Hay's most decorated cricket player is starting a new life in Albury, and has played his last game for the Hybrids.By Shaun Connor
Hay’s Mick Howard has been a respected and influential figure in the Deniliquin District Cricket Association for more than 15 years.
He is one of the best modern-era batsman to have played in the Deniliquin competition, and next month, he will say goodbye to his beloved Hybrids and move on to Albury.
The 42 year-old, commonly dubbed ‘Rattle’, captained his last game for Hay earlier this month, and talking to the Pastoral Times this week, he reflected on a long and illustrious career - although it may not be over just yet.
‘‘I’ve been playing cricket since I was a grasshopper,’’ Howard said.
‘‘I got my first senior game when I was 13. That was in the old Hay competition which had six teams.’’
More than a decade later Hay joined the Deniliquin competition for the 1996-97 season, and since then, Howard has played more than 350 A grade games for the Hybrids - more than any other player.
During that time, Howard has lined up against, and alongside, some the best cricketers to ever play in the DDCA.
He ranks current players Brad Todd and Brian King among the best he has seen, but says there is none better than Juniors legend Andrew Grimshaw.
‘‘I rate Andrew Grimshaw as the best player I have ever played with or against,’’ Howard said.
‘‘I remember we played an O’Farrell Cup game against Leeton in the late ‘90s and Grimmy made 44 but he didn’t run once - they were all fours and sixes.
‘‘That was probably the best innings I have ever seen.’’
In that game Deni batted first, setting the title holders a target of 280 and then almost bowling them out for less than 200, but rain stopped the game and Leeton held on to the Cup.
Howard also represented Deniliquin in two Bendigo Country Week campaigns while Grimshaw was captain, and has played for Riverina and NSW Country under-24 sides.
As far as individual honours go, the Hay legend is extremely well decorated.
Howard has taken out the trophy for Hay’s best batting average a staggering 10 times, as well as winning eight Beisel awards for the best allrounder.
He has also twice finished runner-up in the DDCA Cricket of the Year award.
But it’s all about the team game with Howard, and he has plenty of premiership medallions to show for it.
‘‘I’ve won six flags (in the DDCA),’’ Howard said.
‘‘The last grand final (against RSL/West in 2011-12) was the best game of cricket I’ve been in involved in.’’
The Hybrids were surprise winners in the ‘11-12 final, forging a remarkable comeback to overthrow hot favourites RSL/West.
The game instantly went down in DDCA folklore as the best grand final ever played in Deniliquin.
There is a chance Howard could add to his trophy cabinet when he moves to Albury, where his wife has accepted a new job.
‘‘I reckon I’ll have a crack in Albury,’’ Howard said.
‘‘There’s a local bloke over there, Robbie Jackson, who is the captain-coach of Wodonga.
‘‘He’s played for NSW Country before and apparently it’s a pretty strong competition over there.
‘‘I’ll have a chat to him and see what happens.’’
Police are negotiating with a man at a caravan park in Congupna, near Shepparton.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
Outreach worker Les Twentyman, a local policeman and ERH worker, were among guest speakers at the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service community forum about substance abuse last week.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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