Ipswich sport fans have witnessed some acrobatic efforts like this one from Norths Tigers winger Jonathon Plumb in this year’s Volunteers Cup competition. Following COVID-safe plans has been invaluable. Picture: Bruce Clayton
Ipswich sport fans have witnessed some acrobatic efforts like this one from Norths Tigers winger Jonathon Plumb in this year’s Volunteers Cup competition. Following COVID-safe plans has been invaluable. Picture: Bruce Clayton

Thanks to dedicated officials, volunteers and QT supporters

AS Ipswich sport prepares for the last of its delayed winter finals, it's time for some brief reflection and a round of thanks.

Not that there's been any time to stop and pause for long with so much going on in our terrific sporting city.

It's near impossible to have a day off with so much to cover in our new QT digital, remote-working operation.

But thankfully I've been able to get out to sports events in recent weeks after the major COVID shutdown that threatened to derail all regional sport this year.

That's where the timely appreciation comes in.

Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and officials who devised COVID-safe plans to ensure their sports could continue.

In my weekend travels covering sports like rugby league, soccer and hockey, I saw no evidence of any major breaches.

It's always difficult ensuring people in decent sized crowds keep their social distance. However, it was pleasing to see so many spectators take their fold-up chairs and blankets to venues and make a conscious effort to do the right thing.

Spectators scattered around the North Ipswich Reserve have enjoyed some superb football in recent weeks. Picture: Bruce Clayton
Spectators scattered around the North Ipswich Reserve have enjoyed some superb football in recent weeks. Picture: Bruce Clayton

At the North Ipswich Reserve, people scattered around the grassy fringes and kept apart in the roped off grandstand sections during Volunteers Cup matches.

Regular big screen video messages from new Broncos coach and Ipswich favourite Kevin Walters reminded spectators of their obligations before, during and after games.

Spectators, with mobile phones at the ready, checked in at the front gate at the click of a button.

June Nicholls was recognised for her invaluable contribution to Ipswich Hockey, particularly as COVID coordinator for 2020.
June Nicholls was recognised for her invaluable contribution to Ipswich Hockey, particularly as COVID coordinator for 2020.

At the Ipswich Hockey Complex, officials directed spectators to the opposite side of the field to where the players and coaches came in, warmed-up, played and left.

Arrows and signage made it clear what was required during their short, sharp "COVID'' season.

It was a well co-ordinated approach overseen by professional people like June Nicholls, Hugh Hocking, Margret Mantell, Robert McLeod and Tracey Doyle.

Players and team staff quickly became accustomed to entering via one gate and exiting through another departure point.

For a sports journo like me, it was like being in the mixed zone at an Olympics or Commonwealth Games. I had to stay one side of the fence and grab a person to interview before they walked through the exit gate.

But that was okay. Hockey was being played and enjoyed. That's all that mattered.

Ipswich Knights footballer Mitch Herrmann. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography
Ipswich Knights footballer Mitch Herrmann. Picture: Darren J McCabe Photography

At soccer fields including the Briggs Road Sporting Complex and Ipswich Knights ground at Bundamba, it was reassuring to see clearly marked sign-in points and hand sanitiser available at entrances.

Spectators were also regularly reminded to keep their social distance.

Being able to park around the edge of the field and watch games from your car made it more enticing for football fans at Bundamba.

Ipswich Basketball Association officials like Brooke Norgrove and Chris Riches implemented strict crowd caps for recent Queensland State League matches.

They put safety first, ensuring the right protocols were followed for players and spectators at the stadium.

It's clear Ipswich has some fantastic administrators who can respond quickly to changing situations to ensure their all-important sports continue as safely as possible.

Thanks to everyone who have played their part in getting Ipswich sport up and running and maintaining high safety standards.

Ipswich Force basketballers have played in front of capped crowds during this year’s Queensland State League competition.
Ipswich Force basketballers have played in front of capped crowds during this year’s Queensland State League competition.

As we transition into summer sports, the annual overlap is far greater this year due to the winter competitions pushing through October and into November.

It's been a challenge keeping pace with everything.

However, it's now the turn of officials in summer sports to follow the lead of their winter counterparts and set up the best COVID-safe environments.

As I look ahead to what's in store across the warmer months, I want to thank everyone who has assisted me since we lost our beloved QT paper.

Although it has been a huge adjustment for all of us, our remaining QT digital team remains focused on covering the most important Ipswich news the best way we can.

No other media can match what our small team delivers in going into bat for Ipswich, regardless what other organisations claim.

We are Ipswich-centric and dedicated to keeping our city represented.

And what about all the recent livestreaming on the QT website?

It was brilliant to watch our Ipswich State High Langer Cup footy team and our Ipswich Force under-14  basketball girls win gold in Mackay.

There was lots of options for fans to safely watch sport from the comfort of their loungeroom.

That's why it is so important people continue to subscribe to the QT digital site and in particular my local sport stories.

With your help we can continue to cover the stories that matter and put Ipswich first.

Without our QT focus, Ipswich will quickly become the Parramatta of Sydney - losing its proud heritage and become just another suburb of Brisbane.

That would be a massive injustice given the loss of our regional newspapers.

So thanks to everyone supporting me and helping the QT maintain decades of tradition - albeit in a new format.

Stay safe and keep enjoying your sport.



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