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The Snick - Queanbeyan Cricket – 150 years strong......

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Queanbeyan Cricket Club, we take a look back at the incredible history behind the baggy blue cap.

At sporting clubs success is generally measured by the performances of its premier side, in this case the Queanbeyan 1st XI. Queanbeyan has played in the ACT competition since 1922-23 and in this 90-year period, 15 first grade trophies have made the trek across the border.

For some players, supporters and officials, this seems like rich reward. But for others, the numbers do not add up to the blood, sweat and tears they have poured into the club. Three periods – 1940-58, 1958-81 and 1992-2010, represent a total of 59 years without ultimate success.

These times hold many stories and heartbreaking near misses. Of times when champion players, coaches and hard-working officials did everything they could to earn the silverware, only to come away empty handed. Some will say sport is played for fun and for the camaraderie. Others will speak of community and of providing an avenue for young men to play sport and develop their skills. Deep down though, every cricketer knows it is about being the best, about holding that trophy up after six months of extreme effort. Training two and three nights a week, bowling till your shoulder hurts or your fingers are calloused trying to extract that extra turn and bounce. Batting till it is dark but still concentrating intently on that short ball to perfect your hook shot.

Off the back of a great side and a wonderful championship win in 1957-58, the following 23 years was a period of just not being quite good enough. It was not as if the club did not do everything it could to return to the premiership stage. The Bluebags recruited well, bringing the likes of Ray Flockton, Mel Johnson and Terry Walters – outstanding players/coaches all who did great things. Queanbeyan also continued to produce plenty of high quality talent of its own, plays of the ilk of Les Manwaring, Ray Heading, Noel Vickery, Barry O’Connell, Alan Hodgson and the Kelly brothers John and Michael.

All of these players represented the club with distinction without tasting the ultimate success and they are not alone as players who have given their all in the baggy blue only to come up short. Off the field, club officials worked tirelessly. Col Berry, Col Holt, Lloyd Buckley and Winston MacDonald steered the ship but never got to etch the club’s name into the history books. They strived for better facilities, better wickets and they hungered for victory but success can at times prove elusive and for 23 long years the drought continued.

It can be said that success is shared most among those who earn it through toil and sacrifice and when a Ray Hatch led Queanbeyan side finally broke through on March 29, 1981 to claim the first grade trophy once more, the celebrations were richly deserved. The win heralded a wonderful period for Queanbeyan Cricket and this sports mad city.

It is not long until the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club holds the 150th Anniversary weekend celebrations.

The celebrations, to be held February 22-24, promise to be a wonderful chance for players from across many eras to be able to catch up with friends, share reflections of past performances. It will also provide a chance for the legends of yesteryear to mingle with the current crop of young players whom look to their more senior cricketers for inspiration and guidance.

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