The prestigious and time-honoured Hogan Cup will take on a very different form in 2022, with the Gundagai District Cricket Association (GDCA) looking to rejuvenate the sport of cricket locally.
Instead of Lotts and Family doing battle across two rounds like they have in recent years, the GDCA have introduced two new teams to the fold, with the Scorpions and Tigers set to add more interest to the competition.
The four-round Hogan Cup will be a seeded T20 competition, and Lotts being the trophy holders, will be seeded first, with Family second, Tigers third and Scorpions fourth.
Additionally, games will be played in the evenings, allowing for players to make themselves available and for a crowd to come down to Stan Crowe Oval to enjoy the cricket.
Without a ball even being bowled, Scorpion’s skipper and GDCA stalwart, John Smith, believes the competition is already a massive hit.
“It’s a great concept. It is going to brew up a fair bit of interest,” Smith said.
“There are already people asking if we can put a side in next year. People want to get involved.”
Smith admitted the Hogan Cup needed a revamp and he just hopes it attracts more players to Lotts and Family, who also contest the Elders Cup competition on a Saturday.
“It was getting a bit stale with just Lotts and Family contesting it,” Smith said.
“Hopefully this brings more interest and potentially more players for the Elders Cup and the 40 overs format.”
Smith praised the GDCA for their efforts, and he believed supporters would get behind the competition.
“Murph (Michael Murphy) is getting out there and pushing it and people are already talking about it,” Smith said.
“For the players, it is just a good chance to play some cricket and for everyone else, they can get down there for a couple beers, a barbeque and watch some cricket.”
Scorpions look the early favourites to lift the Hogan Cup, with the new side boasting a good mix of experience and youthful exuberance.
“Alex and Shaun (Smith) are playing. We have Hayden Watling there and young Nathan Butt and Tom Boxall will be playing too,” Smith said.
“Brett Smith is playing too, so there is a fair bit of experience and a lot of younger fellas.”
The Scorpions will play the all-Tigers outfit in their first game that will be led by Luke Berkrey.
The Tigers will boast a strong line-up too, with the speedster Jake Elphick set to play, while three of the best batsmen in the Elders Cup competition in Stephen Gill, Tyron Gorman and Tate O’Donovan will be representing the Black and Golds.
“We should have quite a handy side. We have a few boys who play cricket and some that don’t,” Berkrey said.
“That’s the aim. We want to bring some blokes in that don’t play, that might then get an itch and want to play.
“Plus, for us, it is a bit of fun and a good way to kick off our preseason.”
Berkrey supported the new competition structure, and he simply hoped it benefited GDCA and Lotts and Family’s future in the Elders Cup.
“I think Gundagai could do with some excitement with their cricket,” Berkrey said.
“It hasn’t been on the decline, but it definitely hasn’t been growing, and I think it will be good for the town and good for the cricket club.”
Hogan Gold Cup Schedule
Game 1: Friday 14 January 2022
Tigers (3) v Scorpions (4). Winner progresses to game 3, loser is eliminated.
Game 2: Friday 21 January 2022
Lotts (1) v Family (2). Winner progresses to game 4, loser to play in game 3.
Game 3: Friday 28 January 2022
Winner game 1 v loser game 2. Winner progresses to game 4, loser is eliminated.
Game 4: Friday 4 February 2022
Winner game 2 v winner 3. Winner awarded Hogan Gold Cup for 2021-22.