Here come the Masters
CRICKET: Central Highlands Cricket players and fans are looking forward to this year's Anzac Day Bash in the Bush to be held against the iconic Bulls Masters team at the Emerald Showgrounds.
A fundraising night at the Maraboon Tavern on April 24 will raise money for Outback Futures, a not-for-profit group focused on improving mental health services and supported by Bulls Masters, and for Central Highlands Cricket.
Business Development Manager for Bulls Masters Ken Healy said this week the team "love getting back to the bush and regional centres to promote cricket”.
The T20 cricket match will include Bulls Masters greats such as Holly Ferling, Andy Bichel, Andrew Symonds, Ian Healy, Carl Rackemann and Jimmy Maher.
Mr Healy said the numbers of players involved in regional cricket were on the rise and the junior competition was "getting better and better”.
He said the number of women and girls involved in the sport was also increasing which "is really great to see”.
"And we're very passionate about the mental health side of it as well and the fact that Outback Futures has been a partner on previous opportunities and we've seen the work they're doing in the community.”
It was good for people in rural and remote areas to hear the personal stories from the cricketers, Mr Healy said, as it could help them feel less isolated and more supported when facing mental health issues.
"Everyone has gone through times that are difficult, no matter what their story is, and it makes them feel that they're not alone and there's people wanting to help.
"Maybe one word that Andrew Symonds says could save a life. We've seen the effect with Outback Futures firsthand.
"Sport is a great medium for anyone - it's just a great medium.
"Some kids and some people don't want to talk about their problems but they'll come and talk about their sport.
"We're trying to get these guys off their farms and come and have a bit of relief and a bit of time off.
"Sport and, in particular, cricket is that great medium.”
He said the Bulls Masters team loved reuniting to play again and loved involving the local players.
"It reinvigorates cricket as well.”
The team would take part in the local Anzac Day service, and events afterwards, and play sport in the afternoon.
The Bulls Masters invested $200,000 into regional cricket last year, and Mr Healy said they were "passionate” about contributing to improved mental health around regional Queensland.
Central Highlands Cricket vice-president Emma McCullagh said it was "great” to attract interesting cricket in the region with the Bulls Masters and promoting the game.
"Cricket here has had remarkable growth over the past couple of years and we're looking to continue the interest in the game.”
She said the popularity of the game in the younger age groups had grown while it had "remained steady” in the older age groups.
The fundraising dinner at the Maraboon Tavern is $85 for canapes, beer, wine and soft drinks.
For tickets, phone Bulls Masters on 0405810973 or email admin@bulls masters.com.au.
Gates will open for the Anzac Day Bash in the Bush from noon, with a free kids' clinic from 1-1.45pm.
The game starts at 2.30pm, and Broncos great Andrew Gee is attending. Price is $10 and children under 16 free.