Valley had multiple reasons to celebrate at the Barooga Over 35s tournament in January - and the Valley Boys (and girls) turned out in force to ensure that the Wednesday night was one to remember.
The January 15-18 tournament was the fifth year in a row that Moonee Valley has been represented, and also gave us the chance to hold reunions for the MVCC 2009/10 First Eleven and 2014/15 Sixth Eleven flags.
Not to be outdone, the Barooga Cricket Club kicked in with their own reunion, of their 1996/97 Premiership.
There was the one constant in all the multiple celebrations - Moonee Valley's Barooga-born Sean O'Kane.
He played in both our flags and the Barooga premiership, initiated our annual Barooga Masters entry and with Mark Gauci, Daniel Phillips and Neil King is the only played to have competed in all of them.
And to top it off, the Moonee Valley Cricket Club bestowed Life Membership on Sean in a surprise presentation which caught him completely off guard.
At right: Overwhelmed - Sean O'Kane speaks after being awarded Life Membership of the Moonee Valley Cricket Club.
Sixths teammate Brett Curran and Club president Charlie Walker spoke, and Sean had no inkling what was about to be announced until the last few words. Close mate and Premiership teammate Dean Jukic pinned the Life Membership medallion on his chest - and the large crowd - more than 40 Moonee Valley players and supporters and a big Barooga crowd - erupted.
Sean used his Life Member powers to make an edict, and as a result a merry band of teammates stayed the night at the Barooga Cricket Club and greeted the dawn on the Thursday morning.
Oh, and by the way - we won the Wednesday match in a canter, Sean took a wicket and showed his trademark power hitting and incredible fielding, and was chaired off the ground by his brothers Mark and Peter.
While all three O'Kanes have played cricket at Moonee Valley, the Wednesday match was the first time they had ever played together. SOK opened the batting with POK, who was then joined by MOK at the fall of the first wicket.
Peter said they'd played together "in the bathroom" at home as kids, but never on the field together until under the Valley banner at their home town Barooga.
At left: Chaired off after the win, and with a wicket in his last over. Sean O'Kane with his brothers Peter (left) and Mark.
The reunions attracted players from far and wide.
Eight of the players from the First Eleven flag took to the field for the Wednesday game under lights at the magnificent Barooga No. 1 oval - Rajan Aiyappan, Amit Chaudhary, Mark Gauci, Sean O'Kane, Kane Harding, Matt Thomas, Pat Felmingham, Craig Pridham - Matt and Pat as 12th men as they don't qualify for the Over-35s age criteria.
The Sixths Premiers were also well represented at the reunion - Brett Curran, Paul Hobbs, Sean O'Kane, Kevin Gardiner, Paul Edwards, Peter O'Kane, Mark Gauci and Dean Jukic. And regulars from that season in Norm Wright, Mark Madden and Tony Sherer - over from America with Clarissa - made the trek to Barooga for the occasion.
UK player Kris Garland, who played two seasons with Moonee Valley - one sharing an Ascot Vale house as a guest of Sean - came out from England to be part of the celebrations, and pulled on the Valley whites for three games on his flying visit.
Thanks to Daniel Phillips and Michael Ozbun for organising the special emerald green Valley shirts, which all had the name SOK printed on the back. They were quite outstanding on players and supporters alike, and will be a lasting memento of our Barooga fifth anniverary.
The Moonee Valley Cricket Club thanks Mick O'Dwyer for again hosting the Barooga Over 35s tournament and putting on the hospitality of the Barooga Cricket Club - which included turning a blind eye to Sean and the crew taking over the rooms and the bar until dawn.
Above: SOK's in the gully as the Valley's pack the cordon for Craig Pridham's attempted hat-trick ball - nowhere near it!
**********For more pictures from the night and the tournament, click HERE
*****And here's some video of Sean's Life Membership speech, recorded by Tony Gleeson
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