Alliance shapes as a big winner
HAVING cricket and Aussie rules working together makes sense when one is a popular summer sport and the other is a growing winter junior nursery.
However, a shared venue needs enough fields and facilities to accommodate both sports and allow for future expansion.
A new partnership is hoping to achieve that at the Ivor Marsden Memorial Sports Centre at Amberley.
Two key presidents involved in the new arrangement are Peter Leschke (Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association) and Sean McComb, from the Ipswich Central (Cats) Junior Australian Football Club.
Both progressive leaders have welcomed support from Ipswich City Council and AFL Queensland in broadening the use of the Ivor Marsden fields, facilities and clubhouse.
The spacious venue on Old Toowoomba Road has primarily been used for cricket in the summer months.
However, that's about to change next year.
Cats junior Aussie rules teams will gain use of three fields for fixtures and carnivals from April.
"We've agreed that the Ipswich Cats and Ipswich Cricket will jointly share the Marsden complex, therefore giving us every opportunity to leverage grants through the dual use and the multi-use of the facility," Leschke said.
"And trying to get as much winter sport involvement as we can.
"We're really excited about that opportunity.
"It's very beneficial for the city and hopefully we can get some overlap with our players playing both sports."
McComb said the Cats had outgrown their overcrowded Limestone Park base.
With 220 juniors (aged to under-18), he said the Cats club would benefit greatly from the move to Amberley.
"We've grown about 100 percent this year so it's not big enough and development-wise on one field with six teams (at Limestone Park)," McComb said.
Leschke said Baxter Oval would be kept for major cricket matches with the current number one field becoming the Cats' main playing arena.
"We'll try to keep those separate at this stage," Leschke said.
The other fields will be shared, depending on demand.
"I don't think there'll be too much overlap (of seasons). It will be pretty cut and dried," the IWMCA boss said.
"They are done in August and we start in September so it's a pretty good relationship for us."
Terrific benefits from new partnership
AFTER two years as Ipswich Cats club president, Sean McComb is keen to work with cricket in helping both sports grow.
"It's a great culture as well," McComb said, citing some key benefits of sharing the Ivor Marsden complex with cricket.
"The facilities are fantastic. The clubhouse is sensational.
"It's the cross pollination of players and more exposure basically."
Car parking pressures will also be eased at Amberley for those used to the limited space around Limestone Park where the Cats have played.
McComb hopes the new arrangement will allow more work to be done with schools and to grow the club's volunteer base.
"We'll be able to hold junior carnival days and host finals," he said.
The Cats held their junior presentation at the Ivor Marsden complex last Sunday while T20 cricket matches were going on.