ONE of the greatest cricketers to grace the ovals of the Goulburn Valley has passed on.
Legendary Tongala wicket-keeper Jimmy Ogden, 81, pulled up stumps for the final time last Thursday after battling ill health for several years.
He had been in a Moama nursing home for the last three years and suffered a fall a few days prior to his death.
Jim was one of the most efficient and slickest wicketkeepers — some say the best — to have played in the former Kyabram District Cricket Association when playing with the Tongala Cricket Club in the 1950s and 1960s.
He stood up to the stumps to the quickest bowlers in the KDCA including the legendary Rushworth quick Mal McLeod, arguably the greatest fast bowler to have played in competition in the last 60 years.
Jim was so talented as a ’keeper he was wooed by Melbourne Premier League club Fitzroy early in his career.
He played four games in the top Victorian competition with Fitzroy and rumour has it he returned to play at Tongala because the keeper he replaced at Fitzroy protested so strongly the club reinstated him at Jim’s expense.
Jim was also a competent middle order batsman who could make runs in a hurry.
He was one of the first players chosen in KDCA representative sides and for many years kept wickets for the KDCA teams competing at Melbourne Country Cricket Week.
He also represented Country Victoria against visiting international teams.
Jim was also a handy footballer for Tongala.
After his cricketing career finished at Tongala, he ended his playing career with the Moama Cricket Club in the Campaspe Cricket Association. He also coached junior cricket sides after retiring as a player.
Funeral arrangements are still being made but it is hoped it can be held at Moama Catholic Church next week.
Cats seniors drop to reserves
HAS the Kyabram District Football League done the right thing with its relegation of Ardmona Football Club’s senior side to the reserves competition for the remainder of this season?
It’s fair to say two massive losses in the first two rounds of the season wouldn’t have been the end of the merciless slaughter if the team had remained in the senior competition of the league.
And while the league and the club are confident the Cats can rebuild its ranks to field a senior side and will give every encouragement they can in the future, realistically it’s going to be a tough road to hoe.
The obvious first question to be answered is: How can a club entice senior grade players to the club if it’s only got a reserves side?
It does field a thirds side as well but producing enough players from these ranks to play senior football at an acceptable standard could take years to achieve.
And that’s, of course provided these younger players stick around the club, which is no guarantee in these times when players leave clubs at the drop of a hat.
It is certainly going to be interesting to see how it all plays out and good luck to Ardmona if it can do it, because it will need it.
Goal bonanza short of league record
ROB Osborne’s 28-goal haul for Rushworth against Ardmona in the second round of the Kyabram District Football League season may have been a club record but not a league record.
The league record belongs to Craig Whelan with a whopping 34 goals for Avenel, also kicked against Ardmona, in the 2011 season.
At Rushworth Daniel Lambden held the record with 27 goals, also against Ardmona.
Six Bombers in interleague squad
SIX Kyabram players have been named in the Goulburn Valley League squad to represent the league in a much anticipated clash with the Ovens and Murray League in May.
But one Kyabram name that is not there that probably should be is Jordan Williams.
The classy and mobile left-footed link player is the reigning Kyabram best and fairest winner and is in the prime of his career.
He was given an onball role last season and enjoyed a stellar season.
Brad Mangan, who made his return to Kyabram in Saturday’s opening round against Shepparton Swans, is a bit of a surprise selection but the rest — Jason Morgan, Lachy Smith, Liam Ogden, Kayne Pettifer and Rhys Clark — certainly aren’t.
Hot to trots
THEY just keep coming – another winner of the Kyabram Trotting Club complex last week was Glen Eyre saluting at the Kilmore meeting last week.
Trained by Gary Payne and driven by Anthony Butt, Glen Eyre sat parked in the death seat for the 1690m trip and ran away from his rivals in the home stretch to beat the favourite Royal Deviate by over 13 metres, setting a personal best mile rate of 1.56.3 in the process.
The former Tasmanian trained pacer was having just his thirteenth race start — his ninth under Payne’s guidance — and has now won four races with five minor placings.
By the Christian Cullen stallion Ohaka Arizona, Glen Eyre had run third at his previous starts including his heat but was mainly neglected by punters paying over $13 for the win.
Vise return for flag reunion
PEOPLE of my vintage and beyond who are interested in football will probably remember Julian Vise.
He played five consecutive games on match permit with Collingwood in 1964 and kicked three goals. But he couldn’t cope with city life and returned to play with Tocumwal who had signed him for that season.
The story goes Vise had taken a mark within kicking distance of goals in one game for Collingwood and captain of the Pies at that time Des Tuddenham demanded the ball. But Vise didn’t entertain his request, took the shot himself and kicked the goal.
That incident helped convince Vise he wasn’t for the VFL/AFL scene and he returned to play with Tocumwal. It was Vise, coach Don Whitten (a brother of Footscray legend Ted), Lance Lane and local hero Jimmy Cullen that Tocumwal built three successive grand final teams around which culminated in a Murray League premiership win in 1967.
Sixteen of the 20 players in that team have indicated they will return to relive that victory at a reunion on May 6.
Vise went on to play with Echuca after his days at Tocumwal and was a member of the Murray Bombers side which beat Sandhurst for the Bendigo Football League flag in 1970 when coached by Hawthorn’s first premiership captain Graham Arthur.