It was not only the temperature that was sizzling in Oodnadatta on the afternoon of Saturday March 5th, but also the skills of the cricketers who had gathered together for the annual Town vs Stations 20/20 cricket challenge. With the match tally at Stations 2, Town 1, both teams were keen to prove their might, the Town team hoping to even the ledger, the Stations hoping to increase their lead.
Both teams came well prepared, with burgeoning numbers of keen cricketers. It certainly made the job of selecting the first eleven (well 12, 13, whatever) a little difficult for the captains, Russell Prowse for the Town and Matt Williams for the Stations.
Stations won the toss and went into bat. The newly laid cricket pitch proved to be a much-improved surface for both batters and bowlers. Cam Williams and Dan Edwards opened the batting, enjoying a good partnership before Dan was caught out by Raymond Stapleton in the sixth over off Casey Bailesâ€™ first ball. The Station team went on to amass a total of 207 runs from the 20 overs. Cam Williams top scored with 65 runs, with Dan Edwards 25, Col Greenfield 30 and Ollie Lee 33 contributing handsomely. Raymond Stapleton took three impressive wickets for the Town team, with Trevor Hannes, Corey Jonas, Casey Bailes, Christopher Stewart and Russell Prowse all taking wickets.
After a brief break, the Town team padded up, (well, not really) with Geoffrey Mack and Cooper Bailes opening. Trent Grayson opened the bowling and took the wicket of Geoffrey Mack with his first ball. The Town team had been in training leading up to the big match, but on this occasion, the Station bowling and fielding arsenal proved just a little too strong. The Town team reached a final tally of 97 runs. Russell Prowse top scored for the Town team with 24. Raymond Stapleton, 16, Richard Stapleton 13 and Trevor Hannes 12 contributed well. Matt Williams claimed 4 wickets, Jim Wheeler and Trent Grayson each took 3, with Ben Powell and Colin Greenfield each taking 1 wicket.
Once the main game was over, a second â€œfriendlyâ€ took place, giving everyone a chance to participate. No official scoring occurred for the second game, but everyone was a winner, the sportsmanship, skill and camaraderie a joy to behold.
As the evening drew nigh, the shelters and equipment were packed away and the crowd reconvened in the racecourse clubrooms. The bar was open, sausages sizzled on the BBQ and players and spectators mingled, reliving the finer moments of the match, and simply enjoying the opportunity to get together.
Tony Williams, as umpire, presented the awards, a Transcontinental Hotel voucher for the best for each team. For the Town team, Raymond Stapleton was selected as best, with Russell Prowse nominated as runner up. Cameron Williams was best for the Stations team and Matt Williams was runner up.
The committee had selected White Ribbon, Australiaâ€™s No Violence Against Women campaign as the focus for the 2016 match. Part proceeds from the day will be donated to this very important cause. Most people attempted to wear something white (although most were tinged with a coating of red dust by the end of proceedings) A Pink Roadhouse voucher was awarded to the best dressed. Christopher Stewart was the recipient of this award, with Lelia Kamphorst, the newly appointed NRM Community Engagement Officer as runner up.
Music, dancing, conversation and fun saw the night out. ORHS would like to thank Outback Communities Authority for their contribution to the success of the game through their sports grants program, the Miners Store for donating the sausages, the committee members for their organisation and the stations for their donations of salads and cakes. A special thank you to the cricketers for participating so enthusiastically and the community for continuing to support the event
At the end of the day, we are all winners. We have seen this event go from strength to strength each year. Physical, emotional, social and community well-being are the winners.
If you would like to be part of similar outback events, come to William Creek on Saturday March 19th for the Gymkhana, the Opal Festival in Coober Pedy on March 26th or the Oodnadatta Races on May 7th.