BLUES BROTHERS: Past and present Coomealla Wentworth Cricket Club players Tim Smith, Darran Seaman, Glenn Thompson and Peter Morrish are looking forward to tomorrow night’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By ADAM LUITJES

CELEBRATIONS are sure to be in full swing tomorrow when Coomealla Wentworth Cricket Club celebrates its 20th anniversary.

A large contingent of past and present players, committee members, supporters and sponsors are expected to attend the celebrations, which will be held tomorrow night at George Gordon Oval.

An amalgamation of fierce rivals Coomealla Memorial Cricket Club and Wentworth Services Cricket Club, the ‘Blues’ were formed at the conclusion of the 1995 season.

One of two NSW-based cricket clubs in the Sunraysia Cricket Association, Coomealla Wentworth has played an important role within the Wentworth Shire, with players from as far as Pooncarie lining up for the Blues.

Although Coomealla Wentworth are yet to win a First Division title, the Blues have been dominant in the lower grades, with a number of Second, Third and Women’s Division premierships taking pride of place at the cricket club.

Along with a host of homegrown talent, Coomealla Wentworth has had a number of star international recruits ‘don the whites’, including Scottish representative Ian Wardlaw and Les Innes Medal winner Alex Mellor.

Blues player and committeeman Glenn Thompson, 41, said the 20th anniversary was a great achievement.

“It’s fantastic that two of the New South Wales clubs merged 20 years ago, as both were fierce competitors and rivals,” Glenn said. “It made sense we did merge 20 years ago, and the community embraced it.

“The Coomealla Club – who are our major sponsor – and the Wentworth and District Community Bank have been our continued supporters.”

Affiliated with Coomealla Wentworth since its inception, Glenn said dwindling player numbers was the major reason behind the merger.

“It seemed a progression from the lack of numbers from the towns,” he said. “We saw the writing was on the wall, so the two committees joined together.”

Starting his career with Coomealla Memorial Cricket Club, Glenn is proud of how far the club has grown in the past two decades.

“There’s a lot of good kids coming through at the moment, so we are reaping the rewards,” he said. “We have had limited success in the First Division, we have only played in one grand final, which we lost.

“We have won multiple Second and Third Division premierships, while the women’s teams has also done very well.”

Inaugural Coomealla Wentworth coach, Darran Seaman, 49, remembers vividly the anticipation that surrounded the merger.

“When we first started we (Coomealla) weren’t a very strong club, we had only been in First Division for 10 years,” Darran said. “Wentworth on the other hand, they had won 20-odd premierships, so they were a big club.”

A talented opening bowler and middle order batsman, Darran said he enjoyed the challenge of leading a brand new club.

“It was pretty exciting, and we had a lot of young kids back then,” he said. “There was a lot of kids around the age of 20, and throw in a few of us older blokes, it was a good mix.”

Tickets are still available for tomorrow night’s 20th anniversary celebrations, with more information available by contacting Glenn on 0419 848 326.