ON THE PITCH: Lockyer Valley Veterans Cricket association president Mike Nowlan at Bichel Oval in Laidley. Photo: Nathan Greaves.
ON THE PITCH: Lockyer Valley Veterans Cricket association president Mike Nowlan at Bichel Oval in Laidley. Photo: Nathan Greaves.

Region’s best to take on International cricket tournament

CRICKET: Forget the Test, the best cricket will be seen at Laidley when a UK team takes on the region’s best in Laidley.

A UK touring team will take on Australia’s best over 60s country clubs next month - including the Lockyer Valley’s veteran cricketers.

“This is part of a tour by the UK side. These exchange tours happen on a regular basis, but this is the first time we’ve had one out here,” Lockyer Veterans Cricket President Mike Nowlan said.

“They’re playing Queensland Country here, and the Country side is selected from Lockyer, Toowoomba, Wide Bay, and North Queensland. There’s four Lockyer players who’ll be in the side.”

The match-up was originally schedulled for the Ropehill pitch, which is a popular ground with local veterans cricket clubs, but the dry climate has made it difficult to maintain the field.

Bichel Oval in Laidley has been chosen as the new venue, and the Mr Nowlan has embraced the opportunity to showcase the Lockyer.

“From a local point of view, it’s an international match. It’s quite significant, particularly for the cricket community. It’s an area where cricket has always been pretty big,” he said.

“The players are quite excited to be part of it, they realise this is quite a historic event for the Lockyer. I had to work quite hard to make sure we kept it.”

The project has received plenty of support from locals as well.

“The council’s been very good, they’re right behind it, the Mayor’s been very supportive,” Nowlan said.

“Tanya will be presenting each of the players, umpires, and scorers with a Pride of Lockyer pin. We thought we might like to give everybody a memento of the game.”

The game will be held on Tuesday, December 3, with each side playing 45 overs per innings, with lunch in-between.

There’s no fee for spectators, and there will be a barbecue, as well as an open canteen for those who get peckish during the game.

“If we do this well, we’ve got a chance of getting similar events in future,” Nowlan said.

There are a range of physical and psychological benefits that come with participating in Veterans Cricket.

As well as keeping active, players also gain a social experience, and a safe place they can discuss other issues.

“It’s very much another form of men’s shed, where issues of health, etc. are readily discussed,” Nowlan said.

“Whilst we still play in a competitive manner, it is generally in a friendly atmosphere, where the camaraderie is very important.”

The upcoming game is the latest step in helping the Lockyer Veterans Cricket grow.

“Veterans cricket is growing, right across Australia. It’s worth mentioning that Ipswich have asked to amalgamate with us, because they’re struggling to get going, so next year we’ll be playing as Lockyer-Ipswich,” Nowlan said.

“We’re probably the best-structured of all the clubs in the regions in Veterans Cricket, because we’re the only ones who are incorporated, we’ve got eight sponsors, and we’ve got our committee, which is very dedicated and hardworking.”

He said as the population grew older, more people were being drawn to veterans cricket.

“We’ve embraced the over 50s over the past two years, and as those over 50s get older, as we all do, that’ll strengthen the over 60s,” he said.

“It’s certainly a growing demographic, and veterans cricket is the fastest-growing segment of cricket in Australia, according to all of the stats.”

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