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Birchip-Watchem, Oaklands-Urana Clubs honour lives lost too young

Billabong Crows footballers and netballers' line of honour, posted on the club Facebook page

Two country football clubs held ceremonies to commemorate two young lives cut short by tragedy over the May 8-9 football weekend.

Birchip Watchem Football Club in northern Victoria commemorated one of their footballers Ben Milne, who tragically lost his life last year.

Across the border in New South Wales, the Billabong Crows played for the ‘Jezza Memorial Cup’ to honour the life of Jeremy Martin-Heath, who died in a single-vehicle accident in February last year.

Due to Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions, Ben Milne’s family and friends were unable to have a public funeral service.

In honour of Ben’s life, Birchip Watchem and Donald football clubs commemorated his life as they played out a fierce and emotional game of football.

Previewing the match on Flow’s Friday Night Sports Show, Ricky Allen said;

“(It is a) great initiative by the Birchip Watchem Football Club, hats off to them as well.”

Allen also predicted Birchip to bounce back from the previous week’s four-point loss to Wedderburn, stating;

“I expect them to bounce back; they’re too good a side.
“I’m tipping that they will (get a win) against Donald.”

On the field, Birchip Watchem hit the ground running from the offset, as they kicked out to a three-goal lead at quarter time.

A fightback in the second term by Donald saw them reduce the margin to just three points at the main break.

The home side, led by forward by Daniel Castellano who kicked three majors for the day, wrestled back the ascendency after half-time, storming home in the final quarter to run out 26-point victors.

Stefan Pye, Lachlan Ryan and Will Sheahan were all strong contributors, with Sheahan kicking two majors.

The same weekend, Jeremy ‘Jezza’ Martin-Heath’s life was commemorated for the first rendition of the “Jezza Memorial Cup” at the Billabong Crows Football-Netball Club at Oaklands.

Jeremy’s mum, Ms Heath, told the local newspaper:

“They chose the Giants because he had a lot of friends from Rand and Walbundrie and he went to school in Walla.

Rand-Walbundrie-Walla co-president Chris Collins said;

“Jezza was a really popular young bloke who had a lot of mates at our club so we were happy to do whatever we could to support his family and the Crows.
“I think it’s important country clubs support each other in tough times.”

In the match against Rand-Walbundrie-Walla Giants, Jeremy’s little brother Jamie wore his big brother’s beloved no. 37 for the last time.

The Crows were just two goals down at three-quarter-time but faded in the final quarter of an emotional match to lose by 37 points. On their Facebook page the Crows thanked the Giants for their support:

"Congratulations to the Giants on taking away the first Jezza Memorial Cup. It was an extremely hard day for our club and again we thank the Giants for being apart of such a memorable day that means so much to us all."


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