Dragons come out firing

Beau Valka starred in his return to Gisborne. Picture Shawn Smits

New Gisborne coach Simon Harman was fairly happy with what he saw first-up from his side in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup.

Harman was appointed to the role in May but only returned to Australia last week from playing in England.

“I missed the preseason as I didn’t know until halfway through the season in England that I’d be coaching,” Harman said. “It’s an exciting time for the club, which is why I wanted to coach.

“There are 90-odd registrations and there’s competition for spots in the top sides.

“I think the club is going so well and being run really well. It would have been more difficult to put my hand up with a poor side.”


Harman was happy to get a first-up win against Romsey.

Batting first, the Dragons battled to 7-141 off their 40 overs before its bowlers did the job, skittling Romsey for just 63.

“It didn’t matter how we won the first round,” Harman said.

“We knew, if we bowled well, we could defend our total.

“We didn’t bat to our full potential or get the balance and tempo of the innings right. But we fielded and bowled well.”

It was some of the fresh faces that stood out for the Dragons. New recruits Beau Valka, Thair Afradi and Jay King all played their roles.

Valka, who has returned to the club from Premier Cricket, top-scored for the Dragons, with 67.

Afradi took three wickets and King took two.

Harrison Wood
Harrison Wood

“There’s a lot more competition for spots this year,” Harman said.

“Afradi, I believe he has played at a fairly high level in the UK. He wanted to come out and play and, through a contact in the UK, we got him out here.”

For Romsey, Paul Wilkinson was best of the bowlers with 4-27. Jamie Taylor top-scored with 15.

The Dragons this week face reigning premiers Sunbury United, who suffered a first-up loss to Woodend.

Woodend made 6-188 off its overs on the back of its top order all making runs.

Jack Mackintosh top-scored with 53, while skipper Adam Johnstone added 48.

In reply, United couldn’t go on with it after making a good start.

They were 3-84, before losing frequent wickets on the way to 7-148, Joshua Smith finishing 67 not out.

Tom Robson (3-21) was best of the bowlers for Woodend.

Last season’s other grand finalist Sunbury also suffered a first-up loss to Bacchus Marsh.

Chasing 137, Bacchus Marsh made the runs with 11 balls to spare.

Riddell defeated Diggers Rest Bulla in the other game.