The death knell for Tumut Plains?

Tumut Plains have seen an exodus of players, including 2018/19 Elders Cup cricketer of the year, Matt Sturt.

A combination of players leaving the club and an aging roster could very well see Tumut Plains fold ahead of the 2020/21 Elders Cup competition. 

Plains, who made the Elders Cup finals last season and were unbeaten after seven rounds, have been one of Tumut District Cricket Association’s most polarizing entities, boasting competition stalwarts like Luke Armstrong, Glenn Appleby and Matt Sturt. 

Sturt finished up at the end of last season and Armstrong has openly admitted he is nearing the end of his career. 

Appleby on the other hand has left the club in search of success with the Commercial Colts, and will be joined by quick bowler Tristan Beaumont, while Scott Manual left town for work; leaving numbers very thin. 

“There aren’t enough numbers, that’s the issue,” said Plains president Kevin Keogh. 

“Last year we struggled for numbers and we only had 11 guys most games and sometimes we struggled with 10 if Luke (Armstrong) or Gilly (Stephen Gill) was out.

“Right now, we have seven players and we have to get five players to be serious about playing this season.”

As it stands, Plains will attend tonight’s Elders Cup meeting between the TDCA and GDCA with the intention of making a season-defining decision that will be guided by whether players put their hand up to play.  

“At the moment, we are going to fold. We have a meeting Friday. I’ll update the committee then,” Keogh said. 

“If we have what looks like a team over the next couple of days, we may just roll the dice and put a team in. I have organised a Plains meeting tonight (Wednesday).”

Keogh personally thought it would be hard to get the side up and playing. 

“After the year we had last year, and with Luke having played for 20 odd years, he is not too keen to go around again if we aren’t serious about winning,” Keogh said. 

“I am about to have a kid and I will only play if we are going to have a red-hot crack.”

Keogh said Covid-19 also made it hard to get players keen, with the club president even chatting with former players and out of town recruits to see if there was interest. 

“It’s hard with Covid as well, it’s hard to get sport off the ground at the moment,” Keogh said. 

“There are a couple of old heads like Brendan Kell that might come around and we have had a conversation with a couple of out of town blokes, and we could have them but we need more players.”

Matt Sturt, who was the 2018/19 TDCA cricketer of the year, spent 23 seasons with Plains and was saddened to see the current downfall of the club. 

“It’s disappointing we couldn’t get the juniors in the last two years that we needed, and the juniors we did get just weren’t as keen as they were 15 years ago,” Sturt said. 

“It is a shame, but to be realistic, I probably played a couple years too long and same with some of the others.”

Sturt had full confidence that Keogh and Armstrong could pull together a team though, and hoped local junior players progressing to seniors might look to Plains as an option this season. 

“It is always bad to lose a club, but in saying that, if they were to bow out this year, it may only be for one season,” Sturt said. 

“They could be right and hopefully some juniors join. I have been asking around but it really depends on what Kevin or Luke want to do there. You couldn’t get two better blokes to do the job and I am sure they will work something out and keep Plains going.”

Any player interested in joining Tumut Plains are encouraged to get in touch with the club today, otherwise the opportunity to play could be lost after tonight’s Elders Cup meeting.