Flashback: When World Cup Cricket Came to Albury

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Graeme Hicks with memorabilia from England V's Zimbabwe at Lavington Sports Ground in 1992.

Twenty-five years ago, Lavington Sports Ground played host to an internationally broadcast World Cup Cricket match between England and Zimbabwe.

The 1992 match featured legends of the game including Graham Gooch, Ian Botham, Allan Lamb and more.

The powerhouse England team, which was second on the ladder, took on Zimbabwe, bottom of the ladder, in a match that turned out to be a major upset.

Memorabilia from the match.

One of the local sporting identities who played a part in helping secure the match for Albury was Graeme Hicks.

“There was real excitement about the match,” he said.

“From an Albury Wodonga point of view, it gave us amazing exposure. The BBC broadcast the game live throughout the sub-continent and beyond – 60 odd million people through India, Pakistan and England and so forth.

A signed bat, match ball and official team ties among Graeme’s keep-sakes.

“There was such excitement around town in the lead up, it was amazing. To have the Barmy Army wandering around town was a bit different, that’s for sure,” he said.

The match itself also proved to be a major talking point.

“That was probably the icing on the cake, because it gave us even more profile,” Graeme said.

The number one ticket from the match.

“Zimbabwe beating England by nine runs was a major upset. England were the hot property and would play in the final. I think it was Zimbabwe’s second win ever at international level, so to win a game like that against England – that was amazing.

“They were a bit devastated about the loss I can tell you – they don’t like losing at any time, any of these teams.”

Securing the World Cup cricket match also proved the catalyst for the launch of the Festival of Sport, which was an annual two-week celebration of sporting events and community participation which ran for 15 years.

A Border Mail newspaper clipping announcing the launch of the Festival of Sport.

“The World Cup match came halfway through the Festival of Sport, so to have such a high profile event to capture media attention and community support was important,” Graeme said.

“It was an exciting time for sport and we were able to make administrators know how passionate country people are about sport and the great facilities we have here,” Graeme said.