Valleys - a good team out of Luck
Moonee Valley's crew who ventured to the Lucknow Cricket Club for our games: L-R:
Back - Mark Cini, Ryan Fairclough, Amit Chaudhary, Tom King, Mark Gauci, Sean O'Kane, Peter Golding,
Bede Gannon, Craig Pridham, Matt Thomas, Arosha Perera, Tony Sherer, Pat Taylor.
Front - Raj Aiyappan, Lou Raffaele, David Roach, Peter O'Kane, Josh Maginness, Ben Thomas, Phill King.
Twenty-one Moonee Valley players ventured down to Bairnsdale on the September 12/13 weekend for two practice matches against the Lucknow Cricket Club.
Lucknow prevailed in both games, but they were good hit-outs for Moonee Valley.
We're planning to build on our relationship with Lucknow and hold pre-season practice matches each year, and Lucknow has already offered to host the 2010 games.
Left - coach Lou Raffaele hits
out in the matting game.
The common theme to the relationship is the McKeown family, with Geoff as the wicketkeeper in the Moonee Valley Firsts and his brother Brent a mainstay at Lucknow.
Lucknow's turf ground is not used for winter sports, so the wicket was up and ready and gave our top-grade players the opportunity for a quality hit-out before the season started. They played a combined side of Lucknow and Bruthen players.
Our second team played against some of Lucknow's wise heads and up-and comers on the adjoining matting pitch, and it turned out to be a close tussle, with Lucknow passing our total in the second-last over eight wickets down.
Firsts captain Mark Gauci was pleased with Moonee Valley's showing on turf, with a chance to see new recruits Craig Pridham and David Roach in action for the first time. They both showed plenty of class.
A group of Valley players ventured to Bairnsdale on Friday evening, while the others arrived on Saturday morning. Some players went back after the game, while others stayed until Sunday.
Bairnsdale's Grand Terminus Hotel in Lucknow CC's major sponsor, so we did the right thing by our hosts and stayed at the hotel for the one or two nights that we had players in town.
Our initial negotiations with Lucknow were around us swapping as hosts each pre-season, but the offer of their president Paul to host again next year was hard to resist, as Moonee Valley isn't able to get its turf wicket ready until the season opener.
And with excellent hosts like Lucknow, we'd be silly not to jump at their offer.
Above: Players from both clubs get together after the game
in the cameraderie of cricket.
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