ADIOS, goodbye, sayonara.
Or, as the dolphins in great British novelist Doug Adams’ ‘‘Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy’’ trilogy in five parts once said: ‘‘So long and thanks for all the fish’’.
After coming up on nearly two years of sport watching and writing in the Echuca-Moama district, I’m signing off from the Riv this week.
A combination of a young family and a long drive between relatives has been crossing one’s mind periodically during the past few months and I will turn our Toyota back towards South Australia for future horizons.
Specifically, further university study to complement a teaching degree earned prior to joining this very news outlet.
Anyway, enough of me, now about you.
All of you.
This space is too small for me to properly say thanks to all the coaches, players, officials, administrators and fans who have followed — and allowed me as a writer to follow — the sporting fortunes of the twin towns and surrounds since early 2015.
I’ve witnessed some pretty cool stuff indeed during that time.
The Colbinabbin footy centenary in 2015 — including a win over Elmore at Morgan Oval.
The rollercoaster Moama ride through seasons 2015 and 2016 in the Murray footy league under Simon Maddox.
The patient resurgence of Echuca under Andrew Briggs.
And the more difficult seasons for Echuca United and Tongala. Dean Moon and Daryl Harrison still said g’day when I picked up the phone to ring them most weeks.
Likewise the journeys among the lower tier competitions through Leitchville-Gunbower, Lockington-Bamawm United, Mount Pleasant and Elmore. And Mathoura.
If you’d like to try a new parallel parking challenge, have a go at getting a spot within one block of Atkins Street Oval at North Bendigo sometime when the Bulldoggies are in force.
I can say without doubt that netball is best seen across its entire hour of play, after covering the 2015 and 2016 Goulburn Valley league deciders.
And that after the handover from Dave Coward to Darryl Brown at the helm of the Border Raiders, the world game can go from strength to strength at Jack Eddy Reserve.
Hockey, basketball, tennis, martial arts.
Golf and croquet.
Cycling. Never knew Moama had its own velodrome until I worked here. Neato.
Horse racing of both the stand-up and sit-down variety.
Attempting to decipher the inner workings of what’s commonly known as the politics of lawn bowls — amid something seemingly akin to secret service security levels at times.
And two Southern 80s.
In two completely contrasting contests — and weather conditions.
It remains for some the pinnacle of the sporting calendar in town, and in pure international drawing magnitude, it is.
It’s also unfortunately dangerous and risky.
And people dedicate a lifetime to power boating and skiing the Murray River, despite the slim chance of those lifetimes being cut short by tragic accidents.
That takes incredible courage and commitment, as was again the case last weekend.
Then, last but by no means least, a few lines on the cricket.
Is there a better way to spend a summer sporting afternoon?
Personally, I doubt it.
For all the hiccups associated with how best to arrange a fixture list that includes two, one and half-day games — and keep everyone engaged in a meaningful manner across all three — the Goulburn Murray competition has been fun to watch unfold over two summers.
Rochester’s excellent dual-surface facilities, the rollercoaster of run-scoring and routings out at Echuca South and the recalling of incidents, both domestic and international, alongside those sitting at scorers’ desks.
Throughout, though, there’s the ability of administrators everywhere to remain calm while ensuring supporters understand where each and every respective competition is actually at.
And that can perhaps best be described via the presumably immortal words of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill on October 1, 1939.
‘‘It’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’’ did old Winston once say.
‘‘But perhaps there is a key...’’
He was of course referring to the way Russia would approach World War II, not sporting committees fundraising for their next big community event.
Nevertheless, the answer he gave to his own oft-repeated rhetorical query is still the same today.
And as long as there is interest in it, there is sport.
There is the sports writer.
That’s been me, here for you.
May all your matches in whatever form prove to be successful.
And please welcome our newest sporting staff member Alex Mitchell.
He’s a sports fan.
He’ll fit right in fine.