Macedon retains the Ashes as fire burns



Macedon has retained the Ashes after an eleven run win over Aireys Inlet in the 31st annual Ash Wednesday game. The Ashes in this instance are from two towns that were devastated by the Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 16 1983: Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road, and Macedon, an hour north of Melbourne. The  1983 fires killed 75 people and destroyed 2500 homes in South Australia and Victoria.


This year’s match was played  at Tony Clarke Reserve in Macedon on a very hot Sunday, 9 February.  Smoke from a nearby fire at Gisborne/Riddells Creek could be seen in the distance during the second half of the day’s play.


Macedon, hosting the game for the first time in four years, batted first in the 30 overs each match and were flying at 2/68 off eight overs. The visitors, half a dozen whom had quite enjoyed the Macedonian’s generous hospitality the night before, fought back to have the home team 5/88 after 14 overs.


Don Trotta, though, shook off his previous evening’s cobwebs to hit three sixes on his way to 44 runs. James ‘Flash’ Gordon also made 44. They took the score to 6/140 from 20 overs. Aireys Inlet stemmed the flow in the last ten overs, and players headed for the shade after Macedon had made 8/183.


Between innings players noted the smoke from the nearby fire at Gisborne/Riddells Creek, not that they ever need any reminding of why they gather each year. The temperature had reached the high 30s and the wind was strong.


Aireys lost an early wicket in its run chase before Richard Baker and Brett Venables took the score to 2/68 off 12 overs. It seemed a strong foundation but at 4/76, Aireys Inlet were no certainty.


The Baker boys upped the pace with some lusty hitting and, despite the conditions, fast running between wickets. Aided by dropped catches, Grant Baker made 49 and Richard Baker 54 (compulsory retirement).


Aireys needed 40 runs from the last six overs.  Macedon bowled their slower bowlers, led by Gary DeRosayo, to peg back the run rate.  The heat and the long night started to take effect and Aireys finished at 9/172, twelve runs short of winning back the Ashes (which slipped from their grasp last year by just one run).


“We probably partied too hard on Saturday night,” said Aireys Inlet’s Brett Venables (son of one of the Ashes’ co-founders, the late Ray Venables). “It was a hot day and the lightning fast ground it made it difficult to contain runs. Unfortunately we fell just short again!


“We look forward to the game next year when Macedon come down, and finally to an Aireys win!”


“It was a great weekend and good to see the Aireys  Inlet crew up at Macedon,” said Macedon stalwart John Ewels. “The Ashes spirit is still high and we are already planning our visit to the beach next year.”


The Ashes over for another year, players and families headed home amidst distant smoke and road closures.



Macedon 8/183 (Dan Trotta 44, Gordon 44, Ficnerski 27, Stevenson 20,  B.Venables 2/21, Arnold 2/24, Levick 2/31, A. Thomas 1/39) defeated Aireys Inlet 9/172 (Richard Baker 54, Grant Baker 49,  B.Venables 21, DeRosavo 4/20, Graham 2/30, Pat Trotta 1/19, T. Dawe 1/27  O. Clough 1/22).


Vin Maskell's photo Trophies Crop

About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.


  1. As it should be. Good luck to all.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done Vin these matches are a great idea friendships which result out of a tragedy are v imp to help people continue and develop and are for life

  3. Really interesting story Vin and also how communities commemorate significant &/or traumatic events like this… and love the photo! (thinking other communities might have their own special commemorative matches?!)

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