STAWELL - A large crowd packed the Stawell Entertainment Centre for the fifty year reunion of the Swifts/Great Western Cricket Club, held over the Australia Day long weekend.
After 18 months of research and organising the event, current Swifts/Great Western club president Marc Brilliant was thrilled with the results.
"It was excellent. The whole weekend went so smooth," Mr Brilliant said.
The cabaret style night at the Town Hall was part of a weekend of celebrations, which included past players returning to watch the current team attempt to run down Tatyoon's total (unfortunately falling short by 47 runs) as well as gathering on Sunday for a barbecue social day.
Organisers of the reunion invited 168 past players to the night and there were just six apologies.
They managed to track down most of the players using social media website Facebook and through hundreds of phone calls.
"Out of the 160 or so, there were people from Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and all over Victoria," Mr Brilliant said.
"It was a great spread. There were all age groups represented, from the 1960s to current players."
Wes Cussworth, a sports presenter on WIN TV, was MC for the night and spoke to the audience about sport in Victoria and what clubs mean to small communities such as Stawell and Great Western.
"Wes was excellent, we were really lucky to have him.
"He's had a lot of MC experience, which was a big help. It made the night roll smoothly.
"He had everyone's attention for the whole night."
There were two squads chosen on the night, one from Swifts and the other from Great Western before a combined team was announced.
The combined Swifts/Great Western team was made up of the best of the best from both clubs in their position over a 50 year period.
Everyone who was selected in the squad was in the audience, apart from one player who is now deceased.
Current Grampians Cricket Association president, Anthony 'Pancho' Martin was also honoured on the night.
Martin received a standing ovation from the audience after he was presented with a 50 year cricket service badge and award from Cricket Australia.
There were interviews with players from the 50 year combined squad who reflected on their career, as well as stories to keep the crowd entertained.
Following the formal part of the night was a performance from Bendigo-based band 'Itchy Bits.'
Brilliant said the reception from the ex-players was positive, with 60 turning up to watch the current team play and another 80 attending the Sunday social day.