The new Deniliquin District Cricket Association representative team will starts its Murray Valley campaign on Saturday.By Shaun Connor
Deniliquin cricketers are busy preparing for their first ever onslaught on the Murray Valley Cricket Association, with their first game this Saturday.
The permanent representative side, known as the Deniliquin Rhinos, is the pinnacle of the new-look Deniliquin District Cricket Association, and was lifted off the ground thanks to Andrew Jefferies of Rhino Tanks.
Rhino Tanks is one of the side’s major sponsors, with others including the Globe Hotel, Sportsman’s Arms Hotel, Riverina Watermatic, IGA and Harvey Norman.
Jefferies has pitched in thousands of dollars to get the new team up and running, building two new sight screens to be placed at Memorial Park’s No. 3 oval and organising brand new covers for the pitch.
‘‘To join the MVCA a club has to be professional in its approach to all aspects of cricket,’’ Jefferies said.
‘‘There are standards that have to be met, such as the quality of the pitch, the quality of the outfield, there must be sight screens, and it’s compulsory to have wicket covers for the centre pitch area.
‘‘With uniforms and other gear it has cost over $15,000 to set up the club.’’
Deniliquin is playing in the top tier of the MVCA, the Premier division, with rounds one and two being played as T20 games on Saturday.
The Rhinos take on Cobram-Yarroweyah United and Katamatite at Barooga, with their first home game a one-day match against Jerilderie on October 12.
Star allrounder Brad Todd has been named as the inaugural captain of the team, but is overseas and will miss the first few games.
Batsmen Tim Hillier or Anthony Bradley will take on the captaincy in Todd’s absence.
‘‘It’s a bit hard to gauge how (the Rhinos) will go in the new competition, we don’t really know what to expect,’’ Hillier said.
‘‘We are feeling pretty confident, though, after such a strong representative season (in 2012/13).’’
Hillier said the four-team DDCA will act as a feeder competition into the Rhinos side, with Brian King, Mark Tasker and Gerry Corrigan heading the board of selectors.
All Rhinos players are affiliated with a DDCA team.
There is also a Rhinos development squad.
‘‘Any player in a DDCA team can play for the Rhinos. If a guy makes a couple of hundreds in a row in the DDCA he’ll get a run,’’ Hillier said.
‘‘But the thing is, the MVCA stipulates you must finalise your squad of 16 after Christmas. Before that, anyone can play.’’
For example, if 20 different players don the red Rhinos uniform before Christmas, a final squad of 16 must be chosen to take part in the second part of the season.
‘‘We’ll be blooding a lot of the development squad kids this season,’’ Hillier said.
‘‘It’s a squad of about 10 juniors and they train with us every Wednesday.
‘‘One or two of them will get a run each week, with Todd Marshall likely to line up with us on Saturday.’’
For a preview of Deniliquin’s T20 games against CYU and Katamatite, see Friday’s Pastoral Times.
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