Junior cricket and Bowra races on in tribute to Phil Hughes
ALL JUNIOR matches in Coffs Harbour District Cricket Association will be played as normal today as a tribute to the late Phillip Hughes.
However, all senior matches have been called off so that players can get together to salute the star batsman who was once numbered among them.
Junior association president Matt Bailey, who played with Phil at Sawtell in the premiership-winning season of 2004-05, said there was widespread consultation between the clubs before the decision was made to play.
"We wanted to do a tribute to him and some thought we should take the day off, while others felt Phil would have wanted to get out there in the middle," Matt said.
"Advice also came from Cricket NSW about how clubs around the state are handling this, so we decided to play on.
"Any clubs or individual players who feel they would like to have the day off, that's okay as well and we understand."
Later today, cricketers from all clubs are invited to gather at Sawtell Hotel at 3pm (rather than Richardson Park) to remember the kid from Macksville.
Matt Bailey fondly remembers those days just on a decade ago when Phil Hughes made such an impact with the Blue Caps despite his tender years.
"He was still a kid then and in later years, we older players didn't always see him that often," he said.
"Some of the younger blokes stayed in touch but we all followed his career.
"It will always be something we can be proud of, to say we played in the same team as Phillip Hughes.
"What happened is so terrible.
"The sadness is everywhere."
Today's Bellingen Cup meeting at Bowraville will also go ahead after being in doubt at one stage.
Phil was a regular at local race meetings with mates from the Macksville Sea Eagles and Bowraville Tigers and as a mark of respect, jockeys will ride wearing black armbands.