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Best Eagles of past decade announced

Katandra Cricket Club celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its return to A-grade cricket by naming its first ever Team of the Decade on Saturday night.

DAMEN FRANCIS February 11, 2013 4:20am

Katandra Team of the Decade members Brenton Riordan, Brent Collins, Mark Nolen, Cameron Dudgeon, Ray Ireland, Andrew Riordan, Paul Fry and Jedd Wright.

Katandra Cricket Club celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its return to A-grade cricket by naming its first ever Team of the Decade on Saturday night.

The club was formed 110 years ago, but only a Team of the Century, unveiled in 2002, acknowledged the accomplishments of past players.

After the club’s return to Haisman Shield competition for season 2003-04, a selection committee was formed to recognise one of the most important periods in the club’s history.

Present day captain Adam Cleary, who is only in his third season at the Eagles, said it was important for everyone involved in Katandra cricket to understand the history of the club.

‘‘It was fantastic to see players come back to the club and everyone in the community support it,’’ Cleary said.

‘‘It’s good to hear about the sort of culture past guys had and the struggles they went through to get an A-grade side together.

‘‘When they first started there were three guys over 18 years of age in the team and they did it pretty tough for a while, but the club is much stronger now because of it.’’

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Nolen was named coach and captain of the side, after leading a team with an average age of 19 to the 2009-10 Haisman Shield minor premiership and semi-final, the club’s first A-grade post-season appearance in 17 years.

Joining Nolen at the top of the order was Ian Sartori, a former vice-captain of the Australian country XI, Cricket Shepparton country week captain, Lightfoot medallist and member of the Eagles’ Team of the Century.

Sartori was joined in the side by his two sons, Daniel and Mitch, both brilliant batsmen in their own right, who bat at four and five.

Two current players made the cut, in all-rounder Andrew Riordan and powerhouse batsman Jedd Wright — who was also named vice-captain of the side — at number seven and first drop respectively.

At number six was Sam Wright, brother of Jedd, and now an AFL player with North Melbourne.

In his cricket days, Wright was a front line bowler and also managed two centuries in only 31 appearances for the club.

Paul Fry slotted in at number eight for his ability as batsman and spin bowler.

Ray Ireland and Cameron Dudgeon line up as fast bowlers, with 220 wickets between them throughout the decade.

Dudgeon was also acknowledged for his role in maintaining the records of the club.

Specialist leg-spinner Brent Collins completes the XI, while Brenton Riordan carries the drinks for his consistency as an all-rounder and extraordinary ability in the field.

The vast majority of Eagles returned to the nest, with the exception of the Sartori trio and Sam Wright, who was unable to be released by the Kangaroos for the occasion.

More than 100 people attended the evening at the GV Hotel in Shepparton, including numerous Katandra life members, with a plaque commemorating the team presented to club president Paul Harry.

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