BOMADERRY product Blake Munilla will this weekend skipper the Shoalhaven’s Burns Cup side, as they attempt to bring home the crown for the first time since the 2009/10 season.
The Burns Cup – one of the oldest cricket trophies in NSW, being played almost continuously for the past 74 seasons – originally started 1936, when the Canberra Highlands Society presented the idea to the Federal Capital Cricket Association.
Named after the Scottish poet Robbie Burns, the Federal Capital Territory was the first winner up the cup, followed by Goulburn, Illawarra, Moss Vale and ACT – with the competition being retained in 1998 when Southern Zone was formed.
Munilla and his side, which features three players from current premiers Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens Nate Jones, Daniel Gleeson and Chris Bramley, will start their campaign on Saturday against South Coast at Geoff Shaw Oval from 10am.
“Obviously it's a nice surprise to be named captain considering the depth of players and the experience in the side selected,” Munilla said.
“As it’s the first time I’ve captain the side, I’m a bit nervous.
“But I know there are a few guys within the team who captain their respective club teams, who will help me throughout the two games.”
Munilla, 24 and the Ex-Servos trio will be joined in the squad by Ulladulla United’s Aaron Wester, Harley Bell and George Walker, North Nowra-Cambewarra’s Justin Weller, who will vice-captain the side, Nick McDonald and Luke Huard, Nowra’s Ryan Henry and Cameron Fernie, Berry-Shoalhaven Heads’ Andrew Wright and Tom Dougall and Bomaderry’s Kyle Jarrett.
“In terms of the clash itself, I’m not quite sure about what to expect until we turn up to the ground,” Munilla said.
“South Coast have a number of very handy cricketers but you don't know if they’re available or playing, so it's hard to know what to be expect until we are there.
“But I'm sure they will be strong, as they always are.
“On the flip side though, I’ve played in a couple of Burns Cup teams and I would have to say, this would easily be the strongest team I have played in – I can’t see why we wouldn't have the opportunity to take it out this year.
“If we did win, it would mean a lot to all the boys to finally get one up after 10 years of not winning, while showing everyone else that the Shoalhaven is still a very strong cricketing region.”
If Shoalhaven win their Saturday encounter, they will play the winner of the match between Highlands and Illawarra at Bradman Oval, on Sunday at North Dalton Park.
While the two losers will battle it out for third spot at the Croome Road Complex.