Army Chopper Drops In On Country Cricket Match To Dry The Pitch
A bushfire-affected town in East Gippsland got a surprise on the weekend when an Army helicopter helped dry the soggy pitch ahead of the match.
In spectacular fashion, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) helicopter hovered above the pitch as locals watched on.
Bruthen Cricket Club President David Cameron told 10 daily Saturday's events fell into place in an unbelievable fashion.
Cameron had been in communication with the ADF, in the region to help with bushfire recovery efforts. They were trying to organise a personnel drop off at Bruthen's local cricket pitch on Saturday morning, en route to nearby Omeo.
"Everyone was anticipating for hours and hours and it just kept getting put off," Cameron told 10 daily.
When the ADF changed plans due to the weather, Cameron said he asked in 'cheeky fashion' if they could bring the chopper to hover over the pitch.
"Long story short, I told (the ADF): 'I need you to come 'cause you gotta dry the pitch out for me'," he said.
What unfolded next was captured by onlookers in several videos that have attracted widespread attention on social media.
"We were about to have the coin toss and I said 'hang on something might happen in a minute, clear everyone back!'" he said.
"They just came in, dried the pitch and then left."
The chopper hovered just metres above the oval, its huge rotating blades helping dry out the surface of the pitch.
Cameron told 10 daily that onlookers got the shock of their life turning up at Bruthen to find a helicopter on the pitch.
“They loved it, never seen anything like it, and probably never will again," he said.
The helicopter provided an exhilarating moment for local children, who Cameron said had had a terrible school holiday because they were under fire threat surrounded by smoke.
"We look to our kids for everything. To see the kids having such a good time at our oval, the chopper, it’s a positive spin on it all," he told 10 daily.
For the record, Bruthen won the match to secure their spot in the finals.
A visiting cricket team from Teesdale were also there to witness the bizarre events unfold, as they'd driven five hours with trucks loaded with hay bales to donate to Bruthen locals after the bushfires.
Cameron said he and his teammates had a 'big night' with the Teesdale boys post-match, and that the day was 'going to take some time topping'.
"We don’t know how we're gonna beat that!" he said.