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JANUARY 23, 2018 \ STARWEEKLY.COM.AU

NEWS + SPORT + PROPERTY GUIDE

(Marco De Luca)

Keeping cool by the pool Funfields was the place to be last week with young and old alike flocking to the water park to cool off. Visitors streamed through the gates of the Whittlesea park on Thursday as the mercury tipped 39 degrees. Many took the opportunity to cool off in the park’s pools and splash zone, while thrillseekers beat the heat on the waterslides. Funfields is home to some of the world’s biggest water slides, including the Gravity Wave which opened in October last year.

SARAH SAKO WITH LILY

Waste service rubbished By Laura Michell Whittlesea residents are being forced to store rubbish in their backyards and garages amid ongoing delays with the municipality’s waste collection service. Angry residents have taken to social media to complain about their rubbish and recycling bins not being collected on time. Residents from across the municipality claim their bins are being emptied up to four days late. In some streets, the delays have been happening for the past two months. The council has apologisd to residents on Facebook, saying it knows the service has been “unacceptable”.

It says the delays have been caused by its contractor, Visy, having a shortage of trucks. Wollert resident Pip Beckett said delays in emptying her bins began late last year, with the situation becoming progressively worse. Her bins are meant to be emptied on Thursdays, but often are not collected until Mondays. Sometimes, half her street has its bins emptied, while the other half are not. “We tend to store our rubbish in the garage until the bins gets collected,” she said. “We have a young baby and the nappies tend to pile up. It’s not pleasant, especially in this heat.” South Morang resident Krystle Gear said her bins, usually collected on Friday mornings,

were not being collected until Mondays. She said the delays started about two months ago. “It’s frustrating,” she said. “We are storing rubbish in our backyard, which we don’t like doing, but where else can we put it? “It’s unhygienic for me to leave it outside when I have two kids running around.” Ms Gear has contacted the council about the problem and believes it is not doing enough to resolve the issue. Council city transport and presentation director Nick Mann said Visy has been plagued by broken trucks in recent weeks, requiring the ageing vehicles to be returned to the manufacturer for servicing. He said the broken trucks did not excuse the delays.

“We know the situation is causing significant inconvenience to our residents and we apologise for this very poor service,” he said. “After repairs, most trucks are now back in service and are running double shifts in an effort to clear the backlog.” Mr Mann said Visy’s contract with the council expired at the end of the financial year. A new contractor will take over in July with a new fleet of trucks. “These new trucks will have state-of-the-art technology which can track the performance of council’s collection vehicles in real time, as well as alert us of any missed collections,” he said. Anyone experiencing waste collection issues, is asked to contact the council on 9217 2170.

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VCAT upholds pokie refusal By Laura Michell A gambling reform advocate has hailed a decision by the state’s peak planning body to prevent 40 gaming machines from being installed at a South Morang pub. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month ruled against an Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group application for gaming machines at the Commercial Hotel. The Plenty Road pub does not currently have any gaming machines.

The application sought to relocate 20 machines from other ALH Whittlesea venues to the Commercial Hotel and also install 20 new machines at the premises. The ALH application was knocked back by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation in December, 2016, amid objection from Whittlesea council and the community. The company appealed the decision at VCAT, resulting in an 11-day hearing in the second half of last year. On December 21, VCAT senior members Jonathan Smithers and Rachel Naylor upheld

the commission’s decision, raising concerns about the negative impact of gaming machines. In their ruling, they said Whittlesea’s pokie machine expenditure was $679 per adult, higher than the Melbourne average of $575. Whittlesea Interagency Taskforce on Gambling spokesman Max Lee said the VCAT decision was important. “It will be fundamental to shaping future policy,” he said. “Into the future, this decision will be a vital one.” Mr Lee, who spoke at the hearing, said the gaming machines would have been detrimental

to the community. He said Whittlesea was a young and growing community, with residents experiencing long travel times, high rates of mortgage stress, and limited social opportunities. “Ultimately, this community was just not going to be helped by this application for more gaming machines,” he said. Whittlesea mayor Kris Pavlidis described the VCAT ruling as a win for the community. A spokesman for the ALH Group said the company would absorb the decision and reserved its right to appeal.

(Marco De Luca)

Blaze closes Doreen centre

ADVAY, 7, WITH HIS SISTER AMISHI, 9.

