As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Queanbeyan Cricket Club, The Queanbeyan Age takes a look back at the incredible history behind the baggy blue cap.
RECRUITMENT of players to the Bluebags has taken many varied courses over the past 150 years.
The rules of the association from the early 1930s to the late 1970s stipulated that you played for the zone in which you lived. This seemed quite reasonable until larger catchment areas filled with new dwellings and over time, the rule became unwieldy.
For Queanbeyan, local players from ‘Struggletown’ have been central to the club’s recruitment plans but the Bluebags have also consistently drawn on outlying areas in search of playing talent.
Bungendore, Captains Flat, Michelago, Tharwa, Royalla, Goulburn and the South Coast have supplied many great players who have gone on to wear the baggy blue with pride. Players of the ilk of the Kelly family, the Coffey’s, the MacDonalds and the Jeffrey’s are to name but a few.
Canberra players have never been excluded and have been welcomed to the club as well but even so, there has always been a country feel to the Queanbeyan Bluebags.
Another avenue to attract and recruit players was has been from the UK. Since the mid 1980s, a regular stream of overseas players have plied their trade in Queanbeyan.
The first of those was Mike Watkinson. ‘Wink’ was a true gentleman and a fine ambassador for English cricket who would later go on to play for England at test level.
He was later followed by Mark Harvey (Lancashire), Steve O’Shaughnessy (Lancashire and Worcestershire), Stewart Eaton, David Follett, Ryan Brown, Chris Barrow, Kevin Cooper, Richard Stemp, Jono McLean (Hampshire and Eastern Province) and currently Simon Johnson.
All added enormously to the camaraderie and tapestry of the club. They imparted not only their individual cricket expertise, but also many stories of what is was like to play overseas in different conditions.
They were embraced not only by the Queanbeyan Cricket community, but also by the local members of the Kangaroos Football club and many nights of banter and storytelling resulted with our ‘Pommie’ colleagues.
Probably the best performed was O’Shaughnessy who had previously played for a dozen or so years at the Ginninderra Club but who had always wanted to come across the border and have a couple of seasons with the Mighty Bluebags.
He was Captain-Coach in 1995-96, scoring 794 runs at 61 in leading the team to the semi-finals only to break his arm batting in a game Queanbeyan went down narrowly to Easts.
He played a further season and a half before heading back permanently to the UK where he now umpires at the first class level.
A great character and friend to all at the club, O’Shaughnessy brought a fierce will to win that Queanbeyan remembers only too well following his hundred for Ginninderra against the Bluebags in the 1992-93 Grand Final, to win the Tigers their only premiership.
current and former players are reminded that the RSVP for the big weekend of
celebrations is fast approaching (February 5) so please head to the website for
more information…. www.queanbeyancricket.com