Wayne Jones
Wayne Jones Contributed

Why soccer, hockey, league have vital links to cricket

WITH football and the hockey seasons over for another season, the annual migration from the winter codes to cricket has begun for many young talented sportsmen and women.

Cricket has long been the sport of choice that kept footballers fit over summer while waiting for the football season to start over again.

However, the reverse was once true and cricketers used the many codes of footballs to keep themselves fit over the winter months.

Cricket had a golden period in Ipswich in late 19th century, as "King of the Pastimes" drew massive crowds at North Ipswich Cricket Reserve, especially the Southern Stars (Ipswich) and Whitwood (Ebbw Vale) contests.

Dates were kept aside and big festive events were organised for these two giant clubs.

It also helped that these were timeless matches and played to a conclusion even after four or five Saturdays play. This kept the Ipswich public enthralled for weeks on end.

In winter, these cricketers were then keenly followed on the football field and their every movement was noted by QT sports journalists at the time.

Many a footballer has strapped on the pads. League and union players have been tended to charge in and deliver a vicious bouncer or two. Soccer players hammered that ball to the fence.

By the 1910s, football of both of the soccer and league variety started their dominance over cricket in Ipswich.

Ipswich struggled to get the recognition it deserved at a state level at cricket, which had a negative effect on the cricketers, despite our citizens well and truly holding their own once they were selected.

Ipswich was the epicentre of soccer in Queensland between the 1890s and 1960s, thanks mainly to the British immigrants moving to the Ipswich coal mines throughout the region.

Queensland soccer teams were overwhelming made up of Ipswich players and this provided a visible pathway to higher honours for younger players.

Queensland rugby league was quite open to Ipswich players donning the maroon, thanks to officialdom selecting the best team possible to defeat NSW above the internal board politics of the sport.

Meanwhile, our state cricket players were usually mishandled by the QCA board.

Malcolm Biggs, who represented Queensland at both league and cricket in late 1920s, was the main victim from an Ipswich point of view, after taking part in a "coup" involving the players selecting alternative team to the Queensland board in Adelaide in 1930.

By the 1950s, Ipswich was slowly overwhelmed by Brisbane and its population. However, we still produced people that were equally good at football and cricket.

The late Brian "Chooky" Vogler represented Ipswich at league, cricket and soccer.

John Brown is still the only Australian league representative to play first-class cricket.

Hockey, which took off in Ipswich in the 1930s, has always had a heavy presence in cricket circles.

The usual hockey shot and classical cover drive go hand in hand.

Many a club have been based around the hockey clubs' mateship flowing over onto the cricket fields.

Surprisingly, goalkeepers have been very prominent over time.

There are still players that cross over at this time of year, every year, to test out their abilities at a different sport. It is a great testament to Australian ethos of giving something a go.

Long may that tradition continue.

Well done Harry

A BIG congratulations to young Harry Wood for his battling century in saving the Hornets last Saturday against Sandgate-Redcliffe and backing up again on Sunday with handy contributions of 3/26 and 37 not out against the Gold Coast.

In only his second Brisbane 1st Grade match, Wood and opener Dan Wilson put on a record 212 runs for the sixth wicket while rescuing the Hornets from a precarious 5/35.

It is the highest partnership for the sixth wicket in the QCA since at least 2004 and the introduction of the stats database of "MyCricket".

For Wilson, it is his second massive stand of the year after an opening partnership with Mitch Weatherhead of 233 in January against Wynnum Manly.

It was also very satisfying to see that Hornets were so resilient on this occasion when in the past they may have slipped to a heavy defeat.

The leadership group must be commended for instilling such a such a strong belief and attitude in the players.

Hopefully, the Hornets (7/273) can knock over Sandgate-Redcliffe today for a well deserved and memorable comeback win.

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