Give boring summer nights the flick Hume families are being encouraged to make the most of their summer weekends by kicking back at the council’s outdoor movies. As part of Hume Summer Sessions, the council is hosting outdoor flicks at parks and community centres across the municipality. Mayor Geoff Porter said the much-loved cinematic events were an opportunity for families to spend time together and enjoy the warm weather.

“These free outdoor movies are a relaxed, fun and popular event for people of all ages, and a great way to get to know your neighbours,” he said. The next outdoor cinema will be set up at Roxburgh Park’s Homestead Community and Learning Centre, 30 Wiltshire Drive, on Saturday, February 3. The movie will be Moana. The Summer Sessions will move to Sunbury on Saturday, February 17, when Beauty and

the Beast will screen at the village green. On Friday, February 23, Broadmeadows Civic Plaza will host a screening of Despicable Me 3, while The Lego Batman Movie will be shown at Tullamarine’s Leo Dineen Reserve on Friday, March 9. The events start at 6pm with food stalls and entertainment, the movies start at about 7pm. Details: hume.vic.gov.au

A Doreen community hall will be closed for at least eight weeks following a suspicious fire. The Laurimar Community Centre caught fire on January 10 soon after 11.30pm. The blaze is being investigated by police after firefighters found evidence of “malicious activity”. Doreen CFA captain Chris Maries said crews arrived at the Hazelglen Drive centre to find a meeting room alight. They forced their way into the building. He said the fire had caused significant damage, estimating the repair bill to be between $80,000 and $100,000. “The special timber floor to the dance studio is beyond repair,” he said. “All the walls and ceilings in that room will have to be replaced.” Mr Maries said crews worked quickly to stop the fire spreading to other parts of the building, including Jojayz Cafe. Mayor Kris Pavlidis said the council-owned centre would need to undergo a major restoration. “It is disappointing that the centre will remain closed to the public and user groups for at least eight weeks,” she said. “We understand that this incident is highly inconvenient and distressing, especially for the local Doreen community, and thank everyone for their patience in this matter.” Cr Pavlidis said the council would review existing bookings for the centre and, where possible, identify suitable alternatives. The centre’s 30 regular user groups have been contacted to discuss alternative venue options. Laura Michell

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Roxburgh Park has been revealed as a problem area when it comes to parents leaving their children in cars. New Ambulance Victoria data reveals the suburb is among the top 10 for ambulance call-outs to kids stuck in vehicles, with 33 cases attended by paramedics between September 1, 2016, and August 31, 2017. Across Hume, paramedics were called to 76 cases of children locked in cars.

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THE EUROGLIDERS

Music’s festival of fun Music lovers are expected to flock to Whittlesea next month for the town’s annual country music festival. The two-day event kick-starts on Friday, February 9 with a free opening party at the Whittlesea Bowls Club, where solo artist Paul Costa will perform. The event continues the following day with a street festival on Church Street, featuring buskers, bush poets and horse and cart rides from 10am. A twilight concert will be held at the Whittlesea Cricket Ground from 4.30pm, where bands Eurogliders and the Chantoozies will perform. Festival vice president David Watson said

the event was expected to attract visitors from far and wide. “The festival entertainment is completely free of charge so it’s the perfect opportunity to head to Whittlesea for a day, the night, or even the whole weekend,” he said. “There will be a variety of tasty food and drinks from local vendors available, or bring a picnic and a blanket and sit back and enjoy this year’s sensational line-up. “We have music to suit all generations.” Details: whittleseacountrymusicfestival. com.au Laura Michell

Whittlesea police are warning drivers not to drink and drive on Australia Day. Police will conduct alcohol and drug testing on roads surrounding the Whittlesea council offices on Ferres Boulevard, where the municipality’s official Australia Day celebrations will be held.

