Grampians blaze inspires cricket team

Grampians players play on in Bendigo

GALLERY: Bendigo Country Week in pictures - day 1 action

NEWS: Bendigo Country Week action begins

THERE was no chance the Grampians cricket team would miss out on playing in Bendigo Country Week despite serious fires threatening the area.

Players and officials arrived in Bendigo on Monday morning just before their opening match against Red Cliffs in Huntly.

Grampians Cricket Association manager Gary Hannett said the team was always going to play in Bendigo.

“It was highly unlikely that we wouldn’t come to country week," he said. 

The Grampians blaze burnt about 52,000 hectares.

It has destroyed four properties, numerous sheds, fencing and affected 7500 livestock.

The fire also claimed one life.

Mr Hannett said the raging fires hadn’t affected anyone on the team; however he was one of the hundreds of volunteers working alongside the CFA to control the fire.

“There were fires everywhere,” he said.

“I was out on the fire trucks on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and on Sunday til about 1 in the afternoon.

“Our opening batsman was also volunteering out on a fire trucks.”

Mr Hannett said it was lucky no one in the team had been directly affected by the series blaze, however that wasn’t the case for his own family.

“My first cousin’s house was burnt down,” he said.

Mr Hannett said all the players and officials from the Grampians were focussed on the cricket.

He hoped the efforts of the team would lift the spirits of their family and friends back home.

“We are playing for the people back home,” Mr Hannett said.

It is the second year the Grampians Cricket Association has been a part of Bendigo Country Week.

We are playing for the people back home - Gary Hannett

Mr Hannett said he knew what to expect coming into the event this year.

“We bought a really young side last year and we had a lot of runs made against us, so this year we have a more of an experienced team,” he said.

“Hopefully we can get a couple of wins.” 

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