There’s not a lot that’s more Aussie than cricket on Boxing Day, except maybe musicians versus bartenders in a clash in the local parklands.
This December 26th, The Eagle Blues (hospitality workers) will face off against the Rockatoos (musicians) in a 20/20 match in Bonython Park.
Now in its third year, it has grown to such an event they are teaming up with Reclink to raise money for a great cause, in line with its footy equivalent, Reclink Community Cup, which was a roaring success in August this year.
Splash Adelaide and Radio Adelaide have teamed up with the event again, and Lord Mayor Martin Haese has the responsibility of the coin toss.
There will be a barbecue by Lions Club Australia, and Young Henrys Beer and Primo Estate Wines have provided some refreshments; all of which is a far cry from the Boxing Day Cup’s humble beginnings, according to Rockatoos Captain, Aaron Nash.
“It was an idea between Ross McHenry, who was the musicians’ captain, and Andy Nowell from The Happy Motel. The two of them kicked things off. It was just a friendly match; we found somewhere in the parklands which wasn’t being used and we took some eskies out and went to it without much ado. Last year we moved to Bonython Park with the involvement of Radio Adelaide who upped the profile a little bit and things started to get serious,” he says.
Aaron is a pretty big deal around the music circuit and he is also a cricketing legend from way back.
“At the moment I play keyboard for Koral and the Goodbye Horses. That’s my main act, but I also play with Max Savage and the False Idols. And just recently, I’ve joined Alison Coppe and the Janes. I get around the scene a little bit, so I know a few musicians, which puts me in a good position to select a side of both questionable musical and cricketing ability,” he laughs.
“I’m a lifelong cricket lover. I was the under 17s captain at Golden Grove before I gave cricket away for music, but it still holds a very dear spot in my heart. I still play indoor cricket with mates, but the Boxing Day Cup is a great opportunity to stretch the outdoor cricket muscles and hark back to the glory days, or at least try to.”
Aaron is pretty pleased with his team selection this year, which is packed full of some of the state’s most exciting music artists.
“We have a great line up. At least half of the team have been involved with the Boxing Day Cup before. We’ve got the Shaolin Afronauts guys: Chris Weber who top scored in the first Boxing Day Cup and Kevin van der Zwaag,” he says.
“We’ve got some quality imports this year with Alex from Bad//Dreems, my regular boss, Koral is going to be on the team repping the girls along with Sasha March. We’ve got Kaurna Cronin representing the folk scene, so a really diverse group of musicians and people!”
Andy Nowells is the captain of the Eagle Blues and he got involved with the Boxing Day Cup because, well, he really likes the game.
“It strengthens bonds and relationships between people in both industries and I fucking love cricket,” he says.
“My cricket career has been bathed in glory. I steered the Aldgate Cricket Club to Finals victory against Mt Lofty CC in the under 14s final back in the year 2000.”
An impressive sporting resume, but not quite as inspiring as the heights he has climbed to in the hospitality industry, running a catering and events company with a very cool festival coming up soon.
“I started cooking when I was 16 as an apprentice. I did it until I resented the industry, went travelling, came back, wanted to cook again, but just for myself. Now I do food and music events through a business I started with my mates called The Happy Motel,” he says.
“Our upcoming event Here’s To Now on January 2nd at Coriole winery has CW Stoneking headlining.”
And what of Andy’s team? The Eagle Blues have a few secret weapons among them.
“Our team has so much depth, I can’t even see the bottom! Look out for deadly wrong’un for Africola legend Nathan Uren, and well timed late cut from Café Troppo co-owner Maddie Harris,” Aaron says.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to Reclink Australia, a national not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to enhance the lives of people through providing sports and arts opportunities.
Aaron says it’s a great way of giving back to the community and industry they love.
“Originally, it wasn’t a cause, it was just a social event. I wanted to play cricket and meet some other musicians; that was really the only impetus from the beginning, but as we’ve gone on and the profile has increased, we thought, what are we doing this for?” he says.
“And when Reclink Community Cup started in Adelaide this year, it seemed a good opportunity to unofficially tie those things in together. I’m sure down the track, those two events will merge a little more cohesively. At the moment, they’re independent, but we have decided to support Reclink with this event because they engage disadvantaged communities through music and art programs, and that seems the most appropriate way to contribute back, because that’s at the heart of what we do as musicians.”
With good deeds aside, this is still a competition; a fierce one, and the two captains are in it to win it and the sledging has begun.
“I hear Andy has been recruiting very heavily this year. They’ve gone high on cricketing talent. But at the end of the day, when the match is over, we still expect them to fix us a drink and a good meal, so make sure you’re not compromising those skills, Andy!” Aaron challenges.
“Aaron Nash is a gentleman; a stand up guy,” Andy rebuts. “I wish him and his team all the best for game day. However the only runs the Rockatoos will get will be in the club room toilets smeared all over the ceramic after they’ve been dismissed by a teeth chattering sand shoe crusher. Us Eagle Blues are more trouble than a pregnant nun!”
WHAT: The Rockatoos vs. The Eagle Blues
WHEN: 11am, 26th December
HOW MUCH? Free Entry, Bonython Park Adelaide
Other important stuff:
Lord Mayor Martin Haese Coin Toss
Proceeds donated to Reclink Australia
Commentary Broadcast Live on Radio Adelaide
Young Henrys Beer & Primo Estate Wines/Spritzer Station
Free WiFi by EcoCaddy
BBQ by Lions Club Australia
Hot Food by Bonython Park Kiosk
Official Merch – incl. Tote Bags, Stubby Holders & Tea Towels.
By Libby Parker
Photos courtesy of event organiser, Chris Komorek