Wonderful women

Photographers of all abilities are being encouraged to enter their work in Whittlesea council’s photo exhibition to mark International Women’s Day. The exhibition will feature photos that highlight wonderful women. Entries are open until Wednesday, February 7. The exhibition will go on display on Thursday, March 8. Details: iwd@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

FOR BREAKING NEWS, VISIT Web: starweekly.com.au Northern Star Weekly @nstarweekly @star_weekly

If you’re travelling over summer, it’s your responsibility to be fire ready. Check Fire Danger Ratings for the districts you will travel through before you leave, listen to local radio while on the road, and monitor conditions via the VicEmergency App. If you’re travelling into bush or grasslands, carry a first aid kit, woollen blankets, plenty of drinking water and make sure your phone is fully charged. Never travel to areas where the Fire Danger Rating is Extreme or Code Red. The reasons why are black and white.

emergency.vic.gov.au Download the VicEmergency app 4 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JANUARY 23, 2018

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Campaign to keep gym open By Laura Michell Gym users are campaigning to keep the Mill Park Leisure Centre open during its $25 million redevelopment amid fears Whittlesea council plans to close the centre for two years. Councillors met on January 9 to hold confidential discussions about the $25 million redevelopment and to decide whether to completely close the centre for the duration of the works. While a decision has been made, the

council is refusing to share its plans with the community for now. Mayor Kris Pavlidis said that as the redevelopment was discussed as a contractual confidential item at the January 9 meeting, the decision had to remain confidential for the time being. Mill Park Leisure Centre members have started a petition calling for the centre to remain open and plan to attend the next council meeting on February 6 to raise their concerns about the closure. Mill Park Leisure Centre member Josie

Vinar said she did not understand why the council was being so secretive. Ms Vinar joined the centre three years ago and said it had been a lifeline for her during a recent cancer battle. “If I didn’t have the gym, I wouldn’t have survived. [The members] all rallied around me. They kept me motivated. They built up my morale and self-esteem and kept me going,” she said. “I know it sounds silly, but it is like a big family. If you don’t turn up to the gym, people reach out to you. It will be a loss to the community.”

Fellow member, Danielle Black, said every member of her family used the centre, from the creche, to the swimming pool and gym. She joined the gym 12 years ago after the birth of her third child, when she was feeling “a little depressed”. The long-awaited redevelopment will upgrade the ageing centre into a state-of-the-art aquatic and fitness hub. It will feature fully-accessible pools, water play features, an enlarged gym and fitness program area, outdoor fitness, family play and barbecue areas.

Fun times are a good fit

WOLLERT QUARRY

Free community workouts are helping Kalkallo and Mernda residents trim their waistlines. The fitness sessions, run by Live Life Get Active, are giving residents of Stockland’s Cloverton and Mernda Villages estates a chance to improve their health and fitness at no charge. The workouts, which were launched last year, include cross-training and boxing. Kalkallo resident Tina Caddy, who joined the classes when they started last May, said they had helped her to feel stronger and healthier while making new friends. Ms Caddy said that for many families, gym membership was a financial burden. “I think it’s so important for communities to offer these kinds of programs, especially for parents who don’t have much time,” Ms Caddy said. “I’ve already lost a few kilograms, but most importantly, I have built confidence.”

The sessions are held at the Cloverton Sales and Information Centre, corner of Dwyer Street and Design Way, Kalkallo, and at Neptune Park, corner of Galloway and Landon drives, Mernda. Details: livelifegetactive.com Laura Michell

Tina Caddy has been taking part in the community workouts. (Shawn Smits)

Become a neighbourhood champion

www.hanson.com.au

Join the Hanson Wollert Quarry Community Reference Group Hanson is committed to engaging with community members interested in providing valuable insights relevant to their sites and facilities. We want to regularly interact with the community in a consultative forum to provide relevant information regarding the operations of our quarry processing facilities; and seek input on a wide range of operations, environmental and corporate citizenship topics. To help us achieve this, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the Wollert Quarry Community Reference Group. If you have an interest in becoming a member of the Wollert Quarry Community Reference Group, obtain an information pack including a Fact Sheet, a copy of the Terms of Reference and an Expression of Interest form for membership.

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST CLOSE: Monday 29 January 2018

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Hanson Construction Materials Pty Ltd 45 Bridge Inn Road Wollert VIC 3750 Quarry Manager: Joe Morse Email: community.wollert@hanson.com.au Phone: 03 9274 3771

5 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JANUARY 23, 2018


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Safety aces tennis, carparking By Laura Michell Whittlesea council has reneged on its plans to build a pavilion at Epping North’s Prism Park tennis courts and indented parking in Bundoora’s Josef Street. Councillors voted last month to re-allocate $470,000 included in the budget for the two projects to a new project to improve safety around Epping Views Primary School. As reported by Star Weekly Weekly, the school has been plagued with traffic and parking problems, with roads around it struggling to

