Lara, Richards wind back clock in the Gong


A couple of plucky young university graduates almost upstaged the world's best cricketing names yesterday during a charity Twenty20 match at the University of Wollongong.

With retired West Indians Sir Vivian Richards and Brian Lara lurking in the outfield, Amit Balgi and Jack Manning formed an 80-run partnership to force an unlikely draw in the annual Stumping Serious Diseases charity game.

Needing 16 runs from the final 10 balls, the pair ended the match in a deadlock, with both teams posting respectable totals of 155.

Helping their cause was a solid knock of 39 from former international Damien Martyn.

Earlier in the day, Richards (19 not out) and Lara (48) wound back the clock with a 42-run partnership in their innings.

When they weren't running between wickets, the pair kept the 1500-strong crowd entertained with on-field antics, giving this year's running a distinct Caribbean theme.

"The amazing thing about this is that whenever you come to games like this is that you pick the bat up and it's amazing - the mind is all ready," Sir Viv joked.

"But sometimes the rest of the body can be a bit slow to tag along."

University ambassador and UOW XI captain, former Australian international Adam Gilchrist, was eager to lap praise on his spirited tailend after the match.

At one point, the Richards-captained Bradman World XI seemed destined for victory, with Gilchrist's side languishing at 7-75.

"But Amit and Manning really turned things around. They did a great job," Gilchrist said.

This year's match lends support to local children's health and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, among others.

"This event been a wonderful endorsement of not just the University of Wollongong but the city of Wollongong and the Illawarra region," Gilchrist said.

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