MOUNT Burr looks well-placed to defend its premiership when the Millicent and District Cricket Association starts its 2018/19 season in the coming weeks.
No firm dates have yet been announced by association officials but the reigning premiers have their house well and truly in order.
They have re-elected opening batsman Jordan Muhovics to the dual roles of club captain and club president.
He has overseen the on-field and off-field antics of the club and it has the 2017/18 premiership pennant to prove it.
Muhovics has gone close to notching up the coveted three-digit score and this season might be the time.
An upbeat assessment of Mount Burr’s chances has been given by club and MDCA stalwart and premiership player Jeremy Peters.
“We are looking to be around the same playing strength as last year,” Peters said.
“There are no losses and our kids will improve out of sight.
“I reckon Jack Francis is capable of batting top four this year.
“I have heard Robe and Tantanoola are struggling and if Tantanoola do not have a team we will try to get Corey Baker to play for us.
“I’m hoping to be able to play a full year as well this year after missing an entire year in 2016/17 and not playing until after Christmas last year.
“Tim Schultz who played in the tied grand final and the winning replay a few years ago is also planning on playing again.
“We are also hoping to get Mount Burr United Football Club coach Tom Renzi to play a few games as he’s a handy batter.”
As usual, one of the social highlights of the 2018/19 season for the Mount Burr and Rendelsham clubs will be the clash of past players for the Smith/Walker Trophy.
The MDCA and the two clubs instituted the annual trophy a few years ago in memory of two late cricketers: “Mick” Walker and Ian (“Rocky”) Smith.
Both men served in the armed forces during World War II and then returned to their home communities and to sport, work and their families.
Walker was a football and cricket stalwart at Mount Burr until his death in 2011 while Smith was likewise actively involved in the Hatherleigh Football Club and Rendelsham Cricket Club a few years ago.
Rendelsham would be glad to see top-order batsman Sam Telfer has returned to his home district mid-year after a lengthy European working holiday.
The club would again be looking to the further development of teenager Ethan Bowman who won the prestigious Gillap Trophy for junior cricketers awarded by the MDCA last season.
Rendelsham has again extended an invitation to former Adelaide University Cricket Club top-order batsman Tony Pasin to play a game during the coming season.
Pasin’s abilities were tested in one pre-Christmas match last season by the Millicent Black Hats and he earned kudos for “walking” after getting a faint nick on a delivery which was accepted by the wicket-keeper.
As a law student, Pasin played for “The Blacks” in the South Australian Cricket Association competition.
He is better known as the Federal member for Barker since 2013.
Speaking of one-off appearances, the Rendelsham Cricket Club would always welcome back “prodigal son” Ben Parish.
His career began with the club over 15 years ago and took him to England and Australian Country honours.
Parish belted 138 not out a few seasons ago at “Mick” and Jean Walker Oval at Mount Burr.
Parish had played junior cricket at Rendelsham and then played A Grade cricket in the MDCA at the age of 14 with Furner-Beachport Parish later headed to the Roseworthy campus of the University of Adelaide.
With his stylish batting and handy bowling, Parish was a SA Country representative for a few years and played A Grade for Port Adelaide in the SACA District competition.
He is a footballer of note and last played A Grade in this region in 2010 with Robe in the Mid South East Football League.
Arguably the best cricketer in the Furner district is batsman Jase Bateman but he is continuing to play on turf wickets with Penola in the Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association.
A highlight for Furner/Beachport last season was its hosting of Rendelsham and the staging of the Pink Stumps Day for the McGrath Breast Cancer Foundation.
MDCA powerhouse club Millicent Footballers may be inspired by the heroics of their clubmates during the Western Border Football League season and achieve the rare winter/summer premiership double.
Their fellow McLaughlin Park tenants are the Millicent Black Hats and they would be aiming to reach the season decider as they did in 2017/18.
The Colts also play at Facey Oval and its members always enjoy the social side of cricket.
Like Tantanoola, Robe struggled to field a team last season and there is an added challenge for it this summer.
The Robe Football Club has secured a long-term $100,000 council loan for facility and oval improvements.
The Robe Oval was water-logged for much of winter and its coming drainage upgrade may impact on the availability for cricket.
The possibility of using the J.D. Lea Oval at Robe Primary School is under consideration.
The ninth club in the MDCA is Kingston which always fields a competitive team.