Heathcote hosts sports festival

January 26, 2024 BY

Photo: Whether on the bowing green or the cricket pitch, Australia Day offers a feat of local sport at Heathcote this 26 January. Photo: FILE

BOWLS and cricket challenges aimed at fund-raising and strengthening community links are part of Australia Day festivities in Heathcote.

On the green, Heathcote Bowls Club will run final MND Dennis Gleeson Superchallenge.

Teams of three will play in a two-four-two competition.

The event’s name acknowledges that for every two people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease each day, another two die because of MND.

Heathcote Bowling Club again teams up with the Never Give Up Group to fight “the beast” on 26 January.

The Superchallenge has drawn Neil Dalrymple, chief executive officer of World Bowls, along with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josh Thornton who bowled on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Another gun bowler in Irene Attard who represented Malta at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will make her way to Heathcote.

“There are also bowlers from Stanhope, Nagambie, Bendigo East, and several Melbourne clubs who have entered for this challenge,” said organising committee member Brian Taylor.

“We have a full field of teams to play.”

Another highlight of the day will be the auction of a Collingwood Football Club guernsey signed by the 2023 AFL premiership-winning team.

After the bowls action there is a cricket showdown at Pigeon Park in Barrack Reserve from 4pm.

Heathcote Cricket Club will face Heathcote Football-Netball Club in the Mitre 10-sponsored Community Bash.

Key players for the cricket club in the Twenty20 showdown include batters Tim Gleeson and Rylie Merkel, and spin bowler Nick Malavisi.

President of Heathcote CC, Alex Williamson is also captain of the team which is playing in the Castlemaine District Cricket Association.

The Saints are second on the B Grade ladder going into the season restart against Harcourt on 3 February.

It’s not all about cricket as there will be a jumping castle, balloon animals, juggling, and music to entertain all ages.

Runner-up in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote District FNL senior grand final in 2023, Heathcote returns to the training track at Pigeon Park next Tuesday night.

It’s a third season in charge for senior coach Andrew Saladino as the Saints strive to claim this year’s premiership cup.