After winning three titles at last year's carnival, Cricket Shepparton faces some stiff competition in its quest to retain them at this year's Junior Country Week.HANNAH DRISCOLL January 3, 2014 4:41am
Cricket Shepparton scored a clean sweep at Junior Country Week last year. Cricket Shepparton's under-16 captain Joel Brett and under-16 colts captain Jono Mandaradoni hope they can do the same this year as both vie for the under-16A crown.
Cricket Shepparton faces a tough challenge to hold onto its treble of Junior Country Week trophies.
Last year the association swept the board in the under-16A, under-16B and under-14 finals in what officials at the time believed was the first time Shepparton had secured all three in the same year.
This year’s tournament starts on Monday, and Cricket Shepparton will field two teams in the under-16A and under-14 competitions, as well as an under-15 team in the under-16B competition.
Cricket Shepparton’s junior co-ordinator Steven Nash said it was the first time Shepparton had fielded two under-16A and under-14 sides.
‘‘Under-16s is a pretty strong age group, because a lot of these kids are playing A-grade, B-grade, C-grade so we thought it was strong enough to put two teams in,’’ he said.
‘‘We took a colts team over to Bendigo (last year) to play in the Bendigo Challenge and they were competitive.
‘‘They were a bit overawed, but hopefully they’ve had one game under their belts and hopefully they’ll go quite well in that comp.’’
Jono Mandaradoni, who has played six matches with reigning Haisman Shield premier Karramomus this season, will captain the colts team.
Nash said he was a a regular in the senior team, ‘‘so that gives us a bit of leadership in there’’.
Cricket Shepparton’s under-15s also won the McPherson Shield last year, and Nash said they would be out to defend both titles this year.
But they face an unknown in the visiting under-15 team from the ACT, as well as competition from Murray Valley Cricket Association and Goulburn Murray Cricket.
‘‘It would be nice, but it may not happen,’’ Nash said.
In both the under-16A and under-14 draws, the Cricket Shepparton and Cricket Shepparton Colts teams will face competition from MVCA, GMC, Bendigo District and Seymour District Cricket Associations.
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