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Cricketers take to the pitch at Barooga for Masters competition

The ninth annual Masters Cricket Festival gets under way in a few days, with visiting teams from Shellharbour and Beaconsfield doing battle under lights at Barooga Recreation Reserve.

RANDALL JOHNSTON January 9, 2013 4:15am

The ninth annual Masters Cricket Festival gets under way in a few days, with visiting teams from Shellharbour and Beaconsfield doing battle under lights at Barooga Recreation Reserve.

The first game, from 5pm on Monday, will be the opener for what will be a hotly contested four days of cricket.

Teams from Oakflats, Narre North, Albion Park, Shellharbour, Beaconsfield and Kyabram (Ryan’s Relations) come together to compete for the right to be named the 2013 Masters Champions and collect the winning shield and prize money.

All games will be played at both Barooga grounds over the four days.

The games are for players aged over 35 who still have a love of cricket and enjoy the opportunity to continue playing the sport.

Festival organiser Mick O’Dwyer said the concept of the competition continued to gain interest.

‘‘We created this competition as a way to showcase the area and our sporting facilities to teams and people from other areas,’’ O’Dwyer said.

‘‘It brings about 100 players into town and they usually bring their partners, families and friends along with them.

‘‘The sides that do keep coming back just love it.

‘‘The feedback we’ve had from previous years has been very positive and, although the teams do take it fairly seriously, they have a lot of fun out there too and that makes for a great atmosphere.

‘‘There is a lot of camaraderie between and among the teams and we will all be getting together for a meal and award presentation (next) Thursday night.

‘‘We have continual interest in the Masters with inquiries from many parts of Australia and I believe it will continue to grow in years to come.’’

All teams will be out to beat Ryan’s Relations from Kyabram, who are consistently dominant and took top honours last year.

Modified rules including shortened run-ups, closer boundaries, limited overs for bowlers and batting retirements ensure the games are close and all players stay involved.

On the first two days games are 40 overs each and on day three it will be 15 overs each game.

‘‘This is a new concept we are trying with each team playing two 15-over games on the Thursday, so all up each team gets to play four games rather than three as has been the case in previous years,’’ O’Dwyer said.

‘‘Besides some top cricket being played, there are many funny characters involved who enjoy the after match chat and mixing with their opponents.’’

Games will be played on Monday at 5pm under lights, two games on Tuesday from 10am, two games on Wednesday from 10am and at 5pm under lights.

Thursday is a day of continuous games from 9am to 5pm.

The winner will be honoured at a special presentation at Barooga Sports Club from 7.30pm next Thursday.

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