‘‘

We can’t run tournaments or junior - Yvonne Fantin competitions

’’

cope with the volume of cars being driven to and from the school. The money will also be used to plan for similar safety works at Mill Park Heights Primary School and Hazel Glen College. The bid to re-allocate the funding was

put forward by south-west ward councillor Lawrie Cox and backed by councillors Stevan Kozmevski, Sam Alessi and Emilia Lisa Sterjova. Mayor Kris Pavlidis used her casting vote to push through the motion after the votes were tied. In his motion, Cr Cox said the pavilion had been included in the budget even though it did not form part of the council’s tennis facilities strategy, while the indented parking in Josef Street had not been completely assessed. Top Seed Tennis coach Yvonne Fantin, who

runs programs at the Shield Street park, said the lack of a pavilion was impacting on her ability to run competitions and tournaments at the courts. Ms Fantin said the community had long been told a pavilion was in the works. “There is a need for the pavilion,” she said. “There are no bathroom or water facilities at the courts. “We can’t have people staying there for a long time and we can’t run tournaments or junior competitions there. People have to go to West Lalor Tennis Club.”

Stories shine through For a long time, Abdi Aden felt unable to talk about his experiences as a young boy in Somalia. The Roxburgh Park resident came to Australia as an asylum seeker in 1992 after civil war broke out in Somalia. He was just 15 years old when he fled the country. Two years ago, Mr Aden released a book – Shining: The story of a lucky man – telling the story of his life. Now, the author has released a second book, this time opting to write a children’s book about his life as a young boy in Somalia before the civil war. Mr Aden said Yes I Can came about as a result of speaking tours he did to promote his first book. “After writing my memoir and attending many schools to speak about my journey, I was continually asked about my life in Somalia

before the war,” he said. “I also speak at many primary schools and the teachers would often ask if I had a book that would be suitable for younger readers.” Mr Aden said the decision to share his story was relatively easy to make. “I did not take a lot of convincing. My family and friends encouraged me to do this for Somalia and for many others who have to flee their homeland in search of safety,” he said. Yes I Can will be released later this year. Laura Michell

Roxburgh Park author Abdi Aden has written a children’s book. (Dennis Manktelow)

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Project boost for Whittlesea

Hume Tennis Centre’s Paige Pucar and Andrew Bellino are auction ready. (Marco De Luca)

Auction action hits town

The Australia Day long weekend is traditionally a quiet one in real estate – but not in Craigieburn. On Thursday night, Ray White Craigieburn will have eight houses going under the hammer as part of its Australia Day eve auction carnival. Principal Andrew Bellino said the real estate company started hosting the carnival three years ago. “We found that in January there wasn’t much available on the market for buyers, but we had lots of inquiries,” he said. Mr Bellino said the carnival had the benefit

of bringing buyers together at one venue, with the agency holding in-room auctions in the area once a month. “It means that buyers don’t have to spend their Saturdays driving from venue to venue.” The auction carnival will be held at the Hume Tennis and Community Centre from 5pm and will also feature food trucks, 30 market stalls, kids activities and jumping castle. Australia Day festivities will continue in Hume on Friday morning, with the council hosting an awards ceremony at the Hume Global Learning Centre at Craigieburn from

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9am. Awards will be presented to the citizen, young citizen and community event of the year. Whittlesea residents can mark Australia Day at the civic centre, Ferres Boulevard, South Morang, from 6-9.30pm. The event will include presentation of the Whittlesea Australia Day awards. The event will also feature live performances and a fireworks display. A barbecue will be run by the Thomastown Men’s Shed and Whittlesea Lions Club.

Mill Park library and Thomastown’s Main Street Reserve sports pavilion are set to be redeveloped, with Whittlesea council receiving more than $5.5 million from the state government. The money has been given to the council through the government’s Growing Suburbs Fund. The council also received funding for an all-abilities play space planned for Mill Park and the redevelopment of the Mill Park Leisure Centre. Mayor Kris Pavlidis said the funding was a significant investment in important local projects. “In this climate, where we are tightening our belts, partnerships with other levels of government to fund projects has never been more important,” she said. The Mill Park library refurbishment, for which the council received almost $560,000, will include improvements to the children’s area, updated quiet study spaces and meeting rooms, upgrades to the Chancez Cafe area and improved lighting and air-conditioning. The government has provided $2 million for the Main Street Reserve pavilion redevelopment. The all-abilities playground planned for Mill Park has been given $1 million, and will feature play equipment for people of all ages and abilities, a picnic shelter, events space, a basketball/netball court and walking links.

