Who will emerge as premiers?

Keep an eye on Silverton in the Turf 3 competition this season. 201525 Picture: ROB CAREW

As cricket in the Dandenong District Cricket Association officially kicks off this weekend, clubs in the Turf 2 and Turf 3 grades have worked hard in the off-season to improve its list ahead of a 2020/21 that will be like no other. DDCA reporter NICK CREELY takes a look at how each club is shaping up ahead of the return of summer’s favourite sport….

DDCA TURF 2

BEACONSFIELD

President: Michael McMahon

Coach: Nathan Goodes

Captain: Nathan Goodes

Last season: Fourth

Most wickets: Callan Tout (25 wickets at 16.2); Jake Cutting (21 wickets at 12.05)

Most runs: Brendan Johnson (364 runs at 30.33); Brad Miles (253 runs at 23)

Ins: Tyler Clark (Kooweerup), Michael Vandort (Parkdale)

Outs: Archy Rajapakse (St Mary’s), Jack Benbow (work commitments), Kevin Baldsing (Silverton)

First match: vs Dandenong West, 21 November, Greaves Reserve

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The Tigers made some terrific progress last season by reaching the Turf 2 semi-final, narrowly edging out Lyndale for fourth spot. Off the back of the momentum gathered from 2019/20, under captain-coach Nathan Goodes, the club will be hoping to continue its rise and challenge for the premiership. The club has welcomed in two quality additions to the batting department – talented youngster Tyler Clark from West Gippsland powerhouse Kooweerup as well as ex-Sri Lankan international Michael Vandort – who returns to the DDCA where he featured for Springvale South a few seasons ago. Unfortunately, the Tigers have lost the experience and class of spinner Jack Benbow this season, but have still got plenty of quality in the sheds that can cover his loss. Expect the Tigers to challenge hard for the finals once more, and if they get there, who knows how far they can go.

Beaconsfield has landed the prized signature of Michael Vandort. 188264 Picture: ROB CAREW

CRANBOURNE

President: Chris Lamb

Coach: Mick Sweeney

Captain: Mick Sweeney

Last season: Sixth

Most wickets: Jordan Margenberg (24 wickets at 18.13); Tim Fathers (20 wickets at 18.75)

Most runs: Sandun Dias (365 runs at 33.18); Cam Kelly (181 runs at 18.1)

Ins: Brad Stephens (Springvale South), Anthony Galley (Clyde), Mick Sweeney (Dandenong), Pete Sweeney (Dandenong), Pardeep Boyal (Cranbourne Meadows), Thomas Marks (South Belgrave), Trishane De Silva (Rowville), Matt Blackman (Rowville)

Outs: Sandun Dias (overseas)

First match: vs Parkfield, 21 November, Parkfield Reserve

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If there’s one thing Cranbourne possess as they enter this season, it’s serious depth. With the addition of the Sweeneys from Dandenong – Mick and Pete – the Eagles are embarking on a new and exciting era, with a huge amount of recruits set to be around the mark for first XI selection. The Eagles had their moments last season and were ultra-competitive in Turf 2 to finish sixth, but with the list of ins, strong retention of its senior core and plenty of youngsters coming through, finals are well and truly on the cards. In what is going to be such a different and unique season in many ways, the leadership of the Sweeneys, combined with a strong off-season and what it will do for club culture is so vital in the quest for more premiership success.

Mick Sweeney has returned home to Cranbourne after a brilliant career with Dandenong.
162338 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

DANDENONG WEST

President: Jack Wind

Coach: Hari Krishan

Captain: Hari Krishan

Last season: Third

Most wickets: Peter Atkinson (26 wickets at 19.46); Andrew Harry (17 wickets at 14.06)

Most runs: Hari Krishan (744 runs at 53.14); Gurpreet Singh (353 runs at 50.43)

Ins: Shaun Weir (Officer)

Outs: Thushira Madanayake (overseas)

First match: vs Beaconsfield, 21 November, Greaves Reserve

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The Westers look incredibly settled heading into the new season, and off the back of a highly successful campaign in which the club finished third on the table, the side under Hari Krishan – who had an absolutely unbelievable individual season – will once again be one to watch. The club welcomes back Shaun Weir after a stint with Officer in the WGCA, but aside from that the Westers will go into the year looking somewhat similar, and will back themselves in to do some damage in the one-day season. With the Turf 2 grade looking incredibly even this season, maybe more so than any other season, the Westers will need to be at their very best from the get go but have enough talent to be able to make another genuine splash at some silverware.

