HomeSportGreat grandsons continue Laurie’s sporting legacy

Great grandsons continue Laurie’s sporting legacy

sporting legacy
SPORTING LEGACY: Jacob Irwin, and Jeff, Andrew and Jimmy Gear, at the Laurie Gear Oval at Kendall’s Flat, honouring their late great-grandfather, father and grandfather.

Jimmy Gear and Jacob Irwin are continuing a proud family tradition of sporting excellence.

Jimmy and Jacob are great-grandsons of the late Laurie Gear whose wonderful contribution to Bundaberg Junior Cricket and the community is perpetuated with a playing field at Kendall’s Flat named in his honour.

Laurie, who was a talented all-round sportsman throughout his career and passed away 24 years ago, was given the fitting recognition of the having Laurie Gear Oval named after him by the former Bundaberg Junior Cricket Association (BJCA), which merged with the Bundaberg Cricket Association (BCA) some years ago.

This honour recognised Laurie’s instrumental role in the formation of the BJCA in 1968 and the transformation of Kendall’s Flat from a former Council dump site to one of the premier junior cricket grounds in Australia.

Laurie was the foundation secretary of the BJCA, serving in that position for two years, before stepping up to the role of president for three years, and continuing to serve as a volunteer, staunch supporter, and friend up to the time of his death.

He was also part of the organising committee for the first ever Queensland Junior Cricket Association Championships, which were conducted at the grounds in 1975, from which future Test stars Carl Rackemann and Greg Ritchie, and many other future representative players emerged.

Kendall’s Flat has since been the venue for many other State Championships, occasional National Championships, and it has also hosted matches at the two Australian Country Championships that Bundaberg has hosted, the last being a week before the devastating floods of 2013 which ravaged the grounds.

Laurie and his wife Claire had two sons who both were champions in cricket, on and off the field, Jeff and Rod and his daughter Cynthia is a keen all round sportswoman with accomplishments in softball and rowing.

Jeff was an Australian Primary Schools representative in 1966, and achieved senior career highlights when named man of the match for Bundaberg after claiming 2-4 against a Western Australian team which included Test greats Kim Hughes, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Graeme Wood and Terry Alderman, and taking out the 1977-78 BCA Bensen and Hedges Player of the Year award.

He went on to achieve great success as a coach with the former Country Diggers club for seven years, Bundaberg junior rep sides for six years, and Wide Bay for three years, including winning an U13 State Championship, which his son Andrew played in.

Rod was also chosen in a Queensland junior side, and also went on to serve as BJCA president for two years.

Andrew excelled for Country Diggers/Wests from U10 through to A grade, and he also represented Bundaberg and Wide Bay every year throughout his junior career, and was the Wide Bay Player of the Year in his U16 season.

He was also a star in volleyball, achieving national honours with his selection in an Australian Schoolboys’ side.

Jeff and Kerri’s daughters Rebecca and Michele were also keen cricketers, both playing for Bundaberg Primary Schools rep teams.

Sporting legacy lives on through Jimmy and Jacob

Now, the next generation is continuing to bat and bowl them over, through Andrew and Michele’s sons Jimmy and Jacob respectively.

Jacob is following in the footsteps of his father Scott Irwin, also a Wide Bay representative star in his hey-day, who played with Andrew in Country/Wests A Grade sides for years after his junior club YMCA dropped out of the BCA in the early 2000s.

The cousins both play club cricket for Norths, with Jimmy representing Wide Bay in U13 in 2020, and taking out their Players’ Player award, while he has also been a Bundaberg and Wide Bay representative in both rugby league and touch, and is a prolific try scorer in both.

Jimmy’s cricket season is over after his side was beaten in the U14 semi-finals last weekend, but Jacob will be part of the Norths Bundy Power team in the Junior Cricket 2 (JC2) grand final after playing a leading hand with 32 runs in their upset win over Norths Maroon in the semis.

Cooper and Sam
Cooper Rehbein and Sam Stuchbery stood tall with five wickets and an unbeaten century respectively for Bundaberg in the Wide Bay Under-14 grand final on Sunday.

Jimmy was an integral part of the Bundaberg team which defeated Fraser Coast by 85 runs in the Wide Bay U14 grand final at Salter Oval on Sunday, but it was team-mates Sam Stuchbery and Cooper Rehbein who played starring roles in that win.

Sam continued his superb form, scoring an unbeaten 108 from 127 balls as Bundaberg recovered from 3-49 to amass 8-265 from their 50 overs, before also removing Fraser Coast class act Cruz Baker for 90 in his 1-44 from 10 overs after the visitors had reach a threatening 2-159.

But it was fellow spinner Cooper who cut a swathe of destruction through the innings, claiming 5-14 from nine overs.

Bundaberg were also big winners in the U12 finale, downing Gympie by 124 runs, with Lenny Henry continuing his sensational all-round form with 60 in a total of 5-231, and Sam’s brother Alex next best, retiring after reaching 51.

