By Nick Creely
Covid-19 has had a significant impact on local sport, but despite the turmoil that ensued in 2020, more and more clubs are emerging even stronger from it.
In fact, they are now flourishing as they move through the difficulties that they were faced with.
The Parkmore Pirates, based out of Keysborough and playing in the powerful Dandenong District Cricket Association’s Turf 2 competition, are an example of a club that is slowly overcoming the impacts of 2020 and clawing back with the help of its members, dedicated playing group and sponsors.
It was a turbulent off-season for the club with a number of first XI players departing the Pirates – including champion all-rounder Amal Athulathmudal and Niranjen Kumar, and gun batsmen Bevin Cornielle, Aditya Ganesh and Anurudda Fonseka.
Parkmore Pirates president Harry Masson admits that, at times, through the off-season they weren’t sure whether they could field a competitive Turf 2 side and praised the club’s sponsors and members for its ‘next man up’ mentality under captain Ashwin Nash.
But incredibly, the Pirates – who were runners-up last season and finished just seven runs from a grand final victory – are right in the thick of the finals race, despite the many obstacles that have been in the club’s way.
There have been some outstanding individual performances from the Pirates to help fill the void – namely Madhawa Fonseka, who has become one of the competition’s most dangerous bowlers, opening bat Mohomad Safras, and skipper Ashwin Nash.
“It just goes to show the next man up mentality we have as a club,” Masson said.
“I can’t commend enough the job Ash and the boys have done to not only keep this club afloat, but to make a mark on the competition as well given who we lost.
“It’s been so impressive to see what Ash and the boys are doing on the field.
“We’re really excited about what we can do as a club this season.”
But Masson said that without strong support from local sponsors he wasn’t sure how the club would be able to function this season – but he is proud it is fielding four senior sides.
“We’ve had at least one major sponsor from the last few years stop supporting the club this year, which is obviously disappointing,” he said.
“However, we are very fortunate to have sponsors like Area Specialist and ISS, who stand up and support community organisations like ours.
“It just shows how much they care about the club and the community.”
The Parkmore Pirates’ Turf 2 side will take on Parkfield at home on Saturday in a vitally important match in the context of the season.