The close bond between two Millicent mates prompted Chris Puiatti to make an 800km round trip from his current Adelaide home to Mount Burr recently.
He took part in the annual Bryce Pollard Memorial T20 cricket match at “Mick” and Jean Walker Oval.
Chris and Bryce were schoolmates at Millicent High School, sporting teammates at Mt Burr and workmates at the RJE Evans and Co. engineering company in Adelaide.
The memorial match was instigated a year ago to honour the memory of the late Mozzie cricketer and footballer and features players from both codes. The 2021 match was won by the footballers.
The match is arranged by the two clubs and Sue Pollard – the mother of Bryce who died of cancer at the age of 30 in 2019.
The actual trophy is one of Bryce’s very own bats from the premium Gray Nicholls company.
Joining Chris on the trip from the capital city was Tom McBride who was also a good mate of Bryce.
Chris recounted a memorable overseas trip with Bryce around a decade ago.
“Along with Griff Thomas, we went to Canada and the USA,” Chris said.
“We had just turned 21 and that was the legal drinking age in America.
“We had a weekend in Las Vegas and that was long enough for us three Aussie boys.
Chris recalled that Bryce good-naturedly teased their A Grade football coach in 2010.
“Bryce was the runner-up in Mount Burr’s B Grade best and fairest trophy in that season,” he said.
“However, he was called up for a couple of A Grade matches and he blamed the selection decision by Mark Kruger for denying him the B Grade trophy that season.”
Chris said his late friend showed an exuberant side on the sporting field.
“As a bowler, he would really give a batsman a send-off if he took his wicket,” he said.
On a serious note, Chris reflected well on Bryce’s shortened life.
“He left a good mark,” he said.
Formal speeches were made ahead of the first delivery.
Sue Pollard thanked the football and cricket clubs for their cooperation.
“I am proud and honoured to be part of these matches each year … Bryce loved these clubs so much” she said.
“He was a good son and is sadly missed.”
Mount Burr cricket captain Nathan Muhovics urged all cricketers to play the game in good spirit.
“Bryce touched us all,” he said.
“Let’s have some fun like Bryce and keep him at the back of our minds.”