REPRESENTING their local club means more to this team than most.
Tom Grace is the third generation of his family to captain Wallendbeen Cricket Club, a tradition he’s proud to uphold.
Tom and his brother Mitchell came through the ranks with Cootamundra District Junior Cricket and couldn’t wait to make their senior debut for their village.
They may even have the fourth generation captain watching from the sidelines; Mitch’s young son Cameron Grace never misses a match.
Their home ground, Barry Grace Oval, is named for Tom and Mitch’s grandfather.
Barry represented Wallendbeen his entire career and continued to serve the club with his care of the ground long after his playing days.
“We are a very family oriented club,” Tom said.
“It is special to play on this ground, it feels like Pop is there with us.”
The team primarily features Wallendbeen locals who have played together for the past four or five seasons.
The village clearly inspires a lot of pride as former locals including Luke Izzard and Jason Gillies like to reappear in the cricket season.
True to form, the team they love to beat is fellow village side Stockinbingal.
The friendly rivalry has taken a back seat so far this season, their one scheduled clash so far rained out after just five overs
Tom says his team is enjoying playing a greater variety of competitors in the new league, but make no mistake that they’re itching to face off against Stock after the Christmas break.
This year Wallendbeen is strengthened by former Cootamundra first XI bowler Ryan Breese, James Dallas, Harden brothers Josh and Ben Logue, and the village’s newest resident Heath Harrison.
They are undefeated so far but Tom insists there’s no secret to their success.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time, learning how to play as a team and getting down to the nitty gritty,” he said.
Jason, Heath and Luke have all proven themselves capable with the bat, the former having the best innings so far this season with 116 not out.
The list of capable batsmen runs deep as the Grace brothers and Luke are handy all-rounders, and Josh will be hoping for more of his good form when he returns from injury.
The bowling line-up is similarly deep, with quicks Ryan and James leading the attack.
Like most B Grade sides it’s rare to see a week when the entire team is together.
Should that happen come finals time this talented young team will like their chances.