Dean Walker (left) and Michael Elmer hold the shield with Dale Birt.
Dean Walker (left) and Michael Elmer hold the shield with Dale Birt. Craig Warhurst

Top teams playing for Ashley Birt

COOLOOLA Heat and Maryborough Brothers take to the field tonight to play in memory of fallen Digger Ashley Birt.

The clash at Ramsey Park sees both sides play with strength and courage for Birt, who lost his life serving in Afghanistan in 2011.

Birty, as he was known by friends, was well known for his hockey skills playing both in Gympie and Maryborough before joining the defence force.

Captain of the Heat Dom Stephens said tonight's game would be a closely fought match with all of the boys playing in honour of their good mate.

"He started playing for the Heat when he was around 16 and the team will be playing with the utmost respect tonight," he said.

"Today's match is something you look forward to all year, especially after last season's close game in front of a huge supportive crowd.

"Hopefully we can get a repeat and have a massive turnout with everybody coming down and showing their support."

With last year's inaugural match ending in a 1-1 draw, both teams return to Ramsey Park today looking for a win.

Stephens said the match was much more than a normal fixture game playing for two points, both teams were playing for a mate lost too young.

"The Heat would love to come away with a win but more than anything what we want to do is make Birty proud," he said.

"It doesn't matter if we come away from the match with a win, loss or draw, we will come away knowing we played to our best ability in memory of him."

In what will be an emotional game, spectators are welcome at Ramsey Park with the match hitting off at 6pm.

Hockey supporters are urged to get to Ramsey Park early to watch the Gympie under-13 girls take on the Sunshine Coast. The Heat women play at 4.30pm

Gympie Times


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