Gympie Gold looks to cap off stellar season
Q. Welcome to one on one Troy, congratulations on leading the Gympie Gold Offroad XI to their very first final win in the Sunshine Coast Division One competition. You must be feeling pretty chuffed?
A. It's a fantastic feeling. That sort of stuff doesn't come along every day.
It's a good situation to be in - a 15-year wait is a long time.
Q. Fifteen years hey? That's how long you've been with the Gympie Gold then?
A. Yes, since the team was formed. I didn't play the first game though, I came in on the third game.
Q. What happened once you had won the one-day final after years of waiting?
A. A fair few beers were drunk on Sunday night and early Monday morning.
Brad Millard had broken his shoes on the Saturday and had chased down a new pair for the final match on Sunday.
Once we won, our teammate Sethi Tuiwai explained that it's a Fijian cricket tradition that if you wear a new pair of shoes and you win the match, you drink out of the shoes - so we did.
Q. Who was responsible for you playing with the Gold?
A. Local cricket legend Max Walker.
I had scored a few runs for Valleys and Max approached me and asked if I wanted to play with the Gold.
There were a lot of people against the Gold at the start because they thought it would take top players away from the clubs to produce the side, but since then the Gold has gone from strength to strength.
Q. Who did you play in the team all those years ago?
A. Max was the first coach and Mark Priem was in the side - he and his family travelled to the one-day final to support us on Sunday, which was great.
Also, Brad Petersen was our captain back then and Brad Millard was in the team too. He's played the most games and I have played the second most games with the Gold.
Cameron Quinn has been in the team about 10 years too.
Cameron, Brad and I are the old heads in the side, it's special because it's not too often you get to play in a team together for that long.
I was saying to young Ricky Dann after a game on the weekend that when I started playing for the Gold, he was three years old.
Q. What's it like having played with some of these guys for years and years?
A. You do form a special bond.
I guess you rely on them to get the job done.
We've been through some good and some bad times.
Q. Who else has been along for the ride with the Gold?
A. Our families and wives.
It can be pretty tough on our families, when we are off training and playing the games.
Our coach Lindsay Dickfos has been with us the past six or seven years.
Also, our manager Bob and his wife, Shirley Blackburn, look after us pretty well.
Q. What was it like playing in the Gold at the beginning?
A. We came into the Sunshine Coast competition as the new team.
In our first season we only won about two games.
It's been a very big learning curve but gradually you learn and gain experience.
I remember we made both the one and two-day finals during my first year as skipper in about 2000 but we didn't win.
This year we have the likes of Sunshine Coast Scorchers Kaden Dickfos and Josh Brady, who are a massive boost to the club.
We've been through some fairly bad hidings but we've come out the other side.
We've worked hard to be at the other end of the stick.
Q. Has there been much change within the club?
A. Yes and no.
Obviously there's been a lot of change but at the heart of it, it's pretty much the same.
We still play the same brand of cricket.
Q. What's it like at a Gold training session before a game?
A. It's very intense, it's not just a walk in the park.
We're very committed to what we do.
Q. Playing consistently at this level certainly must take some commitment.
A. It's very time consuming - you spend all day Saturday away from your family and there's training to go to too.
Q. You've been committed to training the Gold and games for a lot of years, do you ever think about giving it up?
A. I've thought about it. I'm not sure yet though; I might be stepping back, I might not.
Q. What would you miss when you do decide to exit from the Gold?
A. One of the biggest things I'll miss is the comradery and just having a beer with the boys after a game.
Q. There are new faces coming into the Gold fairly regularly, is it nice to watch younger players develop?
A. It's good to see them come through, that's what the Gold's about.
Once they're playing with the Gold, the next step is the Scorchers.
It was good to see the likes of Kaden and Josh go into the Scorchers after starting in the Gold when they were 14 or 15.
And it's been good to see them come back and play with us this year. Josh used to train with us when he was in primary school - even then you could tell that he would go somewhere in his cricketing life.
It was the same with Kaden, who used to hang around like a bad smell when he was young.
Q. What's next?
A. I hope we'll be picking up all three pieces of silverware this year.
Name: Gympie Gold Off Road XI
Born: Gympie, thanks to the driving forces of Gympie Cricket stalwarts Ross Chapman and Max Walters.
Original captain: Brad Petersen
Current captain: Troy Ashton
Cricketers who have gone on to play A-grade in Brisbane include: Shaun Savage, Chris Summers, Peter Dein, Kaden Dickfos, Lewis Waugh and Josh Brady.