After a 67-year hiatus from cricket, Goadjalong has entered a side for the 2023-24 Hogan Gold Cup. The historic team will be looking to build on past glories with another win in the prestigious competition.
A hybrid of the Gobarralong and Adjungbilly communities, the Goadjalong cricket side had success in the 1950s, winning the Hogan Cup in the 1952-53, 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons.
Newspaper reports from the period described Goadjalong as having the best batting line-up in the district, with the likes of Kevin Luff and Bill Graham leading the way.
Current Coolac cricketer Adam ”Apple” Graham was a key person behind the return of the Goadjalong team, and he cited community, and the historical aspect of cricket, as the main motivators behind the club’s return.
“With most of the players’ grandfathers having played for Goadjalong, and then their fathers playing for Coolac, it will mean a lot to pull the Goadjalong shirt on,” Graham said.
Graham will captain the side for its historic return, lining up against Gundagai, Tarcutta’s Murrumbidgee Mankadders and last summer’s champions the Tigers DRLFC.
The local farmer and sportsman comes from a long line of cricketers, with he and his brother, Luke, being instrumental in recent Coolac Elders Cup successes, alongside their cousins Tim and Andrew Graham.
The top-order batsman spoke of the connection between past and present, with familiar names such as Crowe, Luff and Graham linking the famous side of the ’50s to the one that will take the field in October this year.
“Kevin Luff, James and Will Luff’s grandfather, played for Goadjalong in the 1950s, as did Tim and Andy Graham’s grandfather, and Michael Crowe’s grandfather,” Graham said.
“We are hoping that Luke’s son Fred will be able to play this season, bringing another generation into the history of the side.”
Apart from this most recent undertaking to inject new life into local cricket, Graham has been an energetic advocate for the junior game.
His efforts to increase player numbers saw him add a side from Bongongo to the sub-junior competition last season, which, alongside the addition of Goadjalong to the Hogan Cup, has thoroughly impressed newly elected Gundagai District Cricket Association (GDCA) president Michael Hargreaves.
“Apple Graham has been brilliant for senior and junior cricket,” Hargreaves said.
“It is great to have Goadjalong back in the Hogan Cup, and I am super excited to see the competition grow.
“A few of the players were involved in the competition last year, but it is great to see them representing their community in their own right.”
The Hogan Gold Cup has been running since 1932, but it was changed to a T20 format for the 2021-22 season under president Tim Ryan. Hargreaves sees the inclusion of the Goadjalong side as a continuation of the GDCA’s vision for the famous competition.
“The GDCA see the revamped Hogan Cup as the gateway to bring the community together across the region, and the inclusion of past champions Goadjalong honours the history of the competition,” Hargreaves said.
“We want players and spectators to foster an enjoyable experience with cricket.
“T20 is a shorter day, and ideally it leads to people participating who may have been lost to the game.”
The increased interest in the Hogan Cup, and the GDCA’s focus on an interactive, carnival-like, community experience, is also aimed at strengthening local cricket by influencing the game’s longer format.
Before the 2016-17 season, the GDCA combined with the Tumut association to form the Elders Cup competition.
The Elders Cup is played over 40 overs per innings, and it is hoped that the increased participation in the Hogan Cup will lead to more players becoming involved in the Elders Cup.
The Goadjalong side led by Adam Graham is sure to add a lot of interest to this year’s cup. They will certainly throw down the gauntlet to the Tigers, who won last year’s competition, while Gundagai and the Mankadders will be improved from last season.
The GDCA president was unable to decide on a Hogan Cup favourite, but promised great cricket and a fantastic atmosphere at Gundagai’s Stan Crowe Oval during the summer.