QUEANBEYAN’S two-day title defence will take on a sombre note this weekend as the reigning premiers take on Tuggeranong just one week after the sudden passing of Tuggeranong stalwart Glenn Thornton.
The 55-year-old Thornton suffered a heart attack midway through a fourth grade match against Ginninderra last weekend and could not be revived in a tragedy that has rocked the Tuggeranong club.
While Queanbeyan and Tuggeranong have developed a fierce rivalry on the cricket pitch over the past few years, Bluebags captain Aaron Ayre said Thornton’s death served to put such sporting enmity in perspective.
“I think everyone within the ACT cricket community, when they found out what had happened to Glenn it was just silence, no one could believe it,” he said. “The cricket community here in the ACT is so close and everyone knows everyone so it was a real shock.”
But while something of a shadow will likely hang over this weekend’s play, both clubs will still be looking to open their two-day account in what is shaping as a absorbing season-opener.
Tuggeranong is widely regarded as the frontrunner in this year’s Douglas Cup competition with the South Canberra club determined to break Queanbeyan’s three-year stranglehold on the trophy.
Last year’s beaten semi-finalists have brought in a number of new faces over the offseason including one-time Bluebags all-rounder Blake Dean who is set to face his former club for the first time this weekend.
“There was always going to come a time when they were going to go all in and I think that’s happened this year,” Ayre said of Tuggeranong’s impressive recruitment drive.
“They’ve obviously brought in a few recruits but we know a couple of them fairly well so hopefully we can limit the damage a little bit. They’re the frontrunners this year and to get a win over them first up would be a good boost.”
Douglas Cup two-day competition, round one
Who: Queanbeyan v Tuggeranong
Where: Chisholm Oval
When: Saturday, 11am