Ipswich to play world until 'last man stands'
THE Australian cricket team may have disappointed fans with its Ashes performance at Lord's, but Marty Henderson and his team of Ipswich park cricketers are determined not to do the same.
After winning the Australian championship in Canberra last year, Ipswich's Last Man Stands cricket team has been given the chance to play at the home of cricket in London.
The team of eight will travel to England next month to match their skill against some of the world's most enthusiastic players in the world championships.
"It's such an important opportunity for us," Henderson, the team captain, said.
"They play one Test match every four years at Lord's and now we get to travel there and play - just a bunch of mates. It's unbelievable."
Last Man Stands is a variant of the T20 cricket format that was invented in London in 2005. Instead of the orthodox 11 man team, an LMS team consists of eight members and plays for a maximum of 20 overs.
There are a few other unusual variations to the game, including the notorious "last man" rule, where the eighth batsman is able to bat by himself but only able to score a two, four or six off any ball.
Founding player and team wicket keeper Gary Copeland said his squad - aged between 20 and 51 - featured a solid line-up of batsmen and bowlers.
"In my opinion, half of the blokes on this team are skilled enough to play for the Australian Test side," he said.
"We're going into this world tournament at 12 to 1 odds - I'd really like to take a bet on that.
"The team to beat will be the South Africans who play the format of cricket a bit more professionally."
In the lead up to the competition, the Ipswich team has been organising fundraising events to raise money for the trip. But the team is still eager to hear from any individuals or organisations interested in sponsoring them.
To contact the team, phone Gary Copeland on 0410 332 958.