Murrumbateman played their first game of the season in Gundaroo on Saturday.
The Baggy Blues of Murrumbateman made their long-awaited return to the Yass Valley Cricket Association (YVCA) on Saturday when partaking in the first weekend of the 2023/24 preseason competition. Last playing in the competition during the 2018/19 season, Murrumbateman’s return was welcomed by the YVCA, who have seen all too many teams fall by the wayside in recent years, or move to other neighbouring competitions. Behind Murrumbateman’s cricket renaissance is Fred Clark, who became motivated to bring the Baggy Blues back after driving through the ever-growing community twice daily for his work in Canberra.
“I became increasingly aware of how silly it was that a village with a cricket ground, cricket net, storage facilities and a pub to drink in had no cricket team,” Clark said. “It made no sense. I did play one season for Murrumbateman many years ago, and I felt like there might be a chance to get it going again. “I had played two enjoyable seasons with Bookham – current champions – but it felt like the right thing to do, given the number of teams that had folded in recent years.
” Clark was soon onto local cricketing stalwart Mitch Quinn, who pointed him in the direction of Simon Walstrom a Pommy and cricket tragic – and the rest is history, with local cricket officially back up and running. “There is a great deal of excitement about Murrumbateman starting up again,” Clark said. “For one thing, there is a century old legacy of cricket in Murrumbateman. Centuries. Well, apparently, there is a record of a cricket game in Murrumbateman in 1862. Therefore, our club was founded in 1862,” Clark laughed. Joking that his newly formed side was following a ‘regimen’ designed for winners, Clark was hopeful the Baggy Blues, who play out of the Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds, better known as ‘The Wreck’, will put in a good showing or two this season.
“We’re excited and optimistic,” Clark said. “We know we can compete in this competition. It is notoriously difficult to win the Yass Valley Comp, so we’ll have to be on our mettle.” In terms of playing stock, Rob Farrell will captain the side, and Clark quipped that there was an interesting mix of personalities set to represent Murrumbateman.
“There are some unique characters in the Murrumbateman squad,’ Clark said. “One bloke, Phil Whitehead, bowls left-handed, which everyone agrees is super aberrant. “Another bloke, Rob Farrell, claims to know a lot about jet engines, which is just boasting. “And then there is Simon Walstrom, club founder and Vice President: Simon was very surprised the other day when he thought he was attending a croquet nets session, whatever that is.
“All in all, it’s a very talented group. Another leading vaudevillian is Mr. Kris Milne, recently retired from national security duties and keen to hold a beachhead at Normandy…, I mean, the nets across the road.” While some of Clark’s comments are very much tongue in cheek, Murrumbateman’s foray into the YVCA is a serious endeavour. As always, sponsorship made it possible at the end of the day, with Urban Education, Murrumbateman Country Inn, and the Barton Highway Bypass Commission backing the Baggy Blues efforts.
On Saturday, the Baggy Blues fielded their first team, and in an unusual result, they shared the points with the Gundaroo Goats at Gundaroo Oval, with each side scoring 125. David Hazlehurst had an innings-high 48, Jeremy Wilcox scored 37, and Brad Jones and Jason Chapman snared two wickets apiece. In exciting news for local cricket fanatics, Murrumbateman Recreation Oval will play host to Rounds
Three and Four of the YVCA preseason competition on Saturday, with the Baggy Blues taking on the Gundaroo Packers and Goats in what is set to be two action packed eight a side ten-over games. Also playing on Saturday are the Bookham Bulls, who will play the Yass Golf Club Cobras and Vipers at Bookham Sports Ground.