WHEN Wayne Jones left Northsiders for Central Districts in 1999, it was in pursuit of A-grade opportunities.
One-hundred-and-fifty-one games of cricket later, Jones seems part of the furniture at the Limestone Park-based club.
He is likely to remain that way until his form no longer warrants it.
A Waysiders junior, Jones joined Northsiders when Waysiders merged with Norths, before switching to Centrals.
"It was more of an opportunities thing," Jones said.
"Northsiders had a great side and I just wanted an opportunity to play A grade."
There have been few regrets, other than not having won a premiership.
"Centrals are a really good club," Jones said. "They gave me an opportunity and I've tried to repay the faith."
Not even a move to the Sunshine Coast six years ago could pry him from Central Districts.
"I did at the start (think about leaving Centrals and Ipswich) but I stayed loyal," he said.
Jones has played in one A grade final for Centrals, in 2008-09 when Centrals lost to Laidley.
He was in Reserve grade in 2000-01 when Centrals played Redbank Plains in the final.
But there was no shame in that, given former Queensland Country and Brisbane first grader Mark Sharrad was in the same boat beside him.
It is indicative of how strong the competition was then, with Brian May and Craig Jesberg playing for Redbank Plains while still in their prime.
"In the last couple of years it has probably gone off the boil," Jones said of the standard of the Ipswich and West Moreton Division One competition.
"But this year it is pretty strong again.
"It's a pretty good competition when you look at the competition between the top sides."
It is still a long way from the depth the competition boasted almost 20 years ago.
Back then a young Jones might get a game or two before Christmas for some experience in the top grade, but would struggle for a look in as semi-finals loomed nearer.
"In the early 90s teams could chop and change players and still be strong," he said.
"I was the 10th or 11th guy.
"The guys you could carry for a bit of experience before Christmas.
"Now some teams are probably carrying four or five guys."
Jones has come a long way since his days as a Waysider, but the former Bremer State High School student has no intention of stopping just yet.
"Two hundred games is a fair way off but, form permitting, I'll keep playing," he said.
"I haven't had the greatest year but I haven't had that many opportunities. But I enjoy cricket."
Wayne Jones Profile
- 164 games in Ipswich competition
- Batting: 4097 runs. Average: 24.53. Highest score: 126 not out.
- Bowling: 124 wickets. Average: 20.1. Best bowling: 6-40.
- Jones is the 15th player to play 150 games for the one club.
- Highlights: A couple of hundreds but I'm more proud of my five-fors.
- Best batter played against: Brian May, just over Mick Sippel.
- Best bowler: Grant Stallard. He seemed to have a real good bowler's brain.
- Biggest influence: Col Cooke (Waysiders coach) and Kev Page (Centrals).
- Best advice: Work hard. Nothing's a God-given right.
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