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  • Luke Gannon to step up to Merrivale Cricket Club coaching role

    2018 - 07.03

    New Merrivale Cricket Club coach Luke Gannon. 150325AS32 Picture: AARON SAWALLLUKE Gannon rediscovered his love for cricket in his first season with Merrivale. He’ll be calling the shots in his second.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Tigers have appointed Gannon, who turned 36 on Tuesday, as their division one coach for next season, following Michael Walsh’s decision to step down.

    The club has also secured West Warrnambool champion Leigh Johnson as a batting coach, in a non-playing capacity.

    Gannon, who played all his cricket at West Warrnambool before crossing to Merrivale in 2014, said he was excited about taking on the role.

    “Halfway through the year they said would I be interested. I thought about it for a week or so and said I would,” he said.

    “It’s a good group, there’s a lot to work with. That was a driving force.

    “They’ve got a really good young bunch and the junior ranks at Merrivale are really strong.”

    Gannon was a member of the Panthers’ 2011-12 premiership team under then-coach Andrew Robb.

    But he didn’t feature when they beat Dennington in the 2013-14 decider, spending much of the season in division two.

    He joined Merrivale in the off-season, seeking more opportunities. While he enjoyed his time at West, he believed he was still capable of playing in the top grade.

    “I had a bit of a point to prove I could still play in the ones,” he said.

    “Nugget (Walsh) contacted me during the off-season and gave me an indication they’d give me a go. It was a no-brainer in the end.”

    He said the switch had given him “a new-found love for the game”.

    “They’re a good, tight-knit bunch. They made me and my family feel pretty welcome,” he said.

    Merrivale finished third in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association Hopkins conference this season, missing finals by two points.

    Gannon is confident the Tigers won’t lose many players.

    English all-rounder Andy Rishton is one departure, with study commitments preventing him from returning to Australia, while Walsh will drop back to division two.

    But paceman Coby Dudman has recommitted.

    “Where we fell down was the middle period of the year … It wasn’t whole games (where we dropped off) but more bad sessions for us,” Gannon said.

    Merrivale president Ashley Jennings is pleased Gannon took the club’s offer.

    “We believe he’s got an ability to continue developing our juniors and get the best out of our playing group going forward,” he said.

    Jennings said Walsh had “done a great job for us” during his six-season tenure as coach.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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