LYNDALE

President: Rodney Keyaerts

Coach: Ferien Silva

Captain: Ben Montgomery

Last season: Fifth

Most wickets: Yohan Soyza (26 wickets at 13.50); Zubair Faruk (15 wickets at 20.87)

Most runs: Priyan De Silva (312 runs at 28.36); Brendan Ash (199 runs at 15.31)

Ins: Dimuth Weerasinghe (Silverton)

Outs: Yohan Soyza (Gormandale)

First match: vs Narre Warren, 21 November, Barry Powell Reserve

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It was a solid season for the club in 2019/20, finishing narrowly outside of finals but building plenty of momentum heading into this season. The loss of Yohan Soyza certainly hurts, with the wicket-machine departing the club, but the recruitment of Dimuth Weerasinghe from Silverton will certainly help to fill that void. With a stable playing list under skipper Ben Montgomery, another push for finals is certainly on the cards, but the challenge is there with the Turf 2 finalists from last season all improving and adding quality to its ranks. With the season looking so incredibly even, the club will back itself in to do some damage.

NARRE NORTH

President: Adrian Osborne

Last season: Last in Turf 2

Most wickets: Nathan Pulham (18 wickets at 26.83); Abid Ali (14 wickets at 20.86)

Most runs: Viraj Gedara Alankara (437 runs at 33.62); Luke Rogers (251 runs at 19.31)

First match: vs Parkmore Pirates, 21 November, Narre Warren North Reserve

**Star News Group has contacted the club for more information

NARRE WARREN

President: Ricky Jones

Coach: Brett Lewis and Tony Young

Captain: TBD

Last season: Seventh

Most wickets: Janaka Gunaratne (19 wickets at 15.79); Nuwan Sampath (14 wickets at 22.5)

Most runs: Janaka Gunaratne (315 runs at 31.50); Zach Allen (279 runs at 39.86)

Ins: Cam Dinger (HSD), Josh Dinger (HSD), Stuart Plunkett (Frankston YCW), John Mentiplay (returning)

Outs: Janaka Gunaratne (Noble Park)

First match: vs Lyndale, 21 November, Barry Powell Reserve

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The Magpies enter the 2020/21 season with plenty of enthusiasm after picking up a swag of new recruits, including quality bowlers Cam and Josh Dinger from HSD, while highly rated Stuart Plunkett joins the club after a really strong stint in the MPCA for Frankston YCW, helping to build plenty of firepower in its ranks. But the loss of Janaka Gunaratne to Noble Park, who has been one of the most dominant cricketers in the association for many years, does hurt, with the all-rounder topping the runs and wickets last season once again for the side in what was another dominant season. But with the additions, and continual growth from its youngsters gives reason to believe the Magpies can push hard for a finals spot and do plenty of damage.

Narre Warren have welcomed some quality players into the club as it looks to bounce back up the ladder.

PARKFIELD

President: David Swierzbiolek

Captain: Stephen Cannon

Coach: Stephen Cannon

Last season: Turf 3 premiers

Most wickets: Nicholas Jeffery (31 wickets at 11.94); Matthew Goodier (27 wickets at 16.22)

Most runs: Travis D’Souza (494 runs at 35.29); Tanil Dehigaspitiya (266 runs at 19)

Ins: Dishan Malalasekera (Kingston Hawthorn), Matthew North (East Ballarat/Kingston Hawthorn)

Outs: Roshane Cooray (Dandenong)

First match: vs Cranbourne, 21 November, Parkfield Reserve

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The reigning Turf 3 premiers were the best side last season in their grade, and will now take the step up to Turf 2 for their latest challenge, and it’s one they are going to seriously relish. Crucially, the Parkers have held on to its core senior players and added two classy cricketers in Dishan Malalasekera and Matthew North who will add firepower and experience to the group. Under captain-coach Stephen Cannon, there is no ceiling on what the side can produce in 2020/21, and with plenty of momentum off the back of a memorable premiership last season, excitement is high ahead of what is going to be a season where attacking sides, and depth, will play a huge part in how far a club can go.

 

PARKMORE PIRATES

President: Harry Masson

Coach: N/A

Captain: Ashwin Nash

Last season: Runner-up

Most wickets: Amal Athulathmudali (37 wickets at 14.27); Niranjen Kumar (28 wickets at 12.14)

Most runs: Amal Athulathmudali (616 runs at 51.33); Bevin Corneille (372 runs at 26.57)

Ins: Johann Brohier (returning)

Outs: Amal Athulathmudali (Noble Park), Aditya Ganesh, Anurudhdha Fonseka (Carlisle Park Vikings), Bevin Corneille (Dingley)

First match: vs Narre North, 21 November, Narre Warren North Reserve

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The Pirates came so agonisingly close to pulling off a brilliant Turf 2 premiership last season against Dingley, in what was overall an incredibly impressive 2019/20 campaign. But it’s a different season, and the influx of quality coming out of the club, no more than club great Amal Athulathmudali who was extraordinary with both bat and ball again, as well as the losses of Aditya Ganesh and Anurudhdha Fonseka do hurt in a big way. But there’s no reason to think that the Pirates can’t use those losses to their advantage, and unearth more talent and see a significant lift from its senior core, with the side under new captain Ashwin Nash expected to push hard to remain in finals contention. With the season being played in a one-day format, the Pirates still have plenty of quality in the first XI, including batsman Johann Brohier who returns to the club, so the club has plenty of confidence that another strong season is on its way.

