Wauchope Giants Baseball Club hold 40th reunion at Blackbutt Park, Saturday June 29

Back in the day: This 2003 photo taken at Tuffins Lane features the last day of umpire and life member Ron Dures' 54 year involvement with baseball along with fellow life members Kevin Begley and Rose Willingham.
Back in the day: This 2003 photo taken at Tuffins Lane features the last day of umpire and life member Ron Dures' 54 year involvement with baseball along with fellow life members Kevin Begley and Rose Willingham.

Four decades after they first strode to the diamond, the Wauchope Giants Baseball Club will host a reunion and celebration on Saturday June 29.

The event will be held at the home of baseball, Blackbutt Park.

Many past and present baseball players, umpires, scorers and supporters are looking forward to this day which will start off around noon.

The Giants formed in 1979 following a letter published in the Port Macquarie News seeking anyone interested in starting the sport of baseball in the area.

This caught the eye of a former Saint George baseball player who in 1971 had relocated from Sydney.

Ron Dures was missing the sport which he had been involved with since a boy, so this seemed the opportunity to gather a team together.

Ron with his family had just moved from Port Macquarie to King Creek.

With a team already being formed in Port Macquarie, he soon set the wheels in motion to gather interest in baseball as a sport in Wauchope.

The local rally car club members together with a few other young Wauchopians were quick to take up the challenge and despite knowing little about the game they developed into a pretty good team.

The name, the Giants, was in recognition of the giant eucalypts in the forests around their town as well as choosing a name significant with baseball, The San Francisco Giants.

So began the sport of baseball on the Mid-North Coast with teams from Kempsey and the Camden Haven joining with Port Macquarie and Wauchope in weekly games played on basic fields in each of the towns.

Watching on: Giants life member Ron Dures is looking forward to Saturday's 40th reunion.

Watching on: Giants life member Ron Dures is looking forward to Saturday's 40th reunion.

After some time, Tuffins Lane, Port Macquarie was developed especially for the game, as was Blackbutt Park in Wauchope, but since the closing of Tuffins Lane, the Wauchope venue is now the main ground, featuring a $20,000 plus batting cage which is a great asset for training.

Over the years so many have given an exceptional amount of time to the Giants and three particularly stand out - Kevin and Carol Begley and Rose Willingham.

Rose has held the position of secretary for well over 30 years and has been the Giants' scorer for most of that time. Kevin spent hours caring for the fields and promoting the game. Carol was also a hard-worker for the club over many years. All three received life membership and the number one field was named in Kevin's honour last year.

On the same day The Rose Willingham Scoring Shelter was named as a tribute to her dedication.

Lighting has enabled night games to be played and after the afternoon celebrations this coming Saturday, two games will be played under lights, the first at 4.30 and the second at 7pm.

The Giants will come up against the Middle Rock Mariners who were formed just three years ago in both A and B grades on the main ground, The Begley Field.

So this is a great chance to get to see a game or two, even if you can't make it earlier in the day, said organisers.

The 'famous' Giants steak, rissole or sausage sandwiches with coleslaw will be available., plus soft drinks, tea and coffee.

To help with catering contact the hard-working Giants secretary/scorer Rose Willingham on 0418 279 954.

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