Australian cricket greats to descend on East Gippsland for ACA Masters tour

19 March, 2021

Australian Cricket Hall of Fame inductees, Merv Hughes and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, are the marquee names for the upcoming Australian Cricketers’ Association’s (ACA) Masters tour of East Gippsland in Victoria on Friday 26 – Sunday 28 March

The ACA – the official representative body of past and present first-class cricketers – developed the Masters program in 2008 with a focus on the promotion of cricket. The program utilises current and past players to promote and grow the game of cricket in regional areas, as well as raising funds for local cricket associations and identify local talent.

The East Gippsland region was chosen specifically to assist the rebuilding of a community heavily impacted by bushfires last summer.

Six players who have represented Australia will join Hughes and Fitzpatrick in the Masters team. Greg Matthews, who played 33 Test matches and 59 ODIs in the 1980s and 90s will be alongside Lauren Ebsary, Mark Cosgrove, Jason Krejza, Brett Geeves and Stephanie Theodore.

Rob Bartlett, Kathleen Hempenstall, Jayde Herrick and Rhiann O’Donnell, who have all played at the highest level domestically, help to form a formidable side.

The tour will feature cricket clinics in Wy Yung, Paynesville and Lakes Entrance on Friday evening and Saturday morning, a T20 match against a local representative team at Orbost Cricket & Recreation Reserve on Saturday afternoon and a Sporties Function Night at The Orbost Club on Saturday night.

A scholarship valued up to $1,000 will also be awarded to a talented young player from the region, which includes the unique opportunity to receive mentoring from one of the Masters players following the tour.

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The ACA Masters tour of Armidale and Inverell saw 14 current and past Australian international and domestic players square-off against local representative teams and taking part in various coaching and community visits.

Speaking on the ACA Masters program, Merv Hughes says the highlight of each tour is the reaction of the locals in the community.

“The ACA Masters is all about going out to country areas and giving back to the community.

“The eyes of all the locals, young and old, light up when they see stars of today and yesterday have a conversation about cricket and they realise just how much the game is a part of their region.

The ACA tour is jointly funded by the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Merv Hughes was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame earlier this year after a storied Australian career, featuring 212 Test wickets from 53 matches between 1985 and 1994. From 1988-1993, he played in 38 One-Day Internationals (ODI) In Victorian colours, Hughes took over 600 wickets from nearly 250 matches.

Fellow Hall of Famer, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, was considered the world’s fastest bowler in women’s cricket during the prime years of her international career which spanned from 1991 to 2006, becoming the first women’s player to take over 100 ODI wickets. From 2012-2015, Fitzpatrick coached the Australian women’s team, winning three World Cups. Fitzpatrick played 103 WNCL matches for Victoria, taking 148 wickets.

Greg Matthews is an icon of Australian cricket. His charismatic nature and extravagance on the field elevated him to cult-hero status. ‘Mo,’ as he is more commonly known played 33 Test matches and 59 ODI’s for Australia through the 1980s and 1990s. Matthews holds NSW’s record for most matches and wickets taken and has four Test centuries to his name.

Lauren Ebsary played for Australia 2008 – 2010, featuring in 34 matches across all formats though she was most successful in ODIs, averaging over 28 runs per innings. Domestically, Ebsary led the SA Scorpions to their sole WNCL title in 2015 before finishing her career in the west with the WA Fury and Perth Scorchers.

New South Wales off-spinner Jason Krejza played three Test matches, taking a remarkable 12 wickets in his first red ball game for Australia. Krejza also played eight One Day Internationals in Australian colours over a ten-year professional cricket career.

Powerful batter Mark Cosgrove played three One Day Internationals for Australia during his 221-game first-class career. The South Australian legend also played for Tasmania and the Sydney Sixers and spent a number of seasons in England’s Country Championship with Leicestershire.

Tasmanian fast bowler Brett Geeves featured in two ODIs and one T20I international for Australia, taking five wickets in 2008-2009. He won two One-Day domestic titles with the Tasmanian Tigers and was part of the side that won their first-ever Sheffield Shield title in 2006-07. In 2008, he played one season with the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

French-born Australian all-rounder, Stephanie Theodore, played in one Test and one ODI for Australia in 1995 against New Zealand. For Victoria, Theodore featured in 53 WNCL matches from 1991 – 2002, taking 16 wickets and making over 600 runs @ 16.25.

The remaining four squad members Rob Bartlett, Kathleen Hempenstall, Jayde Herrick and Rhiann O’Donnell each played at the highest level domestically in Australia. Hempenstall turned out for WA however Bartlett, Herrick and O’Donnell are all former Victorian players with O’Donnell being the most recent professional player among the squad.

Masters event details:

Friday 26 March

Cricket Clinic: Wy Yung Recreation Reserve | 60 Bullumwaal Rd Wy Yung | 4PM – 5:30PM

Saturday 27 March

Cricket Clinics | 9AM – 10:30AM

Location 1: Paynesville CC | AJ Freeman Reserve 57 Main Rd Paynesville |

Location 2: Lakes Entrance CC | Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve | 1 Rowe Street Lakes Entrance

T20 Match v Local XI

Orbost Cricket & Rec Reserve | 2PM

Sporties Night | 6:30PM – 9PM

The Orbost Club | Finger food provided

$5 tickets & $20 per family

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
The Australian Cricketers’ Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.