Despite some key losses, Parkmore Pirates are a dangerous side.
206260 Picture: ROB CAREW

 

DDCA TURF 3

BERWICK SPRINGS

President: Grant Hillman

Coach: Jake Whiting

Captain: Archit Vora and Jake Whiting

Last season: Seventh

Most wickets: Stephen Brooks (23 wickets at 15.22); Josh Mackenzie (18 wickets at 16.5)

Most runs: Stephen Brooks (273 runs at 22.75); Josh Amsterdam (182 runs at 15.17)

Ins: Jake Whiting (returning), Nick Shannon (returning)

Outs: Josh Mackenzie

First match: vs Keysborough, 21 November, Rowley Allan Reserve

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It was a seventh placed finish for the club last season in the first XI, registering four wins but showing plenty of promise ahead of 2020/21. The Titans will be delighted to welcome back Jake Whiting and Nick Shannon to the club to strengthen the side this season, while Archit Vora is also locked in for a full-season after spending time with Balmain South Sydney last year and will co-captain alongside Whiting. Add that to a pretty stable senior list and the Titans loom as a side that is capable of taking the next step and pushing for a Turf 3 finals spot.

COOMOORA

President: Daniel Caughey

Coach: Abhinav Bhatia

Captain: Liam Hard

Last season: Last in Turf 3

Most wickets: Avisha Wilwalaarachchi (21 wickets at 17.71); Paul Hill (11 wickets at 16.91)

Most runs: Paul Hill (343 runs at 38.11); Liam Hard (308 runs at 23.69)

Ins: Nick Suppree (Mackie), Jojo Amaah (Mackie), Liam Mccabe (Mackie), Michael Klonaridis (Noble Park), Andrew O’Meara (Noble Park), Ben Edmunds, Tyrell Panditharatne (Endeavour Hills), Lachie Cummins (Endeavour Hills), Awais Ahmed (Endeavour Hills), Abhinav Bhatia (Mulgrave Wheelers Hill)

Outs: Paul Hill (Springvale South)

First match: vs Fountain Gate, Max Pawsey Reserve

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The Roos have set about to recruit heavily after a disappointing 2019/20 season, and have added some quality names expected to push for first XI selection to the fold under new playing-coach Abhinav Bhatia, who comes across to the club after over 400 runs for Mulgrave Wheelers Hill, as well as reigning club champion Liam Hard who has been promoted to captain the side. Paul Hill to Springvale South is a major loss for the club, with the star doing it with both bat and ball last season, but the Roos will be optimistic that it can bounce back with its recruits and core senior group who are looking to take another step.

DOVETON

President: John Smart

Coach: Kaine Bundy

Captain: Ryan Hendy

Last season: Turf 4 premiers

Most wickets: Kenneth Smart (51 wickets at 8.37); Glenn Bundy (28 wickets at 12.04)

Most runs: Ryan Hendy (355 runs at 44.38); Kaine Bundy (268 runs at 17.87)

Ins: N/A

Outs: N/A

First match: vs Lynbrook, 21 November, Marriott Waters Reserve

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It was complete and utter dominating from the Turf 4 premiers last season, who stormed to a first XI premiership. But a new challenge awaits the club in the Turf 3 grade, and expect the side to look all but the same as they look to make a splash. Fresh off a truly remarkable 117 and 7/70 in the Turf 4 grand final against Springvale South, Ryan Hendy will captain the side this season and will be a player to once again keep an eye on, while its senior core such as Glenn Bundy, Ricky Johnson, Stuart Johnson, Ken Smart and Kaine Bundy will be hoping to fire against some new opponents.

FOUNTAIN GATE

President: Michael Kelaart

Coach: Tony Verrall

Captain: Caleb Millman

Last season: Sixth

Most wickets: Rodni Kumara (18 wickets at 16.33); Jasdeep Singh (10 wickets at 11.90)

Most runs: Caleb Millman (285 runs at 31.67); Stephen White (178 runs at 22.25)

Ins: Rumesh Rangana (Narre South), Tony Verrall (Washington Park)

Outs: N/A

First match: vs Coomoora, 21 November, Max Pawsey Reserve

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Despite the club’s sixth placed finish last season, Fountain Gate played some strong cricket throughout last season and will be hoping to continue its improvement and push hard for a finals spot. The Gators bring in Rumesh Rangana, an exciting top-order batsman with Turf 1 experience at Narre South, and he will slot straight in and play a big role for the side, while experienced coach Tony Verrall joins the club as well. Under skipper Caleb Millman, who topped the run tally with 285 last season and continues to excite, the Gators look well set for a tilt at finals and will trouble plenty of sides with its vast amount of depth.

