WHEN the captain of the amazingly successful Rainbow Beach cricket team says sport is supposed to be fun, you can be sure he is deadly serious.
Merv O'Neill's fun formula has brought the new team from bottom to top in the Gympie region competition in only two seasons.
And this has been achieved by allowing anyone to play, as long as they are committed to enjoying themselves.
You don't have to be any good to have a go, he says.
Everyone has to be a beginner at some stage.
"I've had my day in serious cricket. I'm an old cricketer from way back, including at First Grade level.
"We got the team started because we just got to feel like having a game of cricket,” he said.
And he says the young people of the Cooloola Coast and the business community are right behind the team.
"Ricky (Modin) at the (Rainbow Beach Sport, Recreation and Memorial) club has been a great help and so have port and local businesses, like the butcher and the fruit shop have been right in there helping.
"The school's right behind us and we do raffles for some of our fundraising.
"We need that income because it costs about $4000 in registration, balls and umpire fees just to be in the comp for a year.”
"The council's been terrific,” he says, although he adds that he still has a wish list of improvements.
"They've been talking about something under the Open Space Plan.
"We had a field here, but the school couldn't even run a 100m sprint on it because too much of it was overgrown.
"They could run 200m around the outside.”
"We need about $3000 for a new synthetic pitch. It's getting tricky with some of the tears in it now.
"We got the locals together and cleared the overgrown areas the old fashioned Rainbow Beach way. People brought their four-wheel-drives to rip out stumps and undergrowth.
"I don't know how many trailer loads we took to the dump.”
"A local plumber helped us find the underground sprinkler system and we've raised money for wheeled sprinklers and hoses.
"Nick Lattanzi lives over the road so he keeps an eye on the place and does the sprinkling. He probably puts in 15 hours a week.
"The council mows it once a fortnight and we do it in between.
"We want to get the kids involved as much as possible so the club goes on into the future, even after we can't play anymore.
"It'll all happen one day,” he says.