Bundaberg Veterans Cricket Club members are looking forward to highlighting the club’s 20th year with the return of its May Day carnival.
The event, to be hosted at the Bundaberg Junior Cricket Grounds at Kendalls Flat on May 1-2, is set to feature up to 16 teams from Mackay to the Gold Coast with the possibility of a Brisbane women’s team also joining the fun.
The annual carnival was first hosted about 15 years ago, although heavy rain, flooding and last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns have caused its cancellation on several occasions.
Bundaberg Veterans Cricket Club president Kevin Pratt said the club’s players were looking forward to spending more time on the field in 2021.
“We have a lot of fun,” he said. “We still have guys who take it pretty seriously when they play, but there’s others of us who are just happy to roll an arm over or score a few runs.
“Before COVID last year, veterans’ cricket was the fastest growing sport in Australia.”
Kevin said the club was always looking for new members and players did not have to have played cricket recently but had to be willing to take to the field.
He said in addition to enabling “gentlemen of an older age” to continue their passion for playing cricket and providing an avenue for social engagement, the club also helped the region’s younger players.
“The club was originally formed to help raise funds for junior cricketers, that’s our mantra,” Kevin said.
“Every year we give funds raised to the Bundaberg Cricket Association for the juniors and it goes to things like developing pitches or paying the costs to send our junior representative teams by bus.
“Last year we made a couple of the pitches wider and placed new synthetic grass surfaces on them, which cost $8000.”
Kevin said all 123 club members were men but women were welcome.
Club treasurer/secretary Mike McLellan said the Brisbane women’s veteran team were delighted to receive an invitation to the carnival, with the Bundaberg club being the first to ask them to participate in such an event.
Mike said the Bundaberg club’s oldest active player was 78-year-old Mal Carrington, with Australian over-60s representatives Patrick Logue and Michael Kettle also notable club members.
However, he reiterated that the club catered for players of all abilities and differing approaches to competition with a noted emphasis on the club’s social aspects.
The club has organised group playing tours to England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Japan in past years and Kevin said such tours would again be on the club calendar when international travel again becomes an option.
The club will also host matches against the Queensland men’s blind cricket team, played under blind cricket rules, in March.