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15 November, 2021

Nobby Cricket Club calls stumps

After continuously playing for over 90 years, Nobby Cricket & Recreation Club could not find enough players to compete in the Central Downs Cricket Association (CDCA) competition this season.

Although less cricket has been played at Nobby Cricket Ground over the past few years, it still remains a treasured spot for the many who bowled, batted and fielded there over the decades.

Nobby Cricket Club traces its history back to 1928, making it one of the longest tenured club in the district, if not the longest.

Long-serving Treasurer/Secretary Helen Gillam said the lack of a Nobby side this season is a sad story that ultimately has occurred because the club could not gather enough players to make a side.

Her husband Ashley Gillam, a life member and player of over 50 years, said the lack of people interested in playing cricket was a sign of the times.

“We tried amalgamating with Southbrook but could only get eight regulars,” Mr Gillam said.

“You need just about double that for a side.

Mr Gillam said last season there were 30 players on the books but only 15 regulars.

“This year its not possible to play,” he said. 

“We’ll see what happens next year.

Mr Gillam attributed the lack of playing numbers to a number of factors, including family, work commitments and travelling.

“Some blokes have young families they need to look after,” he said.

“It’s not real popular with the women spending the weekend playing cricket.”

Mr Gillam recalled the glory days of the 1980s, when there were ten sides competing in the Back Plains competition alone.

Other sides in the competition have also struggled for numbers in recent years, including Southbrook, which is also not competing this year, Millmerran and Bowenville.

Downlands and Oakey also fielded teams in recent years but do not any more.

The Central Downs competition, which had eight teams three seasons ago, is down to four teams: Bowenville, Kulpi, Millmerran and Pittsworth.

CDCA Vice President Jason Lee said the low participation numbers is a serious problem for the competition at the moment.

“It’s a shame to have Nobby fold,” Mr Lee said.

“The main reason is due to cricketers moving, people moving into Toowoomba and playing there.”

“Not everyone has the weekends off - you almost need players to field two teams for one - it becomes very difficult.”

Mr Lee said CDCA is currently in crisis talks trying to figure out the best way to keep cricket alive in the country.

“We’re looking into the future, kids, trying to push cricket even more to the youth,” he said.

“Members of our association are involved in coaching kids in the country.

“We’re in talks with Queensland Cricket, looking at holding youth carnivals which could lead into a country youth competition.”

Although talks are underway, Mr Lee said nothing had been definitively planned yet.

In the past few seasons Nobby had been playing its home games at Hodgson Vale to conserve water usage at Nobby.

Mr Gillam said the current format used in the Central Downs Cricket Association, 40 overs a side, has played a role in the association’s decline in sides.

It is only the real young and real old who keep it going,” he said.

“Not everyone wants to play 40 overs. The young ones don’t.”

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