THE “Bemboka to the Beach” football has been recovered - and has quite a story behind it.
Lost at Bemboka by Graham Wilton in the early 1980s, the ball was apparently washed down the river in a flood and ended up on Tathra Beach.
Mr Wilton got into a bit of trouble for losing it, kicking it too far and into the river.
The ball was found on the beach and sat at the Tathra Pub for many years, waiting for Candelo-Bemboka to re-form, and the intention was to return it to the club.
When the Hacketts, the licensees of the Tathra Pub, moved, Maureen Waterson helped Noreen Hackett pack up and the ball was put with the rubbish.
However, Ms Waterson took it home for her son Scott to play with and when Scott moved to Magnetic Island in the Whitsundays for work, he took some Tathra memorabilia with him - including the ball.
With Candelo-Bemboka re-forming and fielding a Group 16 rugby league reserve grade this year, word spread around Tathra the club was looking for the ball.
Ms Waterson, a life member of Tathra Senior League, remembered where it was and contacted Scott, who returned it to his mother, who then passed it on to the Tathra Senior League committee.
“I read about it in the paper, how there was a call if anyone knows where it is,” Ms Waterson said.
“I thought, my God, we’ve got that!”
Tathra Sea Eagles club president Chris Sly said there had always been a good relationship between the Tathra and Candelo-Bemboka clubs, and so was looking forward to giving the football back as a “goodwill gesture”.
Once he had received the football from Ms Waterson, he gave it a polish, pumped it up and was amazed at the good condition it was still in.
He expected it must have a very good quality bladder inside, as it inflated right away.
The Tathra club was happy to return it to its rightful owner at a stand-alone reserve grade game between the two clubs on Sunday, which resulted in a victory to the Panthers, 22-4.
The football will now go on display in the Bemboka Hotel.