AS GYMPIE'S cricket season gears up and welcomes two new sides, a veteran of the local game is flagging his final season.
Gympie Gold veteran Troy Ashton said Kingaroy and Murgon's inclusion in the Gympie Regional Cricket Association will add spice to the mix in what will be his final season.
The South Burnett sides will join existing clubs Colts, Harlequins, Valleys and Wests to take the A-Grade league to six sides.
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"They're a strong cricketing fraternity out there and two new teams spices things up a little and it makes it exciting,” Ashton said.
The Gympie Gold XI, Gympie's premier representative team, will be able to draw from players from the South Burnett.
The region has been a fertile ground for talent, including the likes of Matthew Hayden, Carl Rackerman and Holly Ferling.
Ashton, 39, has been with the Gold since 1997, their debut year in the Sunshine Coast First Grade.
A burgeoning family with three kids and an aging body have convinced Ashton this time it is time to declare.
"This will be the last season for me, it's getting too hard to commit to a whole day each weekend,” he said.
"Fitness-wise I'm not that fit, gone are the days of bowling 25, 30 overs a day and each year it gets worse.
"I'll get through the first game I suppose.”
The experienced all-rounder has a career best bowling record of 6/34 and a handy 89 runs with the bat and hopes to end his Gold career on a high.
Ashton said there has been off-season movement in the side, which has gained Andrew Batten and coach Paul Mitchell, but lost captain Josh Brady and young-gun Jarrod Sippel, with the latter poached by the Scorchers.
"If I get 20 wickets and exactly 200 runs, I've done my job for the season, anything above that and it's a bonus,” Ashton said.
"As long as there's beer at the end of the day, I'm good.
"We've been there or thereabouts, we need the young blokes to step up.”
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