8 February, 2023
Ins and outs of a half century of cricket
Former Central Downs and Oakey District cricketers exchanged tales of outstanding performance, lost wickets, dropped catches and ‘poultry’ experiences at a reunion of around 100 players and supporters at Oakey’s RSL Club.
Players from the last eight decades relished the opportunity to catch up and step back in time as they poured over memorabilia, news clippings, scrapbooks, and premiership shields and trophies from the past.
Response to the celebration of Central Downs Cricket Association’s 50 seasons of cricket exceeded expectations as the camaraderie and conversation filled the function area.
Twelve CDCA Clubs, past and present, were represented at the reunion, and a number of players seized the opportunity to incorporate a club reunion for those clubs which are no longer operating.
Bowenville Cricket Club is now the only club to have fielded a team every year in Central Downs competition.
Amongst the attendees were former players who played beyond the borders of CDCA or ODCA, like Eastern Downs Zone or Queensland Country.
Fast bowling Robbie Peters joined the celebrations to catch up with fellow club members from Brymaroo, and Southbrook, and many opposition batsmen who still remember him as armed and extremely dangerous.
Internationally accredited coach and player, John Bell, journeyed back to his cricketing roots, happy to share some of his experiences playing Brisbane A Grade cricket, wicket keeping in Sheffield Shield teams for Queensland and Tasmania, coaching Queensland, and in the 1990s captaining and coaching the Dutch National team.
CDCA’s first secretary/treasurer and radio reporter for CDCA, Glen Steger, shared a poetic tribute to an early Slade Shield team.
It was during Tiny McIntyre’s presidential term that ODCA applied to join the Slade Shield competition in 1961 and in that first season played as an Oakey/Dalby side.
CDCA has enjoyed several successes in the Slade Shield comp since then.
Other talented players with impressive statistics enjoyed the reunion. At least four players had scored over 1000 runs in a season and some bowlers took more than 60 wickets in a season.
It is believed that the player with the longest cricketing history in CDCA is Southbrook’s Lindsay Fiechtner who notched up an impressive 43 seasons.
Over time the format of local games has changed and limited overs cricket has reduced the opportunity to achieve such performances in the modern game.
The camaraderie amongst the players from the various clubs was very evident at the celebrations. This was not unlike rep cricket days where club opponents became team mates for a day and, in many cases, friends for life.
“Research for the reunion was enhanced by those who had the foresight to create Banquet Books and to include lists of registered players in CDCA minutes of meetings from the beginning of the association.
“I am particularly grateful to Vince Challenor and Glen Steger who were instrumental in orchestrating this practice,” said reunion organiser, Lindsay Evans.
“There is now keen interest for another reunion which may be bigger and better if the enthusiasm shown at the recent gathering was any indication - provided it’s not in 25 years’ time,” he added.