Alex completed a dynamic double, grabbing 3-17 and working in tandem with Travis Kapernick (3-20), to fire Gympie out for 107 in 43 overs.

Jimmy Jacob
Riley Collin wreaked havoc with five wickets to bowl Brothers to a big Under-14 semi-final win over Norths Muntz Marauders.

Sam and Alex will play this weekend for their club Waves who will compete in five of the six Bundaberg grand finals, U16 and JC2 at Kendall’s Flat tomorrow, and Rum City Foods Intra Cup and Divisions 2 and 3, each at Salter Oval on Sunday.

Norths are the next best represented club, in three divisions, Intra Cup, Division 2, and JC2, while Brothers will contest U16 and U14.

Cooper will be a key man in the Isis team in Division 3, with Maryborough qualifying for the U14 play-off at Waves’ expense.

Brothers Pumas upset YMCA in a low-scoring U16 semi last Saturday with Oliver Boge producing a match winning double of 39 and 4-15 for the Brethren.

In U14, Brothers Mustangs thrashed Norths Muntz Marauders by nine wickets with Riley Collin wreaking havoc with 5-15 after also claiming three big wickets to put Bundaberg High on track to a big win over Shalom College in the State T20 Challenge Intermediate Division at the Bundaberg Gala Day the previous afternoon.


Brothers United will chase back-to-back Hervey Bay Softball A grade ladies and men’s titles when their Firesticks and Heat teams line up in their respective grand finals at 3pm and 5.30pm respectively in Hervey Bay tomorrow.

Both teams were also minor premiers, and Firesticks will again meet their Bundaberg cross-town rivals Waves Tsunamis after also beating them in the major semi-final, while Tsunamis took their second chance with a big win over Bargara Bullets in the preliminary final.

United Heat will be hoping to reverse the result of their major semi, where they were ambushed by Hervey Bay’s Terrors, before bouncing back in the preliminary final against Maryborough.

Nine grand finals in total will be contested, starting with Under-12 at 9am and running throughout the day and into the night.

United will also be represented in B grade men and U12, with their Flame and Sparks sides respectively both up against Terrors, who will also feature in U16 against Waves Drifters, and U14 against Waves Riptides.

Waves are the best represented club with six grand finalists, including with their Cutters and Cruisers outfits who will meet each other in the B reserve men’s decider.

Their Seashells team will play West Panthers in B reserve ladies, while B ladies will be an all-Bargara affair between their Leopards and Bandits.

Surf Life Saving

Elliott Heads and Bundaberg clubs are well represented at the Surf Life Saving Queensland Youth State Championships at North Kirra, which started this morning and run through to Sunday, with a small contingent from Moore Park also competing.

Elliott Heads took out the overall pointscore at the recent Wide Bay Capricorn Branch titles, and club coach Craig Holden said some of their best chances include his son Kobi in U14 surf events, Cohen Palmer, who was an U11 beach flags medallist when the state titles were last held two years ago, Indi Bland, and Caiden Everingham.

Craig also expects some strong performances from Bundaberg club competitors, including Xavier Ulbl, whom he said won a state U11 beach sprint medal in 2019.


Ben Rudd beat fellow 15-year-old Joey Vella and veteran Ben Artup in the Bargara Triathlon Club Sprint event on Sunday in a repeat of the placings in the club’s Australia Day Aquathon six weeks earlier.

Ben Rudd completed the 750m swim, 20km ride and 5km run in 1hr01min15.8sec, almost three minutes in advance of his training partner and St Luke’s schoolmate Joey, with Ben Artup a further 2min33.8sec behind.

His ‘Next Jenner-ation’ coach Rebecca Jenner won the women’s category, placing fifth overall in the field of 34 in 1:08:30.3, while the Sprint Team event was won by female combination Rocky Road in 1:17:36.6.

Colton Blyth, of Hervey Bay, and Joey’s sister Lily took out the male and female divisions of the Give It a Try event, comprising a 375m swim, 10km ride and 2.5km run, while Hervey Bay competitors Cooper Dale and Lilly Sloan took out male and female honours in the Turtles (7-12 years) 100m swim, 2km ride, 500m run.

Harry Mudge (Craignish) and Gabriella Price (Hervey Bay) were victorious in the Hatchlings (under-7) category over distances of a 50m wade, 700m ride, and 150m run.

Rugby League

Wide Bay Bulls copped heavy losses in the opening rounds of both the QRL Under-18 Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup and Under-16 Cyril Connell Challenge at Waves Sports Complex last Saturday, with their teams being buffeted by Western Mustangs 50-6 and 44-0 respectively.

Front rower Folau Havili scored a try for the U18 Bulls, with Joel Cox converting, but they struggled throughout, trailing 28-0 at half-time, although they never stopped trying.

They will now take on Sunshine Coast Falcons at Kawana tomorrow, but the U16 Bulls do not play again until next Saturday when they will clash with CQ Capras in Maryborough.


