No second thoughts here

March 16, 2018

Katandra captain Jedd Wright does not want his charges to simply be happy with making another Haisman Shield grand final.

Katandra president Andrew Nicholls credits the dedication of a number of club stalwarts for the rising strength of the Eagles.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to raise a sporting club.

Katandra’s return as a powerful Cricket Shepparton force has certainly not happened overnight.

The foundations were laid even before the side returned to the Haisman Shield ahead of the 2003-04 season.

But even then, it has taken a mountain of hard work to turn the Eagles into one of the competition’s heavyweights.

‘‘I think it starts off-field,’’ Katandra captain Jedd Wright said.

‘‘We’ve got great leadership at the top with Andrew Nicholls our president and a lot of work goes in behind the scenes.

‘‘Probably, to be fair, it started back 10 years ago when we first started playing A-grade cricket (again).

‘‘We were getting belted week in and week out and eventually it takes a bit to change the culture.

‘‘Now we’ve got a culture of ‘being close enough isn’t good enough’.’’

Katandra will take part in this weekend’s A-grade and E-grade deciders, and after its B-grade team also tasted post-season action has never been in a stronger position.

‘‘We’re really proud this year to have all three senior teams in finals,’’ Nicholls said.

‘‘We’ve always had really strong support, it doesn’t matter where we are on the ladder, but we’ve always looked at clubs like Central Park-St Brendan’s and the like and been very jealous of their success.

‘‘It’s good to be competitive with those sides now. Winning two grand finals out of three sides would be a great achievement for a town of around 400 people.

‘‘Blokes come back here to play cricket because they love the town and love the people around the club.’’

The team’s top side has been especially impressive the past two seasons.

A breakthrough A-grade grand final appearance last year was followed up by qualification for all three formats this season, and included snaring the one-day title.

But while it is a big step forward for the club to be competitive at the highest level, it has simply left the Eagles wanting more.

‘‘At the end of the day, we’re not in it just to be there,’’ Nicholls said.

‘‘There’s a bit of unfinished business about it.

‘‘We’re really proud to get there, but obviously it doesn’t mean a lot until you get there and win one.’’

Wright agreed with the sentiment that his side would not accept second place this weekend.

‘‘Playing in a losing grand final doesn’t really give us a sense of achievement at al,’’ he said.

‘‘If you don’t win it, then there’s no point really making it.’’

The Eagles captain will be in charge of making sure everything goes to plan on the field at Deakin Reserve against Numurkah.

But he knows his club is not just about what happens between popping creases.

‘‘It’s a community club and like all of those small clubs that are out of Shepp, it’s not just a cricket or footy club it’s a community club,’’ Wright said.

‘‘We’re really lucky to have a fantastic community that rallies behind both the cricket and the footy club.

‘‘My wife Chloe brings our daughter Lilah out every cricket match and it doesn’t matter whether they’re watching cricket or not, the wives and girlfriends of the club play just as big a part.

‘‘We’re lucky that we’ve all grown up together and the wives and girlfriends are good friends and enjoy the cricket just as much as the blokes.’’

Even if Katandra falls at the final hurdle again this weekend, Wright has confidence his squad can go again thanks to the overwhelming support from the other side of the fence.

‘‘I just think we’re in a lucky position where win, lose, or draw there’ll be plenty of people back at the rooms Sunday night,’’ he said.

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