It was a case of mixed emotions at Victorian harness racing’s biggest social event – TAB.COM.AU Charity Football Day – at Bendigo yesterday.
As a high, the Melton girls cleaned up in the Aldebaran Netball Cup, but on the downside, the Melton fellas were smashed on the Tabcorp footy field.
Melton is yet to win from four starts…the only team still waiting to enjoy a taste glory!
On the opposite end of the scale, the skill and agility of the netballers placed them in a class of their own as they rocketed to success.
Multiple Group One winning reinswoman Kate Gath was the recipient of the Yirribee Stud Most Valuable Player Award.
Gath’s football counterpart was Heath Barton, who enjoyed double success as a member of the triumphant Shepparton squad.
After dispensing of Ballarat in the opener, Shepparton then accounted for defending champions, Bendigo, to hold the Tabcorp Premiership Cup aloft.
Tobey Courts,11, earned an honourable mention after booting four goals, including three against Ballarat.
Away from the fun and games, the event had a serious side – raising awareness and valuable funds for the Childrens’ Tumour Foundation.
Thrilled with the wide spread involvement, organiser Robbie O’Connell declared both ‘goals’ were achieved by the 500-strong crowd.
“The amount of publicity this day has generated has certainly helped raising the awareness of the cause,” O’Connell said. “Anyone in harness racing would have to have been living in a cave not to have known about the day and what it’s all about.
“And I’m thrilled to say we eclipsed last year’s total and even bettered our target amount in money raised. After $14,000 last year we were hoping for $20,000 this time, but we’re sitting on $22,000 at the moment.
“Everyone involved, be it sponsor, helper, player or spectator can hold their heads up high…well, except for the Melton footy team!”
There were also plenty of fun activities for the kids throughout the afternoon, as they enjoyed the jumping castle, little athletics competition and the free Auckland Reactor soccer and footballs thanks to Alabar Bloodstock.
Alexa Astin and Will Janky were big winners after scoring bikes thanks to Amart Sports Melton by guessing the amount of snakes in a jar.
“I couldn’t believe Alexa guessed the exact amount,” O’Connell said. “I thought I was clever not making it an obvious amount like 125 or 120, so I left it at 123.
“According to Alexa’s dad her guess was simple, she counted them one, two, three, so he wrote that down!
“Overall if was a terrific day, everyone had fun and we achieved our goals thanks to the sponsors, the helpers and every person who came and participated in the spirit of it all.”