Warm welcome for UK import

Woodend Cricket Club’s first-ever international player received a very enthusiastic welcome within a few hours of arriving from England last Wednesday.
Monte McCague, from Leeds & Broomfield CC, is the son of former English fast bowler Martin McCague who played three Tests against Australia in the 1990s.
The strongly built 20-year-old describes himself as “a bowling allrounder” and said he was thrilled to be playing with Woodend this season.
Monte was not only welcomed by Woodend club officials, but also wished well by Victoria’s Sports Minister John Eren, district MP Mary-Anne Thomas, and Macedon Ranges Mayor Jennifer Anderson at Gilbert Gordon Oval.
Mr Eren and Ms Thomas were present to announce that Woodend and Macedon cricket clubs will each gain $149,000 from the Labor Government’s $180,000 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund for three new cricket practice nets. The shire contributed $60,000, and the clubs $25,000 and $20,000 respectively.
Mr Eren also announced an additional $150,000 for outdoor fitness equipment along the Campaspe River Trail in Kyneton, Jacksons Creek in Gisborne, and the Five Mile Creek trails at Woodend and Romsey. This idea grew from a positive idea by the Campaspe River and Land Management Group.
“We are so proud we are the cricketing capital, and sporting capital of the nation,” Mr Eren said.
The Minister, Ms Thomas and Cr Anderson all emphasised the benefits of sporting pursuits, recreational activities, and fitness, and praised the local clubs and volunteers involved throughout the Macedon Ranges.
The new cricket facilities at Woodend and Macedon will provide just over 300 cricketers – both male and female – boys, girls, with suitable training spaces.
Woodend Cricket Club president Ronan Hume and Macedon counterpart Steve Harrison expressed thanks to the government and shire council.
Mr Hume said the Woodend club and other user groups have worked closely over the years to ensure the precinct around Gilbert Gordon Reserve and Racecourse Reserve were improved for all user groups.
A new playing surface and new lights were positive developments, and the cricket nets will add to the facilities.
“None of this would have been possible if not for the support and guidance of the council and the current state government,”Mr Hume said.
He predicted Gilbert Gordon Reserve, with new clubrooms going ahead, will soon rival other venues in the Macedon Ranges and throughout Victoria.
Sporting all-rounder
Woodend Cricket Club has been looking for some time to obtain an overseas player, and feel Monte McCague will be a splendid addition this season.
He is a real sporting enthusiast, and plays rugby and golf in addition to cricket.
No doubt he learnt plenty about Australian Rules with the thrilling West Coast Eagles versus Collingwood grand final on Saturday!
Monte will coach Woodend’s Under 17s, and strengthen the club’s First XI which was runner-up to Bacchus Marsh in the McIntyre Cup competition last season.
The Woodsmen seemingly had the premiership in their grasp before suffering a sensational batting collapse in the grand final against Bacchus Marsh.
Woodend expects to have a strong side once again in the top grade, and there is keen interest in the junior level and women’s team as well.
Monte McCague has a family affinity with Australia as his father who was born in Northern Ireland spent some years here before eventually being selected to play for England. He took 4/121 in a Brisbane Test on debut.
Leeds & Broomfield is a family-orientated crickedt club, and Monte sees certain similarities with Woodend.
“We hope that Monte enjoys his stay and can take a great review of the Macedon Ranges upon his return home in April next year,” the club president said.

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