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On target . . . Geoff Blakely faces the ball for Gimmerburn, as John Kreft (left) keeps wicket and Ryan Dowling stands at slip for Patearoa in Ranfurly during the recent Maniototo fundraiser tournament. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Maniototo junior cricket has hit the jackpot thanks to a recent fundraiser.

More than $10,000 was raised from the tournament, which was played between the five cricket teams that were functioning before the Maniototo competition ceased.

Eight teams, including some from Patearoa, Ranfurly, Naseby, Oturehua and Gimmerburn, turned out for the tournament, which was played at each of the Maniototo’s home grounds.

Maniototo cricket stalwart Ryan Dowling approached fellow cricketer Paul Dougherty with the idea.

“He suggested that not only would it be a great reunion, but could be a fundraiser for Maniototo junior cricket,” Dougherty said.

“So, a committee was set up and the Big Bash was born. Later, due to generous sponsorship it was changed to the Ranfurly Auto Super Shoppes Big Bash, a Facebook page was set up and the response was overwhelming,” he said.

“I had to repost the information and say that it was a local competition and we were not catering for teams from Auckland and Christchurch and, in fact, had plenty of interest from India and Pakistan.”

However, organisers did bend the rules slightly to benefit their neighbours in Alexandra, McRaes and Kaitangata, “due to contacts we had there”, Dougherty said.

The two-day tournament also featured a barbecue and get-together on the Friday night and a formal gathering on the Saturday.

All aspects of the reunion were well received, Dougherty said.

“Past players came from all parts of New Zealand and Australia. The cricket was of a pretty good standard considering some of our physical condition [and there was] plenty of banter. So, all in all, [it] was a great few days.”

Some of the funds also went to Hayden and Bex Finch who need to get life-changing surgery for their son, Harry (3), who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

They will travel to the United States in May.

Mr Finch said receiving some of the funds from the cricket tournament was a great help and came as a surprise.

Although the family is based in Dunedin, Mr Finch played in the tournament, having formerly lived in Arrowtown.

“It was pretty amazing,” he said.