STILL SWINGING: Anthony Telfer and Melville Lyons are amongst the Sunraysia cricketers taking part in the inaugural Hoggies Estate Willowfest Veterans Cricket Carnival that begins tomorrow. Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By MITCH RODD

SOME of Sunraysia’s cricketing greats of yesteryear will don the green and gold at the upcoming Hoggies Estate Willowfest Veterans Cricket Championships.

Competition will begin for cricket tragics who don’t have a ‘use by date’ today in Over 50s, who will finish by Monday, and in two divisions of Over 60s and an Over 70s competitions on Sunday, who conclude next Thursday.

Matches won’t just be to re-live the glory days, however. State representative teams from NSW, ACT, Victoria and South Australia will even make an appearance as a precursor to the Australian Veterans Championships in November.

Former Australian Test captain, Graham Yallop, will be part of the Endeavour Hills squad, while former Test bowler Rodney Hogg will be the ambassador.

Some of Sunraysia’s finest cricketers who have celebrated the big ‘five-O’, as well as a handful who want it known they aren’t there yet, will play this weekend. Tony Hickey will captain the Sunraysia Green side, while Melville Lyons is skipper of the Sunraysia Gold squad.

While the Sunraysia sides won’t get the chance to engage in banter-filled slanging matches against each other, Lyons said there will probably be enough barbs thrown at their own teammates to compensate!

Lyons said the concept of the Willowfest Veterans was “fantastic”.

“I’m 54 now, but I remember playing Willowfest as a young bloke, mainly for Sunraysia when they fielded a side,” he said.

“Most of those who will be playing are still playing at club level. When you get to this age and you stop playing, your body finds it hard to get going again! 

“Many of us have also played together, either with our clubs, or representing Sunraysia.

“We were quite a strong competition for a long time, and that meant many hours on a bus travelling to play in other representative competitions. Because of that, there have been so many memories created and stories to come from these times, even if we didn’t play with them every week.”

Modifications have been made to match rules to allow all participants to have a go, and the preserve their battered bodies.

As well as the competition, Willowfest staples in the Whack and Express competitions will also take place at Mildura Senior College next Wednesday night.

Fixtures are available via mycricket.cricket.com.au, while further information is available on the Willowfest website and Facebook Page.