THE largest amateur cricket carnival in the southern hemisphere has again surpassed all expectations with thousands of cricketers flocking to Charters Towers for the annual Goldfield Ashes.
A record 247 teams, including 18 ladies teams took to the fields for the three day event, which started on Australia Day and wrapped up on Monday.
Wet weather did little to deter the enthusiasm of participants, though some A-grade and B1 games were washed out as the rain came down on Sunday.
However, the rain did little to deter the fun – and in fact, encouraged more cheekiness as the Mount Isa based team the Cavaliers donned their wet-weather uniform of personalised budgie smugglers.
- Goldfield Ashes 2019 gallery
- Record number of teams for 2019
- Ladies hit out at Ashes
- Goldfield Ashes 2018 gallery
Charters Towers Cricket Association President Craig McAlister said the weekend went well despite the wet weather, with 75 per cent of matches going ahead.
“Considering the weather it went very well and it was one of the biggest we’ve done,” Mr McAlister said.
Mr McAlister said a batsman for the Gum Flats B1 team scored one of the biggest scores in the last few years, at 286 and not out at the end of the 50 overs.
The matches were played across 79 fields this year and Mr McAlister said one additional field would be made available for next year.
While he would like to see the event grow further, they were limited by the number of available pitches.
Charters Towers Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Dean Cavanagh said police were pleased with the crowd’s behaviour.
“By all accounts it was a really good weekend, we had a very big crowd and a bit of wet weather, but from a policing point of view they were very well behaved,” Sen-Sgt Canavagh said.
A couple of people were caught drink driving, but no assaults were reported and property offences were minimal.
Charters Towers Mayor Liz Schmidt said businesses were the biggest winner from the event.
“The economic benefit is hard to quantify, but we had one cafe open 24/7, a number of others for breakfast and lunch, every room in the town, whether it be a hotel, motel, caravan park or an outback yard and shed was full, so it’s extremely good for the community,” Cr Schmit said.
“Last year we were looking for the shade under umbrellas and this year we were using them for the rain, and while it messes with the organisation a bit we are thankful for every drop we get.
“There was still many people in the town, and we are so appreciative for what they bring to the economy, people come from so far and always return.
“On a whole, people come out to have a good time, and it’s great for the whole community.”