Laura Michell

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MY PLACE What’s yyour connection to Whittlesea? I have lived in Lalor for 24 years. I used to live in Reservoir but we couldn’t affor ff d to buyy there so we ffor bought in Lalor. What do yyou like about Lalor? I live in a veryy quiet court and we have never had anyy trouble. We have [Epping] plaza, Northern Hospital, bus lines and trains nearby. by by. Everythingg is here. What, hat, if an anything, would yyou change? The onlyy thing is – we still have all the power lines up in the street. It would be good iff theyy could be put underground eventually. How longg have yyou been involved in the Peter Lalor Community Garden? I’ve been involved with the garden ffor 10 years, I’ve been on board since about day ay two of the garden. ay What do yyou ou en enjjoyy about volunteering at the garden? It keeps me out of trouble. The garden (group) is veryy multicultural and we do a lot off socialising. People like to come down ffor a cup off coff ffee or tea, bikkies and a chat. I thinkk it is important to do community workk and that everyone should do a couple of da days per year.

Iff someone had d never been to Lalor, or, w what would yyou ou sa sayy about it to entice them to the area? I would say say that there is a lot around here for f people to do. There is the men’s shed, the garden and the U3A at the school, as well as lots of other groups run by volunteers.

Peter Lalor Community Garden president Steve Allport believes it is important people are involved in their communities. The Lalor resident has been volunteering at the garden for the past 10 years. He chats with Laura Michell.

(Shawn Smits)

Are you involve l d in any other community lve groups? I used to be involved in the men’s shed. I started it up with Bronwyn Halfpennyy and it is doing really well these da days.

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WANT YOUR EVENT LISTED? Community Calendar is made available free of charge to not-for-profit organisations to keep the public informed of special events and activities. Send item details to Star Weekly Community Calendar, Corner Thomsons Road and Keilor Park Drive, Keilor Park, 3042, or email to communitycalendar@starweekly.com.au. Deadline for copy and announcements is noon Tuesday.

Xtreme Games

Join a team and take part in Lalor library’s Xtreme Games, on Thursday, January 25, 11am-1pm. Complete challenges around the library and take part in giant games against your friends. At 2a May Road. ■ 9465 2353

To enter, click on the WIN tab at www. starweekly.com.au and follow the prompts. Entries close at 11.59pm on Sunday, January 28 and will be drawn the next day at 380 City Road, Southbank, 3006. Entrants must be over 18 years old and reside in Victoria. See our Competition Terms & Conditions for more details. All winners will be contacted direct by the prize supplier and within seven days of the winners being drawn.

Australia Day

Kick-start your Australia Day celebrations with true blue stories, songs and craft at Craigieburn library, 75-95 Central Park Avenue, on Thursday, January 25, 6.30-7.30pm. ■ 9356 6980

Monday market

(iStock)

Head to the Whittlesea Showgrounds on Monday, January 29, for the Whittlesea Monday Market, 8am-1pm. Browse more than 120 stalls covering everything from fruit and vegetables to homewares, clothing, plant and farm supplies. At 30 Yea Road. ■ 0428 821 644

Farmers market

Book groups

Expand your reading horizons by joining one of Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s book groups. The true crime group meets at Mill Park library on Wednesday, January 24, from 7-8pm at 394 Plenty Road. Inquire at the branch to pick up a copy of the next book club read. ■ 9437 8189

Visit the Merrifield Farmers’ Market on Saturday, February 3, 8.30am-12.30pm, to browse stalls from some of the best local food producers. At the corner of Balmain Road and St Georges Boulevard. ■ facebook.com/merrifieldfarmersmarket

Moonlight cinema

Grab a picnic blanket and head to the Doreen Community Moonlight Cinema

Get back to school in style with Smiggle. Here’s your chance to win a range of colourful classroom essentials that are bound to make heading back to school that bit cooler. Check out just some of the huge range of goodies, gadgets and gizmos released especially for back to school. www.smiggle.com

on Saturday, January 27, to watch Sing. Sing Entry is by gold coin donation, which will be donated to the Cancer Council. Food trucks will be on site from 6.30pm or bring your own picnic. The movie starts about 8.30pm. At Plenty Valley Christian College, 840 Yan Yean Road. ■ facebook.com/ DoreenCommunityMoonlightCinemas

