Howzat! for keeping Rural Cricket SA honours in family

IN THEIR BLOOD: Vice-president of Rural Cricket SA, Norman Elliott, centre, with Craig Handley, left, and his nephew Brandon Handley. Both Handleys have the distinction of having captained the Rural Cricket SA side Picture: JON HOUZET

Cuylerville Cricket Club record for the Handleys

A RECORD has been set in the Cuylerville Cricket Club leading up to the Pineapple Cricket Tournament, as for the first time in the history of Rural Cricket SA, two members of the club from the same family have been captain of the Rural Cricket SA side.

Brandon Handley has followed in the footsteps of his uncle Craig Handley by being named captain of the Rural Cricket SA side this year.

“It’s happened where members of the same family have represented the side, but not that two members of the same family have captained the side,” said Norman Elliott, vice-president of Rural Cricket SA.

Craig played for what was then known as SA Country Districts from 1999 to 2001, and was captain for two of those years.

“For two of the seasons Craig captained they played against international touring sides [Kenya, Bangladesh and India A], which is also very rare,” Elliott said.

Craig, 48, played for about 25 years for the Cuylerville Cricket Club. He started playing for EP Country Districts in 1987 and stopped in 2007.

“During that time we won the SA Country Districts Tournament on numerous occasions,” Craig said. “I didn’t play continuously for all those years because I was overseas, playing in Warwickshire.”

Craig stopped playing completely in 2009.

“I was badly worn,” he said with a chuckle. “I do play in the legends games now.”

Unfortunately he will miss this year’s legends game in the Pineapple Tournament.

Brandon, 25, started playing rural cricket at around the time Craig stopped. This is the second year that he made the SA side.

“Playing for the EP side we came fourth last year and second last year,” he said.

He also played club cricket in the UK for three years, in Yorkshire and Devon.

Elliott, who has been involved with Rural Cricket SA since 1979, is also a Cuylerville member and was president of both Cuylerville and Rural Cricket SA.

“I started out as manager of EP Country Districts, then progressed to a selector and then was elected on the SA Districts board and then became president around 2008 for a three-year term,” he said.

Cricket runs in the Handley family. “I grew up around my dad playing in Cuylerville,” Brandon said.

“My brother, the late Gary Handley (Brandon’s father) played cricket for a long time for Cuylerville and also was president of Cuylerville Cricket Club,” Craig added. “We often played in the same team, my brother and I.

“Brandon also played with his father for a couple of games.”

Brandon will be playing in the Pineapple Tournament, which starts this weekend. “We won it last year so we would like to win it again,” he said. “It will probably be one of the most competitive tournaments because the sides have definitely got stronger,” Brandon said.

“The standard of local league cricket has improved again after some doldrums,” Craig said.

“It’s strengthened again,” said Elliott.

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