Smith, Haddin, Carter and McCulloch wow audiences at Moree junior cricket fundraiser

MORE than 150 people raised more than $40,000 for Moree Junior Cricket Club at a huge fundraiser at the Max Function Centre on Friday night.

The McGregor Gourlay-sponsored evening, emceed by Jimmy Smith from Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, also featured Australian wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, NSW Swifts team captain Abbey McCulloch and former rugby star Tom Carter.

Smith, a country boy at heart who was born-and-bred in Cootamundra in the Riverina district, has seamlessly made the transition from playing professional rugby league in the 1990s to becoming a much-loved sports media personality and pundit.

And that star quality shone through on Friday night as he interviewed Haddin, McCulloch and Carter using a Michael Parkinson-style format.

“I’ve always wanted to do interviews like Parkinson,” he smiled.

There were plenty of laughs and just a few tears as each guest spoke candidly and honestly about their sporting careers and personal lives.

They responded magnificently to Smith’s insightful and knowledgeable questions – all asked under Chatham House Rules.


Tom Carter (second from left) responds to questions from emcee Jimmy Smith (left) during an insightful panel-style interview at the Moree Junior Cricket Club McGregor Gourlay-sponsored fundraiser on Saturday night as Abbey McCulloch and Brad Haddin  listen in (Image Copyright Bill Poulos).

“What is said in this room, stays in this room,” Smith said.

Moree again opened its collective hearts – and wallets – with thousands of dollars raised during the sell-off of valuable items, all donated by local and corporate sponsors.

“You know you’re in the bush when one of the auction items is 1000 litres of Round-Up – you just don’t see that sort of thing up for auction in Sydney,” Smith laughed.

Moree Junior Cricket Club president David Watts was overwhelmed by the evening.

“I contacted Jimmy about three months ago and asked him to come up and host this fundraiser and within a couple of days he had Tom, Abbey and Brad coming up as well,” Watts said.

“It was a great night and the speakers all said it how it was. They were very entertaining and Jimmy Smith is an outstanding emcee; he had the crowd’s attention all night.”

All money raised will go towards the cost of a recently-completed, first-class white-picket fence at Ron Harborne Oval.

The fence, with costs shared equally between Moree junior and senior cricket clubs and Moree Plains Shire Council, has put the Ron Harborne Oval sports precinct at the forefront of local and regional cricket competitions.

“The money raised will pay for our part of the fence and also help us with the sight screens and boundary rope,” Watts said.

“The people of Moree always support events in Moree, and what the sports dinner shows is that locals are happy to support the cricket association and help us to develop our facility further.SushiWednesday001

“The fence looks absolutely fantastic and will be used for the first time on Sunday (weather permitting) for the under-12s regional comp,” Watts said.

Meanwhile, today’s junior cricket competition (Saturday, October 21) has been cancelled for the second week in a row after afternoon and overnight rainfalls.

“We desperately want to get the 2017-2018 season started, but we can’t say ‘no’ to the rain, I suppose,” Watts said.

Friday night’s sports dinner was supported by a huge list of sponsors, including the Royal Hotel Moree, Suncorp Bank, Tyrepower Moree, Print Anything, Black Truck & Ag Moree, Lummus Moree, B&W Rural, WJ Matthews, Sprayerbarn Moree, Jukes & Son Tyre Centre, Landmark Moree, artist Jo White, Australian Turf Club, Local Appliance Rentals, Ruby Soles, A Tasty Surprise, Lowry’s Small Motors, Beauty Matters Moree, Boland Petroleum, Gwydir Chiropractic Centre, Hill Fitzsimmons and Deluxe Café Moree.

Words and Image: Bill Poulos

Also in the news this week: 

MOREE residents and visitors will be treated to a night under the stars – and with the stars – when local singer-songwriters Fi Claus and Merri-May Gill officially launch their debut album Sunday Heart Parade on November 4 at Mary Brand Park.

The past 12 months has been an incredible chapter in the lives of Merri-May and Fi, and Sunday Heart Parade has taken them to new heights in the entertainment industry.

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