The Baggy Blues cricket tour's visit to Cootamundra - which encompassed a dinner, breakfast, coaching clinic and a T20 match - proved to be a great success,
The action-packed two days commenced on Wednesday evening with a dinner at the Ex-Services Club.
Following the dinner, former test cricketer Gavin Robertson did a Q & A with cricketers. Robertson, who played with a number of former Blues, provided good entertainment for an audience of 100 patrons.
Former Baggy Blues interviewed were Steve Rixon, Mark O'Neill, Richard Chee Quee, Trevor Bayliss, Rick McCosher, Steve Small, Phil Marks and former Stockinbingal cricketer, Graham Smith. Robertson continued to show his expertise by interviewing current Baggy Blues on tour: Chris Green, Baxter Holt, Nick Bertus, Ben Manenti, Ben Dwarshauis and Ajurn Nair.
Richard Chee Quee mentioned that he became the first Sheffield Shield cricketer to go out twice in a session when NSW were thrashed by Western Australia in under days at the WACA.
Rick McCosker talked about getting his jaw broken in the Centenary Test against England in Melbourne in 1977. A bouncer from Bob Willis broke his jaw, the ball falling on the stumps. McCosker, after spending two days in hospital, returned to the Australian side with his jaw wired up and face bandaged up.
McCosker batted at number 10 in the second innings. He and Rod Marsh put on a valuable 53 runs for the ninth wicket. McCosker made an important 25 as Australians went onto the win the match by 45 runs, the same margin as 1877.
On Thursday morning, 72 guests attended the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program breakfast held at the Ex-Services Club.
In his opening address, Baggy Blues tour organiser Phil Marks said every day in Australia, eight people commit suicide. RAMHP co-ordinator Faith Rogers showcased RAMHP via slideshow presentation.
In the last part of the breakfast, Gavin Robertson spoke about being selected for NSW and Australia, only to be dropped from both sides.
In those days, with no contracts, he found himself going to Centrelink queuing each day looking for a job.
On Thursday afternoon, renowned cricket coach Warren Smith from Wagga put through about 50 children through their paces at a coaching clinic.
Smith was assisted by Baggy Blues players Chris Green, Baxter Holt, Nick Bertus, Ben Manenti, Ben Dwarshauis and Ajurn Nair.
Once the coaching class finished, the toss of coin was made by Cootamundra MP Steph Cooke.
Chris Green, captain of the Bradman XI, won the toss and batted.
The Bradman XI compiled a healthy score of 5/151. Ben Dwarshuis entertained the crowd with some big hitting.
The strongly built all-rounder made 41 from 24 balls.
After the change of innings, the Murdoch XI saw big hitting by Ben Manteni.
The Sydney Sixers all-rounder blasted 57 runs, a knock that included fives sixes.
Cootamundra local Nathan Corby made a breezy 25 as the Murdoch XI finished 19 runs short with 7/132.
It was a highly entertaining match, with 283 runs scored from the 40 overs; 11 sixes and 14 fours struck.
Baggy Blues tour organiser Phil Marks was full of praise of all aspects of the tour.
"Well done on getting such good numbers to the dinner and the RAMHP breakfast, that really helps to ignite the mental health awareness message we're trying to promote," he said.
"I hope everyone learned a little about what the Baggy Blues are trying to achieve.
"The clinic was great fun and I think both the kids and parents alike enjoyed it.
"Hopefully we'll see some stars emerge in the future.
"I thought the game was fantastic too.
"I hope that all the players got something out of it and congratulations on the quality of the ground and lights."
Cootamundra's Baggy Blue tour was the fourth and last for the season. The other three tours were to Inverell, Tamworth and Kempsey.
Before the end of March, Cootamundra cricketers will be attending a RAMHP workshop conducted by Faith Rogers.
"As a prerequisite, Cootamundra cricketers need to ensure that our RAMHP co-ordinators are given the opportunity to train some of your cricket club members in mental health awareness by way of workshops," Marks said.
"This ensures that the legacy remains once we leave."
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