Marburg Mt Crosby junior cricketer Tyler Johnson with his grandfather Ken and dad Michael at Len Johnson Oval. Tyler's great grandfather Len, after which the field was named, played for Australia. Picture: Gary Reid
Marburg Mt Crosby junior cricketer Tyler Johnson with his grandfather Ken and dad Michael at Len Johnson Oval. Tyler's great grandfather Len, after which the field was named, played for Australia. Picture: Gary Reid

Tyler’s Ipswich cricket moment to treasure on famous oval

WHEN young sporting all-rounder Tyler Johnson played on one of Ipswich's most famous cricket grounds, he rekindled years of achievement.

It was the first time he represented his Marburg Mt Crosby Level 1 junior team on Len Johnson Oval, named after his great grandfather.

Proud parents Michael and Tammy were on hand, along with Tyler's grandfather Ken, to share the memorable occasion at North Ipswich.

Tyler, 9, had played two earlier matches at Tivoli in his debut season before receiving the opportunity to line up for Thunder against Northsiders on Friday night.

"It's his first season playing Level 1 cricket and he's loving it,'' Tammy said.

Michael said it was hugely satisfying seeing Tyler become a third generation Johnson in Ipswich.

Michael and his dad Ken had previously played on Len Johnson Oval during their cricket careers.

Playing on the field where so many of Ipswich's best young cricketers have learnt their craft was particularly pleasing for the family.

"Even when Tyler was younger, growing up watching cricket, he loves cricket,'' Michael said.

"Now that I can see that passion in him with cricket, he's got some fairly good skills.

"I'm actually interested to see how far he can go with it.

"It (Friday night) was a great moment . . . we were excited to be there and watch him play a game on that oval, knowing that it's named after my granddad.''

Len was an Ipswich cricket icon who played during the Don Bradman era.

Growing up in Silkstone, Len represented Queensland in 56 first class matches from 1946-47 and 1952-53. That included time in the Sheffield Shield competition for Australian troops at the end of World War II.

He also toured New Zealand with an Australian Second XI in 1950. With his deceptive swing bowling, Len finished with the best first-class bowling figures.

Despite his talents as a right-handed batsman and medium-fast bowler taking a then record 171 wickets for Queensland, Len only received one Test opportunity. That was against India at the MCG in the final Test of the 1947-48 series.

Len Johnson Oval was  opened in the late 1970s.

With Len passing away aged 58 in 1977, his grandson Michael didn't get to spend much time with the Ipswich cricket great.

However, Michael learnt about Len's career eager to share his exploits with Tyler as he starts his cricket journey.

"He was a bloody good cricketer for Queensland. He was up there with some of the best bowling figures,'' Michael said.

"It was just a shame that he was playing in that era with Bradman and the Invincibles and stuff like that.

"He didn't do anything wrong . . . but he missed out on the Ashes Tour unfortunately.''

The family has Len's Australian blazer to provide a permanent reminder of his past achievements.

"We went and had it professionally framed,'' Tammy said.

"It's really important. You need to treasure these items.''

Marburg Mt Crosby junior cricketer Tyler Johnson is maintaining a wonderful family tradition. Picture: Gary Reid
Marburg Mt Crosby junior cricketer Tyler Johnson is maintaining a wonderful family tradition. Picture: Gary Reid

Back on Len Johnson Oval, Tyler was having a ball playing under lights continuing a fine family tradition.

However, it's not only in cricket where Tyler is shining. He's showing plenty of promise in the pool representing the Karalee Swimming Club.

"You've just go to let them enjoy it and they will work it out. It's exactly the same as cricket,'' Michael said.

Tyler's seven-year-old sister Sienna is a talented dancer, keeping the Karalee-based Johnson family on their toes.



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