Cricket: Country boys take block for a good cause

By Kara Bell

Late afternoon, 17 January 2009. Farmers v Graziers in the annual Colombo Creek Classic at the Whiteheads’ Colombo Creek property outside Jerilderie in the Riverina. Farmer Ed Ryan is at the crease and has only two balls remaining to rein in the Graziers’ target of 198. The crowd is silent and the tension is palpable in the mid-summer heat. Crack. Ryan smashes it through the covers to the boundary, the Farmers take the glory and the spectators go berserk …

Since 2007, for one day of the year, a battle of supremacy has been fought between the Grazier and Farmer XIs – and a cricket rivalry for the ages has been established. It all started as a relaxed weekend away from the city, where the players (for most part originally off the land) could get back to their roots and share a few drinks with friends at the completion of the match. Now known as the Colombo Creek Cricket Classic, it has grown into an annual charity fundraising event replete with a black tie gala for 150 guests.  A total of more than $40,000 has been raised and donated to charity since its inception.

This year the Classic is hitting the road; it’s leaving the Riverina and heading to the Western District in Victoria, and will be held at the scenic Buangor Cricket Grounds on the historic Cobb and Co. changing station on 13 February. Once again the Graziers XI will compete against the Farmers XI, and the war of RMs v Blundstones, Akubras v Terry Towlings and Conservatism v Opportunism will wage on. Currently the tally stands at 2 to 1 in favour of the Graziers, but the Farmers are adamant that their casual (non-existent) training regime was what gave them the edge earlier this year, and they will be hoping that maintaining this approach, along with the momentum from 2009’s thrilling victory, will allow them to even the ledger.

Last year the Colombo Creek Cricket Classic raised $25,000 to go towards CanTeen. Contributing to rural communities is important to all participants of the CCCC. This year the event will be raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides emergency and primary health care services together with communication and education assistance to people who live, work and travel in regional and remote Australia.

The CCCC Organising Committee is in the process of gaining sponsorship for 2010. Interested parties in supporting this worthy cause may obtain further information at

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