Backyard Ashes taking off and grabs Lehmann's attention
WHAT started as a friendly game of backyard cricket among mates has grown into an event that's gaining national attention from Cricket Australia.
But the local blokes who are part of the XXXX Gold Yeppoon Backyard Cricket Series don't want to lose sight of the light-hearted side of their games, which was how the whole thing started.
Good friends Shane Yore and Dave Ingram one day talked over a couple of beers and came up with the idea to establish a league of their own as part of the summer sport.
"Mid last year, over a couple of cold ones, Dave and myself threw around the idea of kicking off a game of backyard cricket at the start of the Indian touring season, which would consist of two teams battling it out in backyards across Yeppoon on the weekends when Australia would play a test," Dave said.
The group's game is contested between Australia and The Rest Of The World, playing for the "Backyard Ashes" and a perpetual trophy. Interest grew quickly, with tradies, business owners, labourers, teachers and everyone in between putting their hands up to get involved.
"Just a good bunch of blokes getting together for a few beers and a barbecue while watching and playing cricket throughout the summer," Dave said.
But they also saw the potential to fundraise and last year donated their dollars to the Starlight Foundation and Alzheimer's Australia, raising $1600, and are well on track this year to double that figure.
This year they are fundraising for Redkite, an Australian cancer charity providing essential support to children and young people with cancer, their families and support networks, and the McGrath Foundation, which places breast cancer nurses in communities right across Australia and raises breast awareness in young Australian women.
They've even gained the attention of Australia's national coach Darren Lehmann, who retweeted their links online.
Cricket Australia and XXXX Gold jumped at the chance to be part of their matches, donating signed cricket bats, State of Origin jerseys and a heap of merchandise for players.
"Doing this type of thing is a bit of a passion of mine and I get great satisfaction out of seeing the benefits of the gift of money and services to those who need it," Shane said.
Go to their Facebook page, Yeppoon Backyard Cricket Series, to find links on how to donate.