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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Don ya boxes, it’s a Shand memorial cricket match!

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Nick Shand on the pitch

The strange urge to play cricket has a rich history in our local area.

Back in the day, there was a thriving social cricket scene in Mullum, bearing in mind, if you can, that these were the days when to be up for a game did not have a Facebook description, to be queer meant you were slightly offbeat, and men were men, unless they chose to identify as small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Teams from Billinudgel, Durrumbul, and Wanganui, among other venues all played socially, and the pitches are still there to prove it. The Echo’s founding editor, Nick Shand, a keen but at his stage of life marginally inept cricketer, would every year put together a team of bewildered and browbeaten journalists to take on the Mighty Wanganuians, who boasted a couple of first grade players, and would inevitably smash all challengers off the park.

The Geckos lost the first Nick Shand Memorial Cricket Match on March 2, 1997. Photo Jeff ‘howszat’ Dawson

The first Echo team to win a game at Wanganui took many years to happen, but is still immortalised in photo form in The Echo’s front office in Mullumbimby.

Nick Shand’s untimely death prompted a cricket series to be held as a memorial to his undoubted impact on his community.

Teams from throughout the Shire took guard, donned their boxes and had a go for the sheer fun of it.

Like so many other cultural pursuits it hit the wall with Covid.

By popular demand, it has been suggested that perhaps the time has come when old warriors and young up and comers alike should dust off their boxes, measure their run ups and pretend, for a glorious afternoon, that all is well in the world and we should all go out and play some sport.

Sunday October 15 has been set as the date, at the newly refurbished Lomath Oval in Mullumbimby (by the community gardens and tennis courts), and all who love the great game or just want to cheer the protagonists along are welcome.

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