THE records fall year after year at the Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival. This year 228 teams came together over the Australia Day long weekend to take part in the 66th running of the event.
Held at venues all over Charters Towers, the Ashes is a sporting event like few others, where having a laugh and playing the fool is often held in as high regard as performance on the field.
The combination of cricketing prowess and laid-back socialising has made the Ashes a major tourist drawcard for Charters Towers since the carnival’s inception in 1948, to the point where it’s officially the biggest amateur sporting event in the southern hemisphere.
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The Queensland Bulls Masters returned to the Ashes for the marquee 20/20 exhibition match on Sunday playing the Goldfield Ashes Invitational XI. They also held a kids’ coaching clinic prior to the match.
“We are all about encouraging young people across the state to get involved in sport, and it is great to see the state government supporting our organisation and helping to get kids active,” Bulls Masters captain Jimmy Maher said
“The support of our sponsors such as Suncorp Bank, Toyota and CNW Electrical is also absolutely vital if the Bulls Masters are to continue reaching out to people in country areas across the state.”
Wendell Sailor returned to the side after a year off and the squad had a couple of nervous rookies in Cowboys coach Paul Green and a young bloke named Johnathan Thurston.
The Bulls went into bat first, and after a tough innings highlighted by local boy Andrew Symonds’ knock of 40 (including three big sixes), they finished the 20 over at 9/128.
Before the Invitational XI could chase the total, skies that had been threatening all day opened up and dumped a most welcome deluge which washed out the match.
On Monday, the final day of the carnival was held, with the A1 division of the 2014 Goldfield Ashes going to Malcheks Young Pups, who won on the second-last ball of their innings, defeating three-time reigning champions A Fish Called Wanda. The match was a replay of last year’s final, with the result reversed.
Charters Towers Cricket Association president Craig McAllister and Goldfield Ashes treasurer Kerri Forno said the weekend had gone off without a hitch, and they were very pleased with topping the team attendance record once again.
“I’d like to give the city council and all the volunteers a big round of thanks for all their hard work in putting together such a massive event so efficiently,” Mr McAllister said.
“I hope everyone who attended this year’s carnival had a great time and a safe one as well,” Ms Forno said.