By Marcus Uhe
The long process of recovery from the theft of equipment and memorabilia has begun for St Mary’s Cricket Club following the discovery of a large amount of the stolen property late last month.
Victoria Police located playing equipment and memorabilia belonging to St Mary’s and St John’s Football Club in what Police believe to be a different shipping container to what was stolen on Friday 27 October in Grantville on Victoria’s Bass Coast, just shy of an hour from where it was snatched from last month at St Mary’s home ground of Thomas P Carroll Reserve.
The clubs worked alongside the City of Greater Dandenong and police to salvage what they could, including pitch covers, trophies, photographs and apparel, while the extent of what is not there will not be known for some time, according to St Mary’s president Troy Cashman.
In spite of this, he said the discovery was welcome news for the club.
“A lot of (memorabilia) is smashed but it was really positive that we’ve got it back,” Cashman said.
“To find all the photos was a huge bonus for us and a bit of a pick-up for us.
“To be able to get it all back re-framed and have it on a wall or in the rooms is going to be huge somewhere down the line.
“It’s been tiring but everyone’s help has buoyed me to lead the club, keep moving on and be positive, and rebuild.
“Half of the memorabilia has been smashed but at least we’ve got it.”
While finding the precious artifacts and documentation of the story of the club brought some relief, the issue remains that the club has nowhere to store what they have.
Despite a formal unveiling of the facilities with council representatives and Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams in September, the club does not yet have access to use them as the council puts the finishing touches on the project.
“Works on the WJ Crowe Pavilion are nearing completion, which are anticipated to be completed in two weeks,” Daniel Przychodzki, (Acting) Chief Engineer and Major Projects (Deputy Director) said on Friday 3 November.
“The delays are due to some additional improvements to all ability access.”
In the meantime, the Saints and their four senior sides continue to operate out of temporary marquees beside the $6 million facility that remains fenced-off, restricting the club’s ability to hold social events and host visiting clubs to the extent that they desire.
Cashman expressed his gratitude to visiting sides and praised those from his own club for simply appreciating the circumstances the Saints are negotiating, and getting on with the job.
“Clubs coming to our ground to play, in not the right circumstances with facilities, have just been happy and accepted it,” Cashman said.
“We’ll send an email to them during the week, advising them that this is our situation, but no one complains.
“That side of things has been amazing.
“Even players playing on our ground just accepting what we’ve got has been great.”
Police say the investigation remains ongoing and that anyone who witnessed the incident or with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au