Eagles get down to work

Eynesbury’s Tristan Francis. (Shawn Smits) 203262_10

Tara Murray

Eynesbury Eagles are starting to get on track for the upcoming Gisborne and District Cricket Association Jensen Shield season.

With restriction announcements made last week, the Eagles and the rest of the metro clubs in the GDCA were given the go ahead to train and prepare for a season start date of November 21.

Eagles captain-coach Tristian Francis said with the uncertainty over restrictions a lot of things had been up in the air.

“It’s good news, but now we’ve got to understand what the procedures are.

“The GDCA has released a statement on how the season might play out and we’ll go from there.”

Francis said there had been a fair bit of interest to play at the club this season, with the club putting in an extra team.

He said with no football played this year, many were keen to have a hit.

“We’ve put in that extra side, a one-day side,” he said.

“A few of the footy guys are a lot more keen and they want to get around everyone and in that team spirit.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more come out on the wood work with the season confirmed to go ahead.”

Francis said they had lost a couple of their young stars who were looking to test themselves at the next level.

While they will miss them, Francis said it’s good to see them take that next step.

“We can’t stop them from doing that and we know that we are a feeder club and what we are about is giving them a platform to get them ready for the next level.”

They Josh Francis has headed to Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association side Melton, while Alex Mowat will play at Yarraville.

With those three stepping up, it gives some more youngsters an opportunity.

“Cam Davis won the MVP in the twos last season as a 14-year-old and he was the club’s Flying young Eagle, so hopefully he will be able to play up.

“Cody McLaughlin just turned 15 and will play a big part of the season ahead.”

Despite claiming the Jensen Shield premiership last season, after being the high ranked side entering the grand final, which was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Eagles haven’t been promoted.

Francis said the club had wanted to stay in the same grade, having struggled in the higher grade in the 2018-19 season.

“We’re staying there and we are basically in the same grades as last year,’ he said.

“We thought we were quite fortunate to end up in the position we were in.

“We gave ourselves a great opportunity after winning the semi final and it put us in the driver’s seat [to claim the premiership].

“Was Diggers Rest the best side all year? Yes. Were we in the right spot at the right time, the answer was yes.”

Francis said when they were allowed, they would look to celebrate the premiership having not been allowed to due to restrictions.

“The question has been asked a few times,” he said. “We’ll do that when we’re allowed.”