STAWELL - Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) Masters team certainly made the most of the Central Park wicket during their visit.
The Masters were extremely impressed with the state of the turf and it was Ben Johnson who led the way with an unbeaten century, guiding the tourists to a 51-run victory against Grampians Cricket Association.
Speaking at Central Park before the match, Masters cricketers Matthew Mott and Matthew Elliott were full of praise for Stawell's iconic sporting ground.
"Central Park is something this town is obviously famous for with the Stawell Gift and to walk on this ground is amazing," former Queensland and Victoria Mott said.
"I've played on Adelaide Oval which is considered one of Australia's best sporting grounds, but this is the equal of any first class ground I've walked on. It's one the community should be really proud of."
Former Australian test batsman and first time visitor to Stawell, Elliott agreed with his ACA Masters teammate.
"It doesn't get much better than this," Elliott said.
The pair were among several Masters cricketers conducting school clinics for primary school students at Central Park last Friday.
Children moved between several different activities that included all of the basic cricket skills such as batting, bowling, fielding and catching the ball.
The morning followed a StawellBiz business breakfast conducted at the Goldfields and a sportsmen's night that was held on Thursday night at the Stawell Entertainment Centre.
Both Mott and Elliott also hailed the sportsmen's night as a success.
"It went really well and the members of the audience were fantastic," Mott said.
"In general, it (the Masters program) is a really worthwhile opportunity for us to give a bit back to cricket in the country areas."
Elliott, along with former Canadian international player John Davison, Terry Alderman, Jimmy Maher, Greg Matthews and Craig McDermott were the Masters cricketers on the sportsmen's night panel.
McDermott was also MC of the night, and captured the audience's attention.
"We had a really good turnout and Craig McDermott always does a good job of MC. It was generally well received," Elliott said.
The night was not just held to reflect on careers or recall funny stories, but to send out a message to the general public.
"There's a bit of a message there about how hard you have to work to get to that level of sport, and how much you have to strive to achieve something.
"It's very engaging and the audience can take out of it as much as they want," Elliott said.
There were also auctions held with autographed sporting memorabilia, concert tickets and a night's accommodation at Comfort Inn Motel all up for grabs.
All proceeds went to the Stawell Hospital.
"With the auctioning of the items, our primary focus is to raise money for whichever cause is put forward," Elliott said.
Eivion Bowen, ACA communications manager, said the tour was a great one from the Masters point of view.
"The Northern Grampians Shire Council did a wonderful job in managing the events and combined well with the GCA and member clubs," Mr Bowen said.
"Shirley Rickard and Debbie Bach, in particular, were outstanding.
"The people of Stawell and surrounding areas were friendly and engaging and I know the players enjoyed being warmly received and responded in kind.
"There was plenty of emerging talent on display from the local team and we hope to have given a boost to cricket in the region."
As mentioned before, the touring Masters side defeated Grampians by 51 runs at Central Park, with Chalambar/Melbourne Cricket Club youngster, Sarah Cunningham, being awarded the ACA scholarship.
Grampians CA 7/118 lost to ACA Masters 3/169
ACA Masters - 1st INNINGS
M Elliott c T McDougall b J Butler 56
J Davison c J Blandford b J Butler 0
B Johnson not out 100
M Goodwin c T McDougall b M Brilliant 7
Extras (nb 0, w 6, b 0, lb 0)6
Bowling: J Butler 4/0/2/35, M Brilliant 4/0/1/30, T McDougall 3/0/0/35, L Oliver 3/0/0/26, J Dark 3/0/0/29, S Cunningham 3/0/0/14.
Grampians CA - 1st INNINGS
S Cocks c P Sleep b C McDermott 11
T Hovatek st J Maher b P Sleep 18
T Nicholson st J Maher b J Davison 2
J Blandford c J Davison b P Sleep 16
H Ganley st J Maher b M Mott 2
J Dark st J Maher b P Sleep 6
T Hannett run out (M Goodwin) 5
E Marrow not out 15
T McDougall not out 24
Extras (nb 1, w 11, b 0, lb 7) 19
Bowling: C McDermott 3/0/1/3, B Geeves 2/0/0/11, J Davison 3/1/1/11, B Johnson 2/0/0/10, M Mott 4/0/1/45, P Sleep 3/0/3/8, G Matthews 3/0/0/23.