Real mates matter when chips are down



PETER Higgins and Darren Critchley are Tassie best mates.

Peter urgently needed a best mate early in June when he got carted off to Hobart Hospital and was unconscious for a month leaving behind a small team of greyhounds.

Darren stepped in and undertook a three-hour daily round trip to help out his mate.

\”We have been mates for ages,\” said Peter of he and Darren. Peter lives at Gagebrook, while Darren is 54km away at Dodges Ferry.

\”Darren is a very likeable bloke, a funny bugga, and we have been sharing the driving to and from greyhound tracks around Tassie for a few years now.\”

Peter admits he was feeling a bit under the weather early in June when Darren turned up at his Gagebrook kennels.

Peter is a wardsman at Hobart Hospital.

\”When Darren arrived, I told him I was not well,\” said Peter. \”I told him I needed an ambulance and I needed it now.\”

The next month is a haze for Peter.

\”I had a perforated bowel and got sepsis which affected my heart,\” said Peter. \”I was in an out of consciousness for the whole of the next months.\”

Fortunately, Darren undertook the three-hour round trip from Dodges Ferry to Gagebrook to ‘do’ Peter\’s small team including the smart sprinter Manners Matter.

The bitch had been destined for a life in GAP until Peter Higgins got her in August last year and turned her around. She has now won nine races.

And, she has since joined Darren\’s kennel.

\”I need daily care from visiting nurses to dress a stomach wound and I\’m staying with another mate while this continues,\” said Peter. \”Which means I cannot train greyhounds, obviously.

\”And, I may never work again.\”

Peter is high in praise of Darren Critchley\’s prowess with a greyhound.

\”He goes right back to the hurdle days in Tassie and has had some very, very good dogs over the years,\” said Peter. \”If Darren can\’t get a dog going, no one will.\”

Peter admits it will be some time before he can get back to a greyhound track but says that is a target when his health improves.

\”Darren and I had been sharing all the on-track tasks of leading them out and catching now for some years,\” he said. \”It might be a few months before I get back to a racetrack, but I\’ll see what happens in the future.\”

In the meantime, Manners Matter is in the capable hands of Darren Critchley.

\”She couldn\’t be in better hands,\” said Peter.

Pictured: Darren Critchley (left) and Peter Higgins with Manners Matter. The Tassie mates are an example of what true friendship means when times are tough.



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