There will be 11 teams taking to the field this weekend to do battle for the Goulburn Valley Afghan Community Shield.MATTHEW GALEA December 27, 2013 4:10am
Ali Reza, tournament organiser Manzour Ali and Hussain Hamid pose with the shield they will all be playing for at this weekend’s Goulburn Valley Afghan Community Shield.
Cricket Shepparton might have entered its Christmas recess, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any district cricket to enjoy.
Manzour Ali has been busy preparing for another edition of the Goulburn Valley Afghan Community Shield, a Twenty20 competition that continues to grow, which starts today.
‘‘This comp has been running for about six years now and it just continues to grow every year,’’ Ali said.
‘‘Last year we had seven and now we have 11 (teams).
‘‘We’ve got four teams from Melbourne, five from Shepparton, one from Sydney and one from Adelaide as well.’’
Ali said he was surprised at how the competition had continued to grow, given its only real advertisement came through flyers posted on the Shepp Afghans Cricket Club Facebook page.
‘‘We thought that this time of year is very busy with people going on holidays and stuff,’’ Ali said.
‘‘We weren’t sure how many we’d get, but we’ve been very lucky to get 11 and hopefully the weather is good.’’
Hazara Pioneers, winners of the winter tournament in June, will return in the hope of winning back-to-back shields.
Ali, who plays for the Shepp Afghans, hoped his side would take the spoils this time, after losing in the past grand final.
‘‘Shepp Afghans have been making finals for the last seven years, but we’ve been losing every time,’’ Ali said.
The majority of the teams are filled with Afghani players, but the growth of the competition has been reflected with the introduction of Moorookie, a team comprised of players from Cricket Shepparton clubs Mooroopna and Dookie, while Spankas is a team comprised mainly of Shepparton and Youth Club United players.
Play starts this morning, with games between Moorookie and Adelaide, Hazara Club and Spankas and Khalsa Tigers and IACC all starting at 8.30
Games will be at the two pitches at Leon Heath oval at Mooroopna, as well as Victory Park in Shepparton.
Each team will play two games, with the first four teams to win two progressing straight to the semi-finals, which will start on Sunday, with the final being played on the same day at Princess Park.
The winner will take home $500, with the runner-up winning $250.
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