Learn about Bethel Gospel

The Bethel Gospel Centre will host a meeting, a “casual social event”, for people interested in learning more about the church and its work and activities on Sunday, January 28, at United Cinemas, 40 Craigieburn Road, Craigieburn, from 4-5pm. ■ bethelgospel.org.au

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SPORT STARWEEKLY.COM.AU

Kangaroos fall short

Sports shorts VTCA

Craigieburn got its second win of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association north-west competition, in a hard fought victory over the Druids. With the Druids resumimg at 4-70, Craigieburn’s bowlers made easy work of it on Saturday, bowling the Druids out for 127. Mick Bury took five wickets for the Eagles. The Eagles then chased the runs down, eventually all out for 144. Adam Davies top-scored with 36. The Druids were 2-22 in their second innings. In north-west A1, Westmeadows defeated Pascoe Vale Hadfield, but missed out on an outright win. The Warriors made 143, before bowling out Pascoe Vale Hadfield for 77. The Warriors made a quickfire 5-73 before declaring their second innings. Pascoe Vale Hadfield held out, finishing 8-57.

By Tara Murray Greenvale Kangaroos weren’t able to reproduce the form from the previous week as they went down to Footscray in Victorian Premier Cricket. The Kangaroos dominated day one of the match, but with rain washing out the majority of play across first XI games, all matches reverted to one-dayers. The Bulldogs made the most of the second chance to take the win and pick up a bonus point along the way. The Bulldogs smashed their way to 5-248 from their overs, on the back of 111 not out from opener Travis Dean. Dean, who opens the batting for Victoria, had support with skipper Dylan Kight chipping in with 61 and Hamish Winter-Irving making a quick-fire 37. Jordan Buckingham and Nathan Johnson took two wickets each for the Kangaroos. The Kangaroos made a fight of it, but fell short finishing 9-193 for their 50 overs. Early on it was a case of getting a partnership going, before losing a wicket. The best partnership came between Zaheer Hussain and Jack Rhodes, who put on 63 for the fifth wicket. Hussain was the pick of the batsmen with Rhodes the next best, making 31. The Kangaroos next match is against Fitzroy Doncaster at Greenvale Reserve. In Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division, the Kangaroos lost to Yarraville Club on Saturday. The Kangaroos made 193 with Matt Bonello the star, run out on 99. The Clubbers made 6-211 in reply. On Sunday, the Kangaroos lost a one-dayer against Doutta Stars.

DVCA

Old Paradians upset Epping in the Diamond Valley Cricket Association Barclay Shield competition on Saturday. Sent in, Old Paradians made 7-217 off its overs, with Hasitha Samarasinghe making 92. John Kulikowski was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets. In reply, Epping could only manage 174.Bundoora lost to Rosanna. In the Money Shield, Lalor Stars defeated Banyule, while Mernda, Mill Park and Bundoora United all suffered losses.

Sunam Gautam bowling for Greenvale Kangaroos on Saturday. (Damjan Janevski)

General Classifieds

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SPORT Plenty Valley’s slow start ends with a bang

Simon Bray and the top order struggled for Plenty Valley. (Damjan Janevski)

After a couple of false starts, Plenty Valley finally took to the field in 2018 in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west competition. With the heat and then rain ruining the previous two weekends of cricket, it was a different story on Saturday against Yarraville. The second-placed Bats started slowly on a good pitch as the Eagles bowled well. The Bats were 5-96 at tea. Bats skipper James Dickinson said it wasn’t an ideal start to their innings. “It was good to be out on the ground after being washed out last week,” he said. “We were in a bit of trouble and it was hard to score off their opening bowlers. Then Daniel Heatley and Sean Ayres came together.” The partnership of Heatley and Ayres was a game changer with the two putting on 111 for the sixth wicket.

