Aussie great to play in Bendigo Twenty20

A TWENTY20 cricket match at the Queen Elizabeth Oval next week will help to raise money for Bendigo’s bushfire victims.The Bendigo District Cricket Association will play the Emu Valley Cricket Association in the special match on Saturday, February 21.The game will be played under the banner of The Pride of Bendigo Challenge, and it’s hoped the match between the two associations will become an annual event.The game will start at 7.30pm, with all money going to fire-affected victims in Bendigo.Adding to the occasion is the game will feature former Australian cricketer Dean Jones, who will play for the EVCA side.Jones, now 47, played 52 Tests for Australia between 1984 and 1992, scoring 3631 runs at an average of 46.55, with 11 centuries and 14 half-centuries.He was renowned as one of world cricket’s great one-day players during his career, in which he played 164 one-day internationals for Australia, scoring 6068 runs at an average of 44.61, with seven centuries and 46 half-centuries.“Our guys in the EVCA are more than happy and really excited to be taking on the straight-batters from the BDCA,” EVCA president Peter Cole said yesterday.“We will teach them how to play a bit of cross-bat cricket, which is what we are born and bred on.“We should be able to get a hell of a crowd there for this game and we will certainly be instructing all the players from our competition to get along to support it.“We’re going to make it a great spectacle - the result is irrelevant, it’s all about helping the community in the best way we can.” Twenty20 cricket has proven a massive success in Bendigo this season.A crowd of about 2000 turned out at the QEO on December 16 to watch the grand final of the BDCA’s inaugural The Advertiser Shield Twenty20 competition between Golden Square and Eaglehawk.“It’s great that we are able to get the two associations together for a good cause to help out the disadvantaged,” BDCA president Wayne Walsh said.“We hope that we can make a big occasion out of this because it’s for a good cause with all the money going to those who have been disadvantaged by the fires.”The Pride of Bendigo Challenge match will take place following the completion of the round 13 BDCA game between Sandhurst and Golden Square earlier in the day.Entry to the game will cost $5. Meanwhile, it’s hoped next month’s AFL practice match at the QEO will assist in the recognition of the work done by the CFA and Emergency Services in the recent fire tragedies.Because of the recent fires stretching their resources to the limit, the Blue Ribbon Foundation and Bendigo Hospital won’t be involved in the AFL practice match, to be played under lights on Friday, March 13.“We are really disappointed, but certainly understand the circumstances for this decision,” Central Victorian Football chief executive officer Steven Oliver said.“The late notification of the game to Bendigo meant that both the Blue Ribbon Foundation and the Bendigo Hospital have committed to other events.“I hope that future games may see the return to what has been a successful partnership.”

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