HALLOWED GROUND: Wests' life member Ross Chapman and president Scott McIntosh with some pieces of the Albert Park wicket which players will be able to take away.
HALLOWED GROUND: Wests' life member Ross Chapman and president Scott McIntosh with some pieces of the Albert Park wicket which players will be able to take away. Bec Singh

Gympie cricket prepares to say goodbye to Albert Park

CRICKET: Gympie cricketers will pay tribute to the wicket at Albert Park next Tuesday as the local competition moves to its new home at One Mile Ovals.

Players both current and former will relive their fond memories and say their farewells to Albert Park pitch.

"I always enjoyed playing on the number 2 wicket; it provided extra life as a bowler,” Gympie Regional Cricket Association president Rod Venn said this week.

"The feature of Albert Park was the grand stand. From a viewing perspective you could watch at an elevated position behind the bowler as he bowled. I have not seen too many other regional grounds that can compare to this.”

Wests life member and president Scott McIntosh shows the machine to dig into the Albert Park wicket.
Wests life member and president Scott McIntosh shows the machine to dig into the Albert Park wicket. Bec Singh

It is the end of an era for Gympie cricket and Albert Park.

"As far as I know cricket was played here from when Albert Park was first built and the grandstand was built in 1937,” Wests life member Ross Chapman said.

"In 1946, England the Marylebone Cricket Club as they were known, played Queensland Country here with a few England Internationals and Sheffield Shield players in the match.”

Some of Chapman's best memories are the great players who donned the whites to play at Albert Park.

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"We just lost Jimmy Geiger who was one of the most senior players to have played here,” he said.

"There are lots of players who are still alive that played cricket here in the 40s and 50s. In some ways it is an end of an era but in some ways it is a celebration, to share a cold drink and a few yarns to remember the good times we had playing cricket at Albert Park.

"For us, from a regional cricket point of view, we wanted to do something to commemorate the fact that cricket is leaving Albert Park and we will have this farewell.”

Albert Park Grandstand in Gympie new paint job on the roof.
Albert Park Grandstand in Gympie new paint job on the roof. Craig Warhurst

Players will have have the opportunity to take a piece of the wicket, which Wests life member and president Scott McIntosh has been digging up. McIntosh grew up in Widgee and was selected to play for Gympie by the late Jimmy Geiger, he said there was one match that stood out for him for the wrong reasons.

"I was playing for Gympie in a rep game against Bundaberg and I was lucky enough to hit a six into the grandstand. I almost hit the Bundaberg president Matt Tallon who was sitting beside Jimmy Geiger,” he said.

"The very next ball, probably the rush of blood, I got clean bowled. Channel 7 got it and it was on the news on the Tuesday. So that was a bit embarrassing, and we got beaten that day.”

The farewell will be held 4pm Tuesday at Albert Park.

Gympie Times


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