Australian cricket great and media personality Mel Jones will join Big Bash League champion Stephen O’Keefe in participating in the Australian Cricketers’ Association Masters Tour coming to Armidale this week.
The two stars are the latest to be announced, with Jones joining for the whole tour, while O’Keefe is set to feature at the Sporties Night at the Armidale Golf Club on Thursday 25 February.
“Armidale Regional Council is very excited to be able to bring an event like this with players of this calibre to our region,” said Armidale Regional Council Mayor Cr. Ian Tiley.
“By hosting this event, we are ensuring our community doesn’t miss out on opportunities that are usually only reserved for metropolitan areas.”
A highlight of the tour will be the free Sporties Night function which will give attendees the opportunity to meet their cricket heroes.
“Gather your friends and family and enjoy a meal while rubbing shoulders with some of the best cricketers our country has produced,” said Cr. Tiley.
“A signed bat by the Masters is also one of the exciting prizes up for grabs in a raffle to be held on the night.”
During the night, Mel Jones will host two panel discussions which will include a number of the Masters on tour.
Jones, whose roots stem from country Victoria, said it is important to have events like this come to regional Australia as country areas have had a huge impact on the longstanding success of Australian cricket.
“I see within both the Australian men’s and women’s teams, and even at our state levels, the contribution made by players who have come from regional Australia has been absolutely huge,” she said.
The Masters will also play a T20 match against a local representative side on Friday night and they will participate in school coaching clinics and community events.
A $1,000 scholarship will also be awarded to a talented young player, which includes the unique opportunity to receive mentoring from one of the Masters players following the tour.
The unticketed T20 match will begin at 6pm is just a gold coin fee, however numbers are limited to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Tickets to the Sporties Night can be reserved through trybooking.com and numbers are limited.
See below for a full list of the team and the events taking place as part of the tour.
THE FULL TEAM INCLUDES:
Stephen O’Keefe (attending Sporties Night only)
INFORMATION ON THE PLAYERS:
Mel Jones was a superstar on the field and is now one of the most most-recognisable media personalities off the field. Jones, a recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia, is a dual World Cup and Ashes winning champion and played in an era which saw Australia dominate cricket internationally. The middle-order batter smashed 131 on her Test debut against England in 1998. Jones is a regular when it comes to getting involved in charity work and initiatives surrounding equality. She has commentated around the world, calling the Indian and Pakistan Premier Leagues and is an integral part of Fox Cricket’s commentary team.
Prolific off-spinner, Stephen O’Keefe played nine Test matches for Australia, retiring from first-class cricket last season with over 300 first-class wickets to his name. Still plying his trade in the BBL, the left-armer will joining the Masters tour fresh from winning his third BBL championship with the Sydney Sixers. The high-point of his career came in 2017, when he took match-figures of 12-70 in Australia’s famous Test victory against India in Pune. His figures of 6-35 in each innings were the best ever by a visiting spinner in a Test in India. O’Keefe captained New South Wales between 2011-2013 and has played seven T20I’s for Australia.
Fast bowler Sarah Andrews played 58 games for Australia, retiring at 28 as one of Australia’s premier fast bowlers. Andrews featured in multiple World Cup campaigns during her 10-year career at the top. On the domestic level, Andrews played 83 times for the New South Wales Breakers, finishing her career with a prolific average of 22.33.
Jonathon Moss was a highly successful all-rounder who was named Victoria’s player of the year for the 2002-03 season. Originally from New South Wales, Moss’ professional career spanned over 200 games for Victoria as well as Berkshire and Derbyshire in the Country Championship. Moss’ highest first-class score of 172* came as stand-in captain against Western Australia. Moss has represented Australia at the Maccabiah Games.
Wayne Holdsworth was an out-and-out fast bowler. He claimed the Sheffield Shield title on three occasions with New South Wales and was the leading wicket-taker during the 1992/93 season with 53 at 25.96. He was also a part of New South Wales’ three domestic one-day titles. Holdsworth played over a century of games for New South Wales taking 251 wickets.
Michelle Goszko played for Australia over a 10-year international career. A World Cup winner in 1997, the hard-hitting batter also scored 204 runs on Test debut against England, equaling the world record at the time for the highest-ever individual Test score. Goszko played over 100 times for New South Wales, winning multiple WNCL crowns.
Wicketkeeper Daniel Smith had a successful 10-year career domestically for New South Wales, and for the Sydney Thunder and Sixers in the Big Bash League. Often deputising to Brad Haddin, Smith flourished in the 50-over format, top scoring with 179, finishing his career at an average of 32.72. He was also a part of the New South Wales side that won the inaugural Champions League in India in 2009.
Talent off-spinner, Rhiannon Dick, represented New South Wales and the ACT Meteors as well as the Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL. Her career highpoint came when she finished with figures of 6-14 for ACT against New South Wales in the domestic T20 semi-final. In 2015, she was selected to represent an Australian XI against New Zealand in two T20 games.
FEB 25 – 26
‘Sporties’ Function Night with the Masters
Thursday 25 Feb, 6PM – 8PM, Armidale Golf Course, Free entry
Golf with the Masters
Friday 26 Feb, 9AM-12PM, 9 Hole Ambrose
Primary School Clinic
Friday 26 Feb. 2PM – 4PM, Armidale Sportsground
T20 Match vs Armidale & District Cricket Association
Friday 26 Feb, 6PM, Armidale Sportsground.