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50 years of Bundaberg Junior Cricket at Kendall Flat

Bundaberg Junior Cricket
Local cricket legend Jim Deem OAM, 87, was there when the pitches were rolled for the first time, and now half a century late at the start of the new junior cricket season, he reflects on what junior cricket at Kendall Flats means to the community.

For 50 years Kendall Flat has been home to Bundaberg Junior Cricket and in that time thousands of boys and girls have developed a love for Australia’s national game. 

Through the dedication of countless volunteers, the area has been transformed into one of Queensland’s best cricket facilities. 

Local cricket legend Jim Deem OAM, 87, was there when the pitches were rolled for the first time and now, half a century later, he reflects on what junior cricket at Kendall Flat means to the community.

“It’s one of those things Kendall Flat that has more or less kept the dream alive,” Jim said.

“What we have today is unbelievable; we had good people through the association and also in the community, including retired cane farmers who came in and did the mowing, people came out of the woodwork to help make the grounds what they are now.

“I spent a lot of hours here and I have no regrets, I enjoyed it and would do it again for another 50 years.

“It was teamwork that made it happen and it will be teamwork that keeps it going.”

Jim said in 1968 the junior association was up and running in Bundaberg with more than 250 eager young cricketers in more than 40 teams ready and waiting to hit a few boundaries in the new competition league.

“We (the junior association) formed in 1968, when there were only two others, Toowoomba and Gympie, at the time that I knew of,” he said.  

Bundaberg Junior Cricket
Bundaberg YMCA junior James Baker, Norths junior cricket's Zach Hamel, local cricket legend Jim Deem and his son Bruce Deem at Kendall Flat for the start of the 20-21 junior cricket season.

“For the first three years we had nowhere but schools to play and I will always pride myself knowing we left the school grounds in great condition, and we never had one complaint from a principal!”

Jim said three years later the junior association moved to Kendall Flat and it had gone from strength to strength.  

“Kendall Flat is a household word around Queensland – we held the first ever state championships here in 1976,” he said.

“That was under-12 through to under-17.

“Kids enjoy themselves and that’s what it is all about.

“There is no better feeling than to drive passed and see the ground full of junior cricket players and their families.”

Last Saturday marked the start of Bundaberg Junior Cricket season with Kendall Flat crowded with eager young cricket players, some stepping out on the green for the first time, and others who return year after year.

Gin Gin State High School student Zach Hamel, 13, has been playing local cricket for six years and he said he was keen to get back into it.

“I play for Norths, and have been playing for six years, it’s really good and I really love it,” Zach said.

For Bundaberg YMCA junior James Baker, it would be his first innings at Kendall Flat after signing on for the first time.

James travelled from Gayndah to take part in a sport he is certain he will love.

Bundaberg junior cricketers have not been the only players to enjoy their sport at Kendall Flat, with the fields also hosting senior cricketers at the top level in country cricket and local Aussie Rules competitions. 

As the region continues to move forward plans are progressing to further develop Kendall Flat, to be a premier sporting destination.

The design of stage one and two of the Kendall Flat Enhancement Plan is set to kick off soon, transforming the grounds into a hub for cricket and AFL.

Bundaberg Regional Council has allocated the funds for the design work in its 2021-22 budget.

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