Murray Valley Cricket Association legend Shaun Downie has signed with Numurkah.
The 186-game veteran will make the switch for the 2017-18 season in a move that will significantly boost the Blues’ chances of climbing the Haisman Shield ladder after finishing eighth last season.
Downie’s presence will help alleviate the large load captain Liam Gledhill has had to bear at Numurkah, with the veteran dangerous with either bat or ball in hand.
A right-arm off-spinner and top-order batsman, Downie smashed 528 runs at an average of 37.71 and took 38 wickets at 11.16 for Cobram last season on his way to representing the association at Melbourne Country Week and being selected in its team of the year.
The 30-year-old only played one match at Country Week this season, but has a rich history of representative form after amassing five Gemmill medals for the best Murray Valley player at the tournament.
Downie will also add a much-needed wealth of experience for the Blues, having represented Victoria Country 10 times across the 2008-09 and 2013-14 seasons and having played four Premier Thirds matches with Footscray-Edgewater (2002-04).
After being a Tiger for the past 18 years and captaining the club for four seasons, Downie cited a yearning for change as the main catalyst behind his move when he spoke to the Numurkah Leader recently.
‘‘I’m starting to get a bit older now and have been in a comfort zone at Cobram, so a change and a fresh competition will be good for me,’’ he said.
The star will look to significantly add his career tally of 6643 runs and 292 wickets when the season begins in October.