Once Ayres was out for 80, the Bats kept going and pushed the score to 8-296 from their overs. They put on 200 after tea. Dickinson was full of praise for Heatley who was brilliant in his innings of 110. “He’s a superstar,” Dickinson said. The move of Ayres from opening the batting to number seven worked perfectly too. Dickinson said it would depend on the circumstances where the veteran would bat. “We know he is dangerous down the order and it was an aggressive move,” he said. “In the short form we know how dangerous he is at the top of the order, but in the longer format he is a weapon down the order. “To have him come in at seven and Jack McLagan [who made 45] at eight is a luxury when the wickets have flattened and the bowlers have tired.” Despite the big score, the Bats are not

Kookas’ bats on fire By Tara Murray A Matt Kiely century was the highlight in Rivergum’s draw with Lalor Warriors in the North Metro Cricket Association’s Jika Shield. With rain washing out most of the first day, getting a result on Saturday was always going to be touch and go. The Kookas batted for most of the day, making 3-207 after resuming at 0-43. The Warriors were given the chance to bat late, but decided not to with the match finishing in a draw. Kookas coach Gary Bell said with just 18 overs bowled on day one, it was always going to be hard to get a result. “We had a bit of batting practice,” he said. “We didn’t want to declare too early and then give them the chance to chase down the runs. We were in a tough spot and we felt there was no need to try and force the result.” Bell said watching Kiely bat and go on to make his century was the excitement of the day. Kiely made 109, while fellow opener James Bonnici made 52. Lakmal Keerthirathna took two wickets for the Warriors. Bell said they were looking forward to getting the opportunity to get out on the park and play some proper two-day cricket. This game was interrupted by rain, while their first match after Christmas was heated out. “We just want to get out there and play,” he said. “We want to have fun. It’s a bit annoying getting so close to finals.” The ladder-leading Kookas this week play last year’s premiers North Brunswick-Rosebank, who sit fifth. A win would all but seal a top two finish for the Kookas. Bell said that was vital heading into finals. “It’s a big game this week and we can all but seal a top two spot. That’s where you want to finish … it’s a big advantage come finals time if it’s hot or raining again. “No matter the result this week, I think North Brunswick-Rosebank will play finals. The cream rises to the top. “It’s interesting to see the way things will play out. The new teams which have come up from B-grade are shaping finals and making it interesting.” In another boost for the Kookas, they seem to be getting over their early season injury concerns. Daniel Bramich is back bowling and looking to increase his workload, while Corey Altis is set to return to the side next week. Bell said they were starting to get their full side back on the field.

counting the win just yet. Both captains admit it was a flat wicket and there were runs to be scored. “It’s always good to post a total over 200. We’ve got the runs in the bank and they have to get them.” Meanwhile, the Bats under-15 Craig shield team is through to this week’s finals. The Bats finished second in the north group, with five wins and one loss. Skipper Jai Lemire top-scored for the Bats in four of the six matches, while Julian Drohan top-scored in two matches, including scoring 109 not out in a stunning performance against St Bernards. Kaiden Arthur was the best of the bowlers. The Bats play their quarter-final against Altona on Tuesday at Grant Reserve, Altona. Tara Murray

Challenges for EDFL’s new CEO It’s an exciting but challenging time ahead for the Essendon District Football League, according to incoming chief executive Craig Armstead. Armstead was this week announced as the league’s new boss, to replace Marc Turri who stepped away from the role late last year. Armstead comes to the EDFL with an extensive sporting professional background, having being involved at Geelong Football Club, Melbourne Tigers, the National Basketball League, Baseball Victoria and Greyhounds Racing Victoria. He will begin in his new role in early February. Armstead said he was looking forward to the challenge of taking on the chief executive role. He’s no stranger to the league. “I have a real passion for football and a familiarity with the EDFL,” he said. “I played juniors at Hadfield and my father is a life member. My son played at Maribyrnong Park and my nephew plays at Pascoe Vale. “I have a deep understanding of the league.” One of Armstead’s key areas of expertise is in growth, on and off the field, which he says will be one of the biggest challenges ahead for the league. The league continues to grow with more players, teams and clubs than ever before. “There’s good participation and growth,” he said. “There is clearly population growth in the north-west. “The challenge is for us to make sure they are aware of AFL and the EDFL and keep the sport on the radar with kids and families. “You’ve got the areas like Burnside Heights, Sydenham, Roxburgh Park and Sunbury which are growing. “And you’ve also got the traditional clubs like Maribynrong Park, Keilor, Strathmore and Aberfeldie that are getting strong growth. “We also need to keep growing commercially, increasing memberships and sponsorships.” One area Armstead said was important going forward was the increased female participation across the league. The women’s and girl’s competitions continue to grow, while a netball competition is being established.

Matt Kiely on his way to a century.

Tara Murray (Shawn Smits) 15 NORTHERN STAR WEEKLY \ JANUARY 23, 2018


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