Can boom recruit Rumesh Rangana help Fountain Gate up the ladder in Turf 3? 188187 Picture: GARY SISSONS

KEYSBOROUGH

President: Daniel McConville

Coach: Stephen Hennigan

Captain: Jackson O’Brien

Last season: Fifth

Most wickets: Daniel Banhidi (27 wickets at 17.37); Hennadige Fernando (18 wickets at 20.22)

Most runs: Jackson O’Brien (403 runs at 31); Daniel Banhidi (310 runs at 25.83)

Ins: Christo Otto (Dingley), Mark Otto (Dingley), Jake Hennigan (returning)

Outs: Kyle Murdoch

First match: vs Berwick Springs, 21 November, Rowley Allan Reserve

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Just sitting outside finals in 2019/20, Keysborough will be eyeing off a spot in the Turf 3 finals and are well-placed after a strong off-season. The recruitment of all-rounder Christo Otto is huge – he has made some big runs and taken a stack of wickets for Dingley over a long period of time, including at Turf 1 level – while the return of another gun all-rounder in Jake Hennigan seriously boosts the side. Once again led by batsman Jackson O’Brien, the Knights loom as a side to keep an eye on in 2020/21, and in a one-day season, there is plenty of firepower there to lift them towards finals..

Club president Daniel McConville.

LYNBROOK

President: Kevin Clare

Coach: Chris Jarrett

Captain: Jay Walia

Last season: Third

Most wickets: Jesse Walia (32 wickets at 13.09); Varun Singh (26 wickets at 13.08)

Most runs: Varun Singh (294 runs at 29.40); Jay Walia (288 runs at 22.15)

Ins: N/A

Outs: N/A

First match: vs Doveton, 21 November, Marriott Waters Reserve

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The Lakers were one of the top sides in Turf 3 last season, moving from last in 2018/19 to reach a semi-final and bring in plenty of momentum heading into 2020/21. With the ball last season the club was particularly dangerous, with Jesse Walia and Varun Singh combining for an incredibly impressive 58 wickets, with Singh also topping runs in what was a terrific individual season. With great leaders in Jay Walia and coach Chris Jarrett, the Lakers will once again be around the mark and back themselves to go one step further on the terrific gains made last season.

Varun Singh was a big wicket-taker last season.

SILVERTON

President: Justin King

Coach: Simon Beshara

Captain: Simon Beshara

Last season: Runner-up

Most wickets: Selva Tharaka (33 wickets at 11.27); Wijenayake Weerarathna (26 wickets at 17.23)

Most runs: Selva Tharaka (401 runs at 30.85); Luke Rhodes (342 runs at 28.50)

Ins: Dylan Hayes (Lynbrook), Sachintha Silva (overseas), Kevin Baldsing (Beaconsfield)

Outs: Dimuth Weerasinghe (Lyndale)

First match: vs Springvale, 21 November, Springvale Reserve

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The Bakers were another club to lift itself off the canvas and come from almost the bottom of the Turf 3 ladder to finals last season, finishing runner-up to Parkfield in a thrilling grand final in what was a brilliant season for the first XI. And the Bakers seem intent on going one step further and clinching some silverware, with strong recruits in Dylan Hayes, Sachintha Silva and the return of favourite son Kevin Baldsing bolstering the side. Led well by captain-coach Simon Beshara, the Bakers have plenty of depth, some strong kids coming through and an appetite to once more be right up there in the race for the Turf 3 flag.

Keep an eye on Silverton in the Turf 3 competition this season. 201525 Picture: ROB CAREW

SPRINGVALE

President: Shannon Lindsay

Coach: Nasrat Malikzada

Captain: Shannon Lindsay

Last season: Fourth

Most wickets: Sachintha Rajapakse (31 wickets at 12.23); Michael De Kauwe (19 wickets at 10.84)

Most runs: Nuwan Mendis (334 runs at 23.86); Buddhika Janith (301 runs at 30.10)

Ins: Hasindu Waduge (Meeniyan Dumbalk United)

Outs: Buddhika Janith (North Dandenong)

First match: vs Silverton, 21 November, Springvale Reserve

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Springvale enjoyed an excellent 2019/20 season, finishing in fourth position and gathering plenty of momentum into this season. Little movement in or out of the club keeps the side looking fairly steady, but the loss of Buddhika Janith does hurt the batting stocks after he departed for North Dandenong, but the club has gained all-rounder Hasindu Waduge, who will add some added quality to the side with both bat and ball. Another finals push is on the cards for Shannon Lindsay’s side, but with all clubs seemingly looking to improve, the challenge awaits..

**All information is correct at the time of going to print

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