For half a century Bundaberg’s Mike McLellan has rolled up to the pitch with passion as he immerses in a game of cricket.
At 61, Mike may not be as fast as he once was on the field, but the emotions remain the same as they did when he was an 11-year-old boy heading out to bat for the first time.
Mike takes pride in organising the Bundaberg Veteran Cricket Club May Day Carnival and he said it is more than just cricket to the men as they dedicate two days to the annual event.
“It’s about mateship and comradery and not really about winning when we play cricket,” he said.
“I had a few gaps years when I was working, but I got back into Bundy Vets about eight years ago – once it’s in your blood it keeps coming back.
“The players here are over-40 and range to over-60s.
“We still have passion for the game, and we do it as our older bodies permit.”
Mike said the team sport offered companionship and mental health support for older males.
“It helps us look after each other – we may sledge and give a bit of banter to each other, but we also check in on each other and ask are you okay,” he said.
“Our Bundaberg team is very much a social get together, a chance to relax with mates.”
Although the Bundaberg Veteran Cricket Club May Day Carnival allowed a more relaxed atmosphere, Mike said the competition on the field was still fast paced.
“It’s like a T14 and so there is some big hitting that goes on,” he said.
“Batsmen retire at 35 and some of the Queensland players here can hit that in six balls!”
Opening the Bundaberg Veteran Cricket Club May Day Carnival Acting Mayor Bill Trevor said hosting the event in the region was good for the community.
Cr Trevor said with 12 teams participating in the May Day Carnival it would provide an economic boost to the Bundaberg Region.
“This is definitely good for Bundaberg as a whole,” Acting Mayor Trevor said.
“The Veteran teams and their families come here from all over the place to visit Bundaberg.
“Our guys get to meet up with their old mates and relive past stories for a few hours – it’s all played in good spirit.”
To find out more about Bundaberg Veterans Cricket click here.