Cricketers raise funds for appeal
WHAT started out as some cricket-starved players looking for a game has turned into something much more significant.
With the Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association competition on hold until February, Laidley's English imports Alex Welsh and Lee Walker came up with the idea to hold a six-a-side competition to get some cricket in.
“Then it grew to tie in with a flood appeal,” Welsh said.
“Chris (Laidley captain Chris Wilson) sent out a text to see what teams we could get, if anyone was interested.
“Initially it was to be six-a-side with only six teams.
“But because of the popularity, it became eight-a-side with eight teams.
The teams contesting the competition are Laidley, Northsiders, Central Districts, Brothers, Strollers/Raiders, Fassifern, Mulgowie and Southern Lockyer.
Walsh and Walker came to Australia for a summer of cricket with visions of parched outfields and rock hard pitches.
Instead, they have struck the most rain-affected season in memory, making their more familiar South Yorkshire surrounds seem barren.
“Seeing the weather getting better after the floods, it was frustrating that we still wouldn't be playing,” Welsh said.
“We'll see how much money we can make to help and get a game of cricket.
“We're looking to dedicate the funds to the Grantham floods.”
Welsh has been a shocked as anyone by what he has seen of the floods and can only sympathise with those who have suffered the loss of family members, homes and their belongings.
“We were very lucky where we are,” he said.
“It is weird being in this situation, not having anyone around us we're worried about.”
Not that Welsh has been far from the reality of it, with teammate Jason Cubit part of the Lockyer Valley Disaster Management group.
He was involved in rescuing people from the Grantham area during the height of the flood.
“I think he's seen some things he'd rather he hadn't,” Welsh said.
Prior to the floods, Welsh had been riding high on the back of England's win in the Ashes, but the subsequent events in the Lockyer region in particular have put sport in general into perspective.
Now it is cricket's chance to make a real difference by helping flood victims.
“A lot of people love cricket but there's a lot more to it than winning and losing,” Welsh said.
“If we can get people out to this event and raise some money – if cricket helps, then brilliant.”
It will also enable Welsh and Walker to contribute to something much more meaningful than a successful cricket season.
The Flood Appeal eight-a-side competition is at Bichel Oval, Laidley, from 8am tomorrow.
There will be a bar, canteen and barbecue, sideshow games such as a golf chipping competition, raffles and memorabilia auctions throughout the day.