Friday, December 1, 2023

Rural towns pass the footy for mental health 

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New charity rugby match is set to go ahead in the small town of Halcombe to raise spirits and funds for mental health.
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Following a long, wet winter, the two small rural towns of Halcombe and Hunterville will go head to head on Saturday the 7th of October, with each side sending the best of their over 40s into battle for the inaugural Halcombe charity shield match. 

The idea for the match had humble beginnings, stemming over a few beers between some mates, but one of the organisers Aaron Meurk says it has already exceeded expectations. 

“So the whole thing only started up 3 or 4 weeks ago, and we’re already up to something like 15 different businesses that are chucking stuff at it, so it’s grown so much.”

“Everyone is just buying in on it, which is probably the most exciting thing for us. It’s blown us away, the uptake and just all the phone calls from people trying to be a part of it and saying hey what can we do to help.” 

Meurk says one the main reasons for the match was to lift people’s spirits, with both Halcombe and Huntervillles rural communities doing it tough with bad weather and payouts. 

“Interest rates are high, every single payout is dropping and the weather seems to be the worst winter we’ve had alongside other issues across the country, “ Meurk says. 

“And so this whole group came together and said let’s just do something that takes our mind off all of that with something that’s fun and rugby is always perfect for that.” 

“As well as that we said if we’re gonna do it then lets do it for the right reasons, so we decided that Farmstrong was a good initiative for that.”

He says the entire region has rallied around, with MoreFM taking care of the MCing, local professional referee Rebecca Mahoney refereeing and local rugby teams the Turbos and Cyclones donating signed rugby balls as giveaways.  

It’s not just the community taking it seriously too, with Meurk saying he’s spotted a few players getting some mileage under their belt in preparation for the big dance.   

“Another thing that we’ve been quietly stoked with is we’ll be driving around town and driving around the community and you’re seeing guys out on the road going for runs.” 

“So farmers are out there training hard for it because they know they’re playing a game of rugby and also it’s given them purpose to go out and get the blood flowing.”

“And there’s a few quite big names in there of guys that have played some decent footy, so it should be a great game.”

The event kicks off at 1.30pm, with junior teams featured in the curtain raiser and seniors kicking off at 2.30pm. 

To enter the game, spectators will need to bring a cash donation to go towards Farmstrong, and there will be a barbecue with refreshments throughout the afternoon. 

For any more information about the event head to the Halcombe v Hunterville Facebook page.

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