The high flying Across The Waves Eagles will face their toughest test so far when they hit the road to do battle with Bay Power in an AFL Wide Bay Takalvan’s Women’s Premiership top-of-the-table blockbuster to complete the first of two full rounds tomorrow.

The Eagles have won their three games so far, racking up 131 points while conceding just 15 for a massive percentage of 873.33, while Power are coming off their first loss, a 27-point drubbing at the hands of their Hervey Bay cousins Bombers.

Meanwhile, Brothers Bulldogs will host the Bombers, but it could be another tough day at the office for the Dogs, who kicked their first goal of the season in a 58-point demolition by the Cats last week.


Bundaberg Golf Club’s time-honoured annual event, the Men’s Burnett Cup, was won for the second year in a row by Gayndah duo Shaun Allen and Jeremy Zahl, defeating local duo Dave Lester and Paul Batt in the final.

Steve McGoldrick and Gary Marsden also combined well to take out the 2021 Hitchcock Memorial Plate Event, accounting for Paul Easton and John Perry

Julie Morrison and Tanya Dixon, from 1770, took out the Ladies Burnett Cup, downing Linda Phillips, and Kaye Rosengreen 2/1, with Del Crowley and Valmai Mitchell picking up the Plate, against Beth Dummer and Marion Mobbs 3/1.

Congratulations also to Kate McFarlane and Keanu Stam for taking out the 2021 mixed foursomes championships.


The new Bundaberg season will kick off tonight, now conducted under the Football Queensland umbrella.

Gin Gin have entered a senior team for the first time, and they will make their debut in the nine-team Men’s Wide Bay North Division 1 at 8pm tonight against United Park Eagles (UPE) Red, with all four first-round matches at Martens Oval.

There will also be one game in the Wide Bay Premier League Women’s at Martens tonight, with Bingera to do battle with Across The Waves at 8pm.

The other two all-Fraser Coast opening round encounters will follow in Maryborough and Hervey Bay tomorrow, with the only other Bundaberg side in the competition, UPE, having the bye.

UPE will also start their Wide Bay League premier and reserves title defence tomorrow, travelling to Maryborough to suit up against Donn Villa in both divisions.

In other premier matches, Diggers and SC Corinthians, will both also travel to lock horns with Granville and Fraser Flames respectively, while their will be two home games in Bundaberg with Waves to host Sunbury Blues, and Brothers-Aston Villa to also have home ground advantage against KSS Jets, both at 6pm.


The first of two rounds of Bundaberg Hockey trial games will be played at Hinkler Park this weekend, starting with a Division 2 Women’s game at 7.20pm tonight.

There will be a full day tomorrow, starting with U11s at 9.30am, and running through to a Division 1 men’s showdown between Arrows/Athletics and Waves Cities at 7.10pm

Horse racing

Champion Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner has a strong hand at the Catholic Schools Race Day at Thabeban Park tomorrow, with four runners.

He will saddle up Crisscross, which has three wins and three placings from six starts on the track but will be having his first start since June 30 in the 850m Benchmark 60 Handicap and could face strong opposition from Rockhampton raider Exocet Rocket, which is a last-start winner in Gladstone, and ultra-promising two-year-old Sherwood Prince.

Darryl will also be represented by the moderately performed Red Hana, which will be having her first run for him in the Bob Gallagher Memorial Benchmark 55 and could do it tough against fellow local Investible, which won a Gladstone Maiden on February 20 at his debut for trainer Laura Cronan, and last-start Emerald winner Lieutenant.

Darryl will also saddle up local idol Ten Taubada’s and Wrecking Ball in the Charlton Lawyers Open Handicap, and the former should atone for his second as a short-priced favourite when resuming from a spell at the last Bundaberg meeting on January 30.

Another Bundaberg trainer Tony Hess has two good chances in All Gain, which has been runner-up in his two starts at Gladstone and Gympie (in a Class B) since joining his stables, in the Maiden, and the honest Majiang, which looks ideally suited over the 13780m of the Coast to the Country Class B.


2020 Bundaberg Cup winning trainer Peter O’Reilly, of Yamanto, and Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club president Ricky Hassall each claimed double at this week’s meeting at Thabeban Park.

Peter took out 5th Grades with the closely related Dr Ted and Bailey, while Ricky got the money with Hooked on Xena, which returned to the winners’ list in the 5th Grade Pathway Non-Penalty, and veteran Burrum Boy, which turns five years old today and recorded just his 10th victory in 103 starts in the Masters 5th Grade.

Dyna Smokey maintained his perfect record in six starts at the Park for his Dalma trainer Ken Boody in the Best 8.

Four District trainers were also among the winners on the program, Garry Cluse with perennial placegetter Willy Eve in the Novice Non-Penalty, Lindsay McCarthy with Satirical (5th Grade), Jodie Sarnadsky with the also promising Farmor Summers, which prevailed in a photo finish in the Mixed 4th/5th Grade, and John Kohn with Talking Numbers in the Free For All.

Other sport stories: Kasey in hot form for Bundaberg Swim Team

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