What began as an idea almost a decade ago has grown into a post-Christmas Eyre Peninsula sporting tradition, with the Quality Wool Cup to hit Port Lincoln again in early January.
The eighth edition of the two-day, under 14 Twenty20 tournament will kick off on Thursday, January 3 with eight teams from the Eyre Peninsula’s seven cricket associations going head-to-head.
Eastern Eyre is the current reigning champion after their win in early 2018.
For the second consecutive year, Australian test star Travis Head was on-hand to help launch the 2019 tournament and throw his support behind junior cricket on Eyre Peninsula.
Travis’ father Simon originally hails from Port Neill, where the 24-year-old regularly visits family and friends when his schedule allows.
“The success of Australian cricket begins at the grassroots, so it’s great to see junior sport on the EP being encouraged through the Quality Wool Cup,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories of the region, spending Christmases with the family at Port Neill and enjoying a bit of fishing.”
In a further boost to the tournament, Mr Head also signed three replica Australian test shirts which will be awarded to the leading batter, bowler and fielder on aggregate.
With no under 16 competition on Eyre Peninsula, the cup provides the region’s under 14 cricketers with an opportunity to compete in their own age group and gain experience playing on turf wickets.
EP Junior Cricket Association president Tom Kenny said the tournament provided a great lead-in for the 12 youngsters also competing in the SACA under 14 Country Cup, which begins the following week in the Barossa Valley.
“Among them are Bodhi Fauser (Port Lincoln), a very capable batsman and bowler, Jack Lienert (Kimba) who has played a few games for Port Adelaide and Ezra Foster (Le Hunte), an up and coming fast bowler who still has another year to play in the under 14s,” Mr Kenny said.
He also identified Le Hunte duo Jackson Petty and Darci Best, Harvey Pedler, Billy Mahoney, Rohan Treloar and Darcy Claughton of Great Flinders, Eastern Eyre’s Noah Ramsey and Zane Crettenden, plus Conner Maddern of Port Lincoln as other stars on the rise to look out for in the tournament.
Quality Wool managing director Mark Dyson said Eyre Peninsula had been a great supporter of the family-owned company since its foundation in 1991.
“The Quality Wool Cup started as a brainstorm with the EP Junior Cricket Association to try and give something back to the community, and we’re proud to see how much it’s grown over the past eight years,” he said.