Sandy Hodge to play for Victoria

HOMERS cricketer Sandy Hodge will represent Victoria at the 2014 Imparja Cup in Alice Springs starting on Sunday.

The prolific Pigeons keeper-batsman is no stranger to the Imparja Cup, and has again been in stellar form this season after overcoming a thumb injury.

Hodge has scored 364 runs in just seven Horsham Cricket Association A Grade knocks and said he was excited about testing his skills in the week-long tournament for the fourth time.

“It’s pretty exciting – it’s always good fun to go away and play in the Imparja Cup,” he said.

“It’s always fairly challenging with the weather up there, but there’s good grounds and facilities, and playing against district cricketers should be a good challenge.”

Victoria’s 13-man squad includes five cricketers playing in Melbourne’s Premier Cricket competition – Ben Abbatangelo, Damon Egan, Josh Eaton, Alex Kerr and Fletcher Stewart – with 20-year-old Melbourne Stars community rookie Abbatangelo to captain the side for a third year.

Hodge said the team would be out to improve on back-to-back third-placed finishes, and also said he was looking forward to mentoring some of the younger players in the squad, including Egan, an up-and-coming keeper-batsman.

“Damon is a young guy and he’s got a lot of talent. He’s playing at Melbourne Cricket Club and we’ll be interchanging wicket-keeping duties,” he said.

“I’ll sort of be mentoring him and a few of the other young guys as well.”

Hodge also said it was exciting this year with Victoria fielding a women’s team for the first time.

Victoria’s campaign begins with matches against Queensland and Tasmania on Monday.

The side then plays Northern Territory and New South Wales on Tuesday, before playing Western Australia on Thursday and South Australia on Friday.

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