Grinsted Cup dinner in Forbes celebrates a century of cricket

Hundreds of cricketers and cricket fans from around the region gathered at Forbes Services Memorial Club on Saturday to celebrate a century of the Grinsted Challenge Cup.

The Grinsted Challenge is understood to be the longest continuously running Cup, certainly in regional NSW.

Event organiser Allan Rees said it was a great night and they have received several emails providing good feedback on the night itself and the guest speakers.

The reunion dinner had around 190 guests from almost all of the towns who had fielded a team to challenge for the Cup in its hundred years.

They were joined by special guest speakers former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg, Australian test umpire Simon Taufel and former Australian rugby league representative Chris Anderson, who also played Grinsted Cup cricket.

ABC sports commentator Geoff Mann led the conversations with all three guests, who had a variety of memories and stories to share.

Mr Taufel shared stories about his experiences going from a player to what he described as an accidental umpire officiating national and international test matches.

"I tried to be a fast bowler when I was growing up and had a back injury," he said.

He took the suggestion of a friend, also an opening bowler, who said that fast bowling was not for them and they should do something different, like umpiring.

Mr Taufel said he did the four night course, completing the multiple choice test, and qualified to be an umpire, while his friend didn't go any further with it.

"It's taken me on such a great journey," he said.

"Not only have I had the pleasure umpiring the best cricketers in the world on the best grounds, I've had the 'pleasure' of being shot at.

"I've had the pleasure of having burning effigies destroyed in front of me. I've had people threaten to destroy my career and tear up my contract.

"I've been an umpire in a world cup final, the only Australian umpire to officiate a world cup final," Mr Taufel said.

Former Australian rugby league representative Chris Anderson, who attended Red Bend Catholic College, talked in part about growing up in Condobolin and playing cricket.

Mr Anderson said tennis and cricket were two of the staple sports they played growing up.

Mr Anderson said the cricket games took them around the region including Bedgerabong, Ootha, Bogan Gate and Trundle.

"We played on some turf, as we played in the town comp here, but I grew up on the matting, and the ball could go anywhere," he said.

"It was great cricket, it was a fantastic way to grow up spending time with your dad."

"For me cricket and tennis, in those areas were the lifeblood of Australian cricket and tennis," Mr Anderson said.

Former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg shared his experiences playing for South Australia as well as the Australian team.

An international player and now commentator, he had plenty of stories to tell about life during after after professional cricket.

Mr Rees said they were very happy with how the night turned out and the interactions between the guest speakers.

"Overall we were very happy with it, the reports were very good and the speakers were very well received," Mr Rees said.

Along with sharing cricket stories and listening to the guest speakers, the night featured an auction with memorabilia including a cricket bat signed by the Australian team and one signed by the Thunder Big Bash League team.

The auction raised $2800 which will go towards the Forbes and District Cricket Association.

Mr Rees said organisers were very happy with the results of the auction.

Unfortunately, an exhibition match between eastern and western teams on Sunday was cancelled due to the wet weather after rain oozed under the pitch covers. However, no one was complaining about the rain!


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