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Gus’ Sporting Snaps

Story unveilled: A photo that spent 70 years hanging in the members’ pavillion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground has a unique Kyabram connection.

Paul Newman heading home

‘‘Home’’ is the Kyabram Fire Brigade Cricket Club that Newman left two years ago to join the Kyabram Cricket Club.

Newman said as it was possibly his last season as a player, he wanted to bring down the curtain on his stellar career with the club he started with and played most of his cricket with.

A gifted and elegant left-handed batsman willing to take on the bowlers, Newman has been an elite player all his career. He had a brief stint with Premier League South Melbourne before turning his back on city life to return to the country.

It was a bit like that with his football career as well, with the magnet of being home with friends he grew up thwarting a brief bid to play at the highest level.

Many local cricket pundits have Newman in the same company as the likes of Kyabram Cricket Club’s Test opener Matt Elliott and Tongala’s run-making machine Brad Campbell as the best batsmen the district has produced in the past 30 years.

Newman said his biggest regret about leaving Kyabram Cricket Club after two COVID interrupted seasons was not being a premiership player with the club that competes in the Cricket Shepparton competition.

‘‘We missed our chance earlier this year when beaten by just a few runs by Mooroopna, which was disappointing but that’s cricket,’’ a typical nonchalant Newman reflected.

While Newman is departing the Kyabram Cricket Club it is welcoming an accomplished replacement in veteran Tongala allrounder Adam Nunn.

With Tongala not fielding a side in Goulburn Murray Cricket’s A grade competition again in the coming season, Nunn is joining former Tongala teammate Darin Ohlsen at The Redbacks for Cricket Shepparton’s 2022-23 season.

Connection to painting

This is the photo that recently featured in a story in the Herald Sun’s ‘In Back and White’ column.

It revealed the background behind a unique painting that has been on display for seven decades in the members’ pavilion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The 1958 oil painting by the late Graham Thorley was of four members of his club’s 1958 Under 16 premiership-winning side, which was skippered by Mac Harkness.

Mac, a bubbly character, later played with Kyabram in the mid and late 1960s when he was a school teacher at Kyabram High School.

Mac is on the left in the photo, a copy of which will be presented to the Olinda Ferny Creek Football Netball Club at a function on August 13.

Mac, who turned 80 earlier this year, sadly now suffers with dementia.

17 in GVL 300-club

I’ve had a friendly ‘challenge’ to my tribute last week, claiming veteran Tatura footballer Linc Wellington being only second to club legend Freddo McMahon for senior games played with the club.

Technically my informant is right because Linc joined Freddo with 300 games in the clash against Echuca.

Freddo has verified that his 300 games milestone was achieved in the third game of the 1976 season. After that game he hung up his boots.

Linc lined up for his 301st game with the club against Rochester last Saturday so is now the official Tatura record holder.

But Freddo still holds the distinction of being the first GVL and Tatura player to reach the 300 senior games milestone.

Some 17 players are now in the GVL 300 games-plus club including Kyabram’s Tony McDonell and Tongala’s Mick Souter.

But at the moment there is only player in the 400 or more games club – Rochester legend Anthony ‘Tank’ McPhee.

Memories of McMahen

The recent passing of VFL/AFL great Noel McMahen has revived memories for stalwart Kyabramite Brian O’Meara.

Brian recalls having been involved in a Girgarre training session conducted by McMahen, who was in his first year as Rochester’s coach in the Bendigo League.

‘‘It was in my first season at Girgarre in 1957 and our coach at the time, Jack Walsh, invited Noel to come over from Rochy for training one night,“ he said.

‘‘I just couldn’t believe how fit he looked and was. He was a beautiful build of footballer and I still remember that experience even today.’’

Semmel medal favorite

Triple Heathcote Football League medallist Ryan Semmel is a rapidly firming favourite to add another league medal the Kyabram District League’s McNamara Medal – to his cabinet this season.

The gun midfielder should have picked up more best on ground votes with an eight-goals haul on Saturday against Merrigum.

And even the conservative Lions co-coach Mark Patten has declared he would be ‘‘very surprised’’ if his star recruit didn’t win the medal.

New coach named

Katamatite Football Netball Club hasn’t wasted any time naming a new coach to replace Jedd Wright, who is moving into the GVL ranks next season to coach the Shepparton Swans.

Former Barooga coach James Hazelman has got the gig and will be second Hazelman to take the role, with his father leading the Picola League Hawks in the 1990s.

Golf club funding

Nagambie Golf Club has received a $101 000 boost from State Government funding to improve facilities at its course.

The club’s project manager Michael Roberts said the grant would be used in upgrading three fairways and installing a new pumps system and would be a stepping stone to further planned ugrades.

40-1 Stanhope winner

Winners are always satisfying in the racing game and if they’re 40/1 shots the thrill is a bit more intense.

Stanhope trots trainer-driver Gary Pekin had that experience at last week’s Echuca meeting when the pacer he trains and drives So She Said saluted at those luxury odds.

The well-bred Western Hanover four-year-old mare finished determinedly after a perfect Pekin drive to hoist her third career win – there have also been four minor placings – from just 21 career starts.