The Border recalls the historic England-Zimbabwe World Cup cricket match, 25 years ago

TRAILBLAZER: Graeme Hicks brought the 1992 World Cup cricket match between England and Zimbabwe to the Lavington Sportsground. It is 25 years on Saturday since the historic clash. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

TRAILBLAZER: Graeme Hicks brought the 1992 World Cup cricket match between England and Zimbabwe to the Lavington Sportsground. It is 25 years on Saturday since the historic clash. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

It’s been 25 years since the Border hosted its biggest sporting event.

The 1992 World Cup cricket match between England and Zimbabwe attracted 6124 spectators on March 18.

The English had ageing superstar Ian Botham, as well as Graham Gooch and Allan Lamb, while the underdog was stacked with amateurs.

One of the tournament favourites, England had ripped through Zimbabwe for just 134, with captain Dave Houghton top-scoring with 29.

During the break, former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott told Houghton his countrymen would show the amateurs how to play.

But those at the Lavington Sportsground were about to see one of the World Cup’s greatest upsets.

Chicken farmer Eddo Brandes grabbed 4-21 as England was humbled for only 125.

It was also a groundbreaking moment in Border sport.

Lavington has since hosted domestic sport’s biggest codes, AFL, NRL, A-League, Big Bash.

But that Wednesday 25 years ago remains the highlight.

“Well I might be a little biased, but I think it is,” coordinator Graeme Hicks said.

“Internationally, there’s nothing else compares with that.”

Hicks has a lifetime of memories from the day, but he distinctly remembers the most unique.

“The Zimbabwe national anthem takes seven-and-a-half minutes, and we had young Kane McErvale sing it,” Hicks said.

“You might know him now as Kane Alexander (well-known Australian singer and performer).

“It was the only time that anybody’s sung the Zimbabwe national anthem in their language anywhere in Australia, it’s too difficult, and he did a magnificent job.”

The Border-raised Alexander remembers it well, as he was studying music in Melbourne.

“Then they (the organisers) said, the kicker was, we’ll put you in a helicopter, fly you to the cricket, and as soon as you finish singing, we’ll put you back in the helicopter and fly you back,” he said.

“I felt like a bit of a movie star, it was awesome.”

The match kick-started the enormously successful Festival of Sport, which lasted around a decade.

“We were looking at 10 events over a two-week period,” Hicks said of the sporting extravaganza.

“We ended up with 87 over six weeks.

“The Border (Morning) Mail estimated that in 1999 it was worth $40,000,000.

“It said that if you want to showcase your sport, Albury-Wodonga is a great community to do it.”