After two knee operations, Ged still motivated to play on
AFTER two knee operations in four months, Laidley batting ace Gerard "Ged'' Sippel concedes his cricketing future is in limbo.
He is unlikely to return in the Cricket Ipswich competition after Christmas following the latest operation on his left knee.
At 43, Sippel knows his outstanding cricket career has a limited time span.
However, he wants to give himself every chance of playing next season with some added incentive.
"I never say never,'' Sippel said about the prospect of batting again in the top order for Laidley's first division side.
"My motivation these days is playing with my oldest son Tom (who turns 17 in April).
"Just enjoying spending my time with him.
"That's been really pleasing just to have the opportunity to watch him develop and on the odd occasion, we get to bat together. That's a bit of fun.''
Ged's 14-year-old son Joseph is also moving up the ranks, wicketkeeping for Laidley's third grade side.
"Whether I can keep myself healthy enough to keep playing, I'd love to say yes,'' Ged said.
"But if the body says no, we'll see how that progresses.''
Sippel remains one of the most experienced and accomplished cricketers in the Ipswich competition.
During 119 matches, he has scored more than 4500 runs, averaging a healthy 42.
Sippel has a top score of 159, one of his seven hundreds.
As a bowler, he has been economical, only conceding three runs an over and taking 129 wickets.
However, his two latest knee issues have left the popular cricketer with plenty to ponder.
After having work done on his right knee in July/August, his latest season was dramatically cut short in the recent Harding-Madsen Shield match against Marburg-Mt Crosby Thunder at Bichel Oval.
His left knee gave way.
"I was just batting with Welshy (captain Alex Welsh) and running down the pitch for a quick single and then I felt something,'' Sippel said.
"It was a clunk, like a definite shift in my knee.
"I said to Alex straight away: 'Look mate I can't run any more'.''
Sippel had an operation a week later.
A visit to the surgeon on Tuesday offered encouragement and a review of what damage was done.
"He (the surgeon) was quite happy with it,'' Sippel said.
"He said that I had a fairly nasty tear on the meniscus inside my knee, which was closing up on itself inside the knee joint.
"He took my meniscus out and said he was happy how it progressed.
"There was some other damage he found inside my knee once he got in there and had a look.''
However, with the onset of arthritis providing a future challenge, Sippel has to make a major cricketing decision in the next couple of years.
"It's just a matter of time before it degenerates any further I guess,'' he said.
"It (cricket) has been part of my life for such a long time that I'd hate to see it end.
"I can strengthen up again and maybe have another hitout next season but certainly this season I'm unlikely to get back on the paddock the way I'm looking at the moment.
"I can feel in my knee, after the last operation, that there's some instability there that I previously didn't have.
"It just messes with your head a bit I think.''
Sippel had enjoyed a pleasing run in his cricket career before the latest knee setbacks.
"I've been pretty good. I've rarely ever missed a game through injury,'' he said.
"Certainly in the last probably five seasons, you just get used to waking up sore and playing sore.
"You play on a Saturday and you take until probably the Friday to come good and then you go again the next Saturday.
"That's just part of playing cricket for a long time and being a little bit older now.''
Sippel grew up on a family farm between Gatton and Forest Hill with his two sisters and brother Mick, the region's leading all-rounder for the past decade.
Apart from years playing junior cricket with Forest Hill, Gerard enjoyed two separate stints with Brisbane Souths, played in Leicestershire and had some fun in country Victoria.
Managing a global vegetable food company, he has travelled extensively for a number of years.
He spent 2000/2001 in England before having four seasons with Souths and time in Mildura for work in the mid 2000s.
He rated his time in the UK "one of the best experiences of my life''.
But while moving around with work, he has also found his way back to Laidley.
Ironically, he was spending more time at home, due to his company's international restrictions, when his knee gave way.
Sippel was modest about his impressive career with the Laidley club.
"When I reflect on it, I'm certainly a lot closer to the end of my career than the beginning of it,'' he said.
"It's certainly not about stats for me.
"It's always been turning out and playing, putting in your best performance for the team and the club that you're in and that's what Laidley is built on.
"You want to put that legacy out there that the future guys come along and see and witness how you played the game. And then hopefully you set some sort of example for them to follow as well.''
But even when sidelined, Sippel continues to make a valuable contribution.
In last Saturday's Harding-Madsen Shield Ipswich one-day final, he assisted with scoreboard duties while cheering on his teammates in the thrilling final overs against Centrals.
"I do really enjoy scoring,'' he said.
"In junior cricket, I can sit on the sidelines and score there.
"I was trying to get involved.''
Although Centrals held on to win by two runs at Walker Oval, Sippel was delighted how the club's young guns like Josh Reisenleiter (46) and Jem Ryan (34) stuck to the task.
"It was so pleasing to see,'' Sippel said. "The unity of the group itself.
"No doubt there was some disappointment there on Saturday but huge credit to particularly Josh and young Jem Ryan to get us in the game.
"We were probably dying at the 30 over mark.
"If nothing else, it provides some more motivation to really put into the four-day final in Ipswich, which is quite unique.
"There's plenty of cricket to be played after Christmas and hopefully if we can maintain some energy there across the group, we can put in a good showing for the four-day final at the end of the season.''
Gerard Sippel's key stats playing with Laidley
Matches: 119. Innings: 126 (17 not out). Runs: 4581. Average: 42.03.
Hundreds: 7. Fifties: 29. Highest score: 159 vs Marburg at Marburg Showgrounds on October 30, 1999.
Bowling: 761.5 overs, 112 maidens, 129 wickets (2850 runs). Average: 22.09. Economy: 3.74 runs per over. Strike rate: 35.43 balls per wicket.
Played in 10 grand finals (one and two-day competitions) winning four.
Winning record: 82/119 (69 per cent).
Stats courtesy of Ipswich cricket historian Wayne Jones.