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High quality Bridge Battle to headline Australia Day on the Surf Coast

January 25, 2022 BY

Torquay president and captain Rob Dunne and Terry Hill standing next to Jan Juc captain and president Jordan Graham and Lukas McVey at Shark Park. Photos: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

TWO of the Surf Coast’s heartland cricket clubs are more than eager to step onto the wicket on Wednesday next week as the annual Battle of the Bridge match prepares to take centre stage.

The Australia Day clash between Jan Juc and Torquay will be the 10th edition of the local grudge match with the former hosting the game at Bob Pettitt Reserve.

While the day is about bringing the local community together to promote the game of cricket, both sides realise that once both teams take the field the competitive nature of both First XI outfit will start to come out.

“The day is good for the crowd as well as for things like fundraisers and raffles, and both sides will be aiming to win on the day,” Sharks captain Jordan Graham said.

“We certainly have higher priorities for the season, but it is good to take on our cross-town rival and build the friendship between the two clubs.”

Graham has played in every Battle of the Bridge to date, as the Sharks maintain a head-to-head record of five wins compared to the Tigers’ four. Meanwhile, Torquay skipper Terry Hill will make his Bridge return for the first time in more than six years.

“It’s just a great day for the community,” Hill said.

“It’s good to have some banter with the Juc boys on the day, we’re both in contention to win the premiership in our respective competitions, so it should be a high-quality game of cricket.”

The day will include two Twenty20 games with the double-header to be opened with the Legends game at noon, before the main game kicks off at 3pm.

Hosting this year’s event, Jan Juc Cricket Club will be putting on lunch for both sides, as well as a fully stocked bar with live entertainment on the day. Following play, both clubs will mingle to reflect on the day.

“It’s a good contrast between the old and the new at these two clubs, which allows both clubs to enjoy a few beers at the end of the day,” Torquay president Rob Dunne said.

“It’s going to be a good matchup this year for sure, I reckon; both teams are performing
really well.”

The two clubs’ grounds are less than three kilometres away from one another and with more than three decades of previous meetings, the Battle of the Bridge remains a historic day as well.

“There’s a long history between Jan Juc and Torquay, we’ve been playing each other since the early ’80s,” Sharks president Lukas McVey said.

“A lot of the older guys, particularly in the legends game, see the day as an annual catch-up, so it’s good to rekindle the connection, but still, there’s a bit of rivalry.

“The word ‘fossil’ tends to be thrown around a lot, but it’s all in good spirit.”