Banner brings teens together
SPITEFUL inter-club rivalries could soon be a thing of the past if the example being set by a group of under-16 Ipswich cricketers is any guide.
Players from four Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association clubs have banded together this year to form the inaugural Ipswich Scorchers junior winter cricket team, with great success.
The Scorchers are undefeated in the Brisbane Winter Warehouse under-16 competition with two rounds remaining.
The team began when a number of under-14 cricketers, whose dads happen to be acquaintances, expressed a preference to playing cricket through winter, instead of footy.
Only problem was there were no junior winter teams from Ipswich.
So three cricket-tragic parents - Swifts cricket club secretary Ray Chandler, Eastern Taipans player Mal Muggeridge and Wayne Plummer - decided to start a winter team for their sons and their friends.
"We initially wanted to get together an under-15 side and started recruiting," Chandler said.
"However, by the time we nominated, there was only a spot available in the under-16 competition. We thought this would be a challenge as our side comprised six under-15s, four under-14s and two under-13s.
"But we had some good quality players so accepted the nomination, even though many of our boys were young."
The name Ipswich Scorchers was thought up, with a strip and logo created.
"We are not aligned with or supported by the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association, or any particular club and have set ourselves up as a separate entity," Chandler said.
"Unlike some of the rep teams, we have not, nor will we, encourage children to change clubs. We see this venture as nothing other than an opportunity for boys to play winter cricket."
Four different IWMCA clubs are represented in the team (Swifts, Taipans, Laidley and Marburg).
"Even though the boys are from different clubs, the team spirit is fabulous," Chandler said.
"We see this as a long-term arrangement and a great thing in terms of working to improve the negative tribalism that unfortunately is a characteristic of Ipswich cricket.
"These boys will hopefully develop a long-term camaraderie and friendship that will overcome inter-club conflicts when they play each other in summer."
Team captain Matt Elkins, who plays for the Marburg Mustangs in summer, played for the Mt Crosby men's team last winter because there were no boys teams.
So he was delighted to be able to play for the Scorchers this year.
Elkins said "good team work and good balance" were the keys to the Scorchers' success thus far.
There were no club rivalries within the team and Elkins thinks it will serve to shine a more positive light on inter-club rivalries when summer cricket resumes.
"Everyone's bonded well," Elkins said.