WHO said hockey was a tough game to learn and enjoy?
Judging by the efforts of multi-code celebrities at last Sunday's family fun day and sign-on at Raceview, the verdict was clear.
Hockey can be heaps of fun, and funny at the same time.
Celebrities from sports like netball, football, Aussie rules and basketball took to the Ipswich Hockey Association synthetic field to test their skills.
Most did extremely well bar a missed shot here or there.
Ipswich football stalwart Pat Boyle missed two goals, bringing back memories of his days as a striker in the larger round ball game.
His footballing colleague Todd Hunt was also heavily involved having played hockey in past years.
The best non-hockey players to embrace the game with Ipswich Eagles stalwarts Chris "Fatty'' Devlin and Luke Konstanciak.
Fatty was tackling almost with the vigour he applied on a footy field. But his gripping performance was only after he had to change his stick early in the game.
Konstanciak also showed solid trapping skills with a stick in hand.
Ipswich regional coaching director Neil Shearer joined with regular A-graders like Amy Korner and Aimee McDermott to offer direction on the field.
But the celebrities did pretty well overall, enjoying their opportunity. Just ask grand final-winning Ipswich Flyers captain Emilie McInally who had a smile on her face the whole game.
Former international hockey player Korner was impressed with the celebrity effort.
"It was awesome to see the netball girls and soccer guys and AFL boys come. And some of them are pretty good,'' she said.
Western Pride football general manager and national indoor cricket representative Boyle enjoyed his change of scenery.
"I loved the hockey,'' Boyle said.
"It was a great concept bringing all the different codes of sport together.
"It was a fantastic idea and they were all fantastic people. It was great to be part of.''
Star young team
CAN you recognise the fine young players in today's main Phantom photo?
If you do, let them and their friends know about a reunion being planned.
The 1967 junior rugby league side was one of Ipswich's most successful outfits.
The side lost just one game in the season. That was against Toowoomba at the Queensland State Championships (at Lang Park).
The Ippy boys were undefeated Zone 4 champions at their carnival in Pittsworth.
Other Zone 4 teams included Gold Coast, Pittsworth, Upper Burnett, Roma and Charleville.
The Ipswich youngsters also won the Bulimba Cup competition that year, easily accounting for a strong Brisbane side.
They travelled to Sydney and played several games (undefeated) including a highly regarded Penrith outfit.
Manager Gary Cuthbert and coach Des Taege still regard this side as one of the best they have been involved with.
The team photographed was: first row - Wayne Heit, Ian Whiston. 2nd row: Lee Cole, Michael Fogarty, Paul Campbell, Peter McAndrew, Phillip Brownlow. 3rd row: Roger Mills, Tom McEniery, Paul McNamara, Bruce Archer, Peter Jackson, John Plant. Sitting: Brian Sheraton, Len Chemello, Des Taege (coach), Barry Duce (captain - deceased), Gary Cuthbert (manager), Gary Hallett and Ashley Kitching.
As one of the players, Heit is keen to seen a reunion organised during the football season,
"We're hoping this article will get the attention of those involved, possibly at the North Ipswich Reserve or somewhere appropriate,'' he said.
He's urged everyone to spread the word.
THERE were a couple of admirable displays of sportsmanship in the Ipswich Logan Premier League one-day final between Laidley and Eastern Taipans last Sunday.
Taipans batsman Malcolm Muggeridge got a fine tickle on a ball down leg-side and was given not out after a half-hearted Laidley appeal.
"It sounded like an appeal to stop the wide," said the QT's on-the-spot photographer and star newsroom all-rounder Rob Williams.
But Muggeridge knew he'd hit it and walked off.
Deni Lee didn't make it that far.
He performed 12th man duties for the victorious Blue Dogs after giving up his spot in the team for Matt Grassick.
"I said I'd rather be in the winning team and not play than in the losing team and play," said Lee, in reference to his form of late.
As it was Grassick got a duck.
Perhaps Lee has other things on his mind now he has committed to fight QT sports scribe Jay "The Interrogator" Buchan on March 1 at Richlands.
The fight is part of the undercard to Anthony Fowler versus Kyle Brumby for the Queensland heavyweight boxing title.
DRUG usage in sport has dominated national news in the past fortnight and Ipswich's top athletes haven't escaped it.
Former Ipswich Grammar student, now Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat pace bowler Cameron Gannon had his first brush with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) last week.
He revealed in a tweet this week, since deleted, he'd been drug tested by ASADA officers for the first time in his professional career.
Gannon said it was the first time he'd seen drug testing while he'd been playing cricket.
IT IS often only in hindsight that early signs of sporting promise in some stars is obvious.
Which is why a coach who can recognise such talent is so valuable.
It also explains why former South Africa under-19 coach, the late Hylton Ackerman, remains the biggest influence on the cricket career of Eastern Taipans' South African ex-pat Chad Baxter.
More than a decade ago Baxter was in the South Africa under-19 side alongside a modest Hashim Amla - now the world's number one ranked Test batsman.
"He was good," Baxter said of Amla.
"I didn't think he'd be as good as he is now."
They were coached Ackerman, who saw something in Amla that Baxter and even Amla himself didn't at the time.
"Ackerman used to worship Amla," Baxter said.
"We couldn't see why.
"Amla used to get embarrassed by it."
There is no wondering why any more.
PLAYING alongside Amla was not Baxter's only brush with cricketing fame.
The 30-year-old played several seasons of first class cricket in South Africa and played a warm-up game for the 2013 World Cup alongside Graeme Smith.
The pair opened together against the national XI.
It was after that game Smith got called into the South Africa squad for the Cup to replace the injured Jonty Rhodes.
Baxter laughed it off when it was put to him that it could have been him, instead of Smith chosen.
"I was still wet behind the ears," he said.
"I was just lucky enough to be able to play in that side.
"I think they made a good choice."
IT IS clear when talking to Baxter he is a modest individual and he had a lesson in modesty in last Sunday's one-day cricket final against Laidley.
He had done the hard work to reach 33, so when he saw a young, teenage wrist spinner coming on he thought it was a chance to cash-in.
No-one told him Jack Wood has, like Baxter himself once did in South Africa, represented his country at age group level.
"I wish someone had told me," he said. "I would have given him more respect."
Baxter still has no idea what sort of delivery it was Wood got him with or whether he was stumped or bowled.
All he knows is he was done like a dinner.
"I just kept walking," he said.
Needless to say he won't take Wood so lightly again.
BROTHERS cricketer Jacob Sarra is hoping to find an opponent to fight on the undercard of the all-Ipswich Queensland heavyweight title bought at Richlands on March 1.
View www.qt.com.au/videos/jacob-sarra-want-s-fight/17574 to see Sarra in action.
Anyone interested can leave a comment or email the QT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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