Carlton’s Eddie Betts will swap his trademark baggy football shorts for pants when he makes his cricket debut for Golden Square today.
In a promotional coup for the Bulldogs, Betts will make a one-off appearance against Eaglehawk in round three of the Bendigo District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 competition.
Betts, who has booted 263 goals in 166 games for the Blues, is used to making footy look easy, but he isn’t so confident about his batting skills.
“I reckon the ball’s going to go middle stump, straight through,” Betts told the Bendigo Advertiser. “Hopefully I won’t get out for a golden duck, (I’ll) just swing as hard as I can.
“I’ve only played backyard cricket.
“I didn’t really follow cricket until I shifted to Melbourne and that was 10 or 15 years ago, so now I’m right into cricket – I watch it all the time – but I haven’t really played it.”
Golden Square secretary Paul Scullie is Betts’ brother-in-law and he invited the livewire small forward “for a hit” while Carlton’s footballers have a week-off pre-season training following a fitness camp in Arizona.
After losing to Bendigo United and Strathfieldsaye in the opening two rounds, Golden Square is bottom of the section-A ladder and unlikely to be in contention for the Twenty20 semi-finals.
But the Bulldogs hope their star attraction brings more spectators, particularly young players, through the gates ahead of their In2Cricket junior program launch on Friday.
“We’re really trying to push our juniors and Ed probably relates to a lot of young kids in some ways. He’s just had a baby himself a few weeks ago,” Scullie said.
“He just finds it a great opportunity to get some kids down, he just loves being involved and playing sport.
“We’d certainly be keen to bat him up the order, I reckon he might be a bit of a slogger and might get a few away early. With the new rock he might get the edge a few times and they might find their way down to the boundary.
“I’ve ordered some long, baggy pants for him as well, so we’ll get the biggest ones we can find.” It’s unknown whether Betts will bowl, or what he’ll bowl.
“I don’t know, I can run in fast and I can off-spin or whatever you call it – I don’t have a clue,” Betts said.
Andrew Collins, from Bridgewater, who was delisted by Carlton but is training with the club in the hope of being redrafted, will be on the sidelines to watch Betts in action. “He said he’s going to come down and watch me go out for a duck,” Betts said. BDCA president Wayne Walsh said Betts’ appearance would be good promotion for the competition.
“It’s great to have a person like that. It’s good for the cricket club to utilise Eddie as a marketing tool,” Walsh said.
While Golden Square is an outsider to make the semi-finals, Eaglehawk will be treating the match as a must-win clash to stay in touch with the top-two.
The Borough was thrashed by undefeated top team Strathfieldsaye by 93 runs in its opening match before the bye last round and is in third place, two wins behind Bendigo United, which has the bye tonight.
Strathfieldsaye can all-but assure itself of a semi-final berth with victory when it travels to face Bendigo at Atkins Street Reserve.
In section B, Strathdale-Maristians’ hopes of defending its three consecutive Twenty20 titles hangs in the balance against Huntly-North Epsom at Bell Oval.
The Suns lost to Kangaroo Flat by five runs in the first round and are fourth, one spot behind Huntly, which has one win from two games.
Kangaroo Flat has the opportunity to move top of the ladder when the Roos take on Sandhurst at Weeroona Oval, while top team White Hills has the bye.
All matches begin at 5pm.