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

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

LONG periods without success can drain even the most enduring official, try the hardest working player and test supporters across any sporting code.

Between 1940 and 1969, the Queanbeyan Cricket Club went through such a time as the Bluebags went 29 years without a premiership in any grade.

But in 1970, Queanbeyan’s third grade side gave the club reason to hope that drought would soon be over.

The team was well led by first grade player Ray Hatch who, through unavailability, had to spend the balance of the season in third grade that year. His was an experienced side of tough cricketers, desperate to revive the aspirations of a club that had become accustomed to defeat. Also in the Queanbeyan line-up that year was future first grader Des White.

After playing their way through to the final, Hatch’s side met minor premiers Easts in the decider but got off to a shaky start, posting just 166 in their first innings. That was before a wonderful spell of bowling from White (7/47) then saw the Bluebags run through their opponents for just 109.

The title was Queanbeyan’s and a sense of excitement reverberated through the streets of ‘struggle town’ with the hope of bigger and better things to come.

It would take another seven years however, before Queanbeyan tasted premiership success once again. But the Bluebags next title would prove worth the wait and would set the platform for on-going success.

Queanbeyan’s 1976/77 second grade side was brimming with players with first grade experience, plus a number of players who would go on to win first grade flags with the Bluebags. Phil Moon skippered the side and he had plenty of talent to call on in both the batting and bowling departments. Champion player and gentleman Les Manwaring, Paul Yelland, Alan Bailey, Charlie Dooley, Rob Davis, Kevin Woods, and David Hughes were all high quality players. Queanbeyan’s team that year also included the likes of Steve Bailey, Bob Farqhuarson and Wayne Campbell, all of whom would go on to play plenty of first grade and who would form part of the 1980/81 first grade premiership side.

The Bluebags toppled a very talented South Woden side in the semi-final. South Woden’s line-up that day included two future champions of the Queanbeyan Cricket Club in Mark Thornton and John Bull.

Once through to the grand final, Queanbeyan was up against a very strong Norths side at Norths’ home ground of Majura Oval. With one side of the wicket slightly moist, Norths sent the Bluebags into bat with a view to ripping through Queanbeyan’s formidable top order. Unfortunately those plans went out the window as the Norths skipper failed to take into account that Queanbeyan had seven left-handers in its batting order and the wicket was dry on their off side. Declaring at 7/304, with Bailey and Yelland both scoring half centuries, the total proved too much for Norths as they were dismissed for 187 and then 155 following on. Queanbeyan (Dooley 40no) blistered the 42 runs needed for outright victory and the scene was set for not only a huge celebration but also for the next 15 years of success.

The Bluebags had proven they knew how to win again and the stage was now set for the club to set its sights on reclaiming a long elusive first grade title.

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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