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IF the fight against Catholic clerical abuse was a tennis match, Audrey Nash would be raining down aces on the men she holds responsible for the death of her cherished son, Andrew.
Tennis was her game as a young lass, but as she watched the traditional backyard cricket match at her place at Hamilton on Christmas Day, she decided she wanted a bat. At 94.
"I can do this, I thought," she said yesterday, recounting her decision join in.
"I said I'm not fielding, but I want a bat."
She said she missed the first few balls tossed under-arm to her, but then connected with one.
"I'm claiming it as a four," she said.
"I think it went to the fence. And I followed through with the shot, properly, with the bat up over my shoulder. It's a heavy bat, isn't it!
"And I lost my balance."
Audrey said she "tottered" a few steps sideways before falling over backwards onto the grass.
"At first I thought, I haven't done any damage, but then one of the family is a GP, and she said, I think you've broken your femur.
"She was worried I had broken my hip as well."
Luckily the hip was alright but the left femur - the thigh bone joining the hip to the knee - was snapped clean through, as the front page X-ray shows, diagonally, just above the knee.
Audrey said it didn't hurt that much at the time - she said morphine shots dulled everything - but she was worried, if only briefly, that she might have finally met her match.
Audrey Nash became part of the Catholic Church controversy from 2015 when former Newcastle Herald reporter Joanne McCarthy wrote about the suicide in 1974 of her son, Andrew, at the age of 13.
The church has since conceded he was abused before his death.
READ MORE of Joanne McCarthy's work here at Shine The Light
Audrey has no time for "the men of the church" but she still believes in God, and says she prayed for herself after the accident. She was in good company, injury-wise.
She said at the John Hunter that Christmas Friday afternoon, one of the young doctors told her there were nine people in accident and emergency with broken femurs.
She reckons, though, that she was the only 94-year-old whose cause of injury was recorded by the ambulance paramedics - in good humour - as "sporting".
Audrey said she was operated on the next day, marvelling at the skill of Newcastle orthopaedic surgeon Dr David Dewar, who led the procedure.
As the X-ray above shows, her leg now carries a long metal plate, attached to the bone with a combination of screws and wire loops.
Audrey moved to the Rankin Park Centre for rehabilitation after a fortnight in the John Hunter, and arrived home to Hamilton three Mondays ago, on February 1.
Nurses visit three times a week to keep her up to the mark on her rehab exercises.
"The family and I want to thank everyone for the care they have given me," Audrey said.
"I'm a pensioner on the public system, and it's been fantastic.
"And I promise I won't be back, because that's it for me, as far as cricket is concerned!"
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