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Memories of The Redland Bay Cricket Club, by George Day (1919 – 2015)
The first knowledge I have of cricket in Redland Bay is the picture I have been given of a Redland Bay team that must have been playing in the 1890’s. I am going on the date by the age of the player on the top left-hand corner. He is my grandfather Henry Day. Where it was taken I do not know, but it was an organised team as they have Redland Bay on their hat bands and all the necessary equipment to play but look at the dress. Imagine playing in ties, waistcoats. There is even one with a fob watch.
The grass was fairly long but that was not uncommon till after the Second World War when rubber tyred tractors became available. Before that, tractors had steel spikes on their wheels, and mowers were scarce.
The first Redland Bay teams I can remember played their competition games down Beenleigh area. Trucks started to appear and that was the mode of transport. My first introduction to cricket was at Redland Bay where we played on an ant bed wicket and a field that nearly always had grass up to one’s knees. We played against Victoria Point. We rode bikes to Victoria Point mostly. I think the headmasters had a bit of a side bet on the matches as one time we were thoroughly thrashed and the teachers gave us a dressing down and threatened to send a team of girls next time. Occasionally we played against Cleveland where a committee member took us in a truck.
When I left school, most of the class joined the Redland Bay Cricket Club that played on Henry Moore’s paddock on Moore’s Road where the Orchard Estate is now. We played on concrete wickets with Kippox matting, which was a heavy canvas well pegged down at the sides. The field was not always mowed but on the whole most were mowed at the time or else cattle fed on the grass. There was only one wicket that we played on in the district that was ant bed and that was where the Cleveland Showground is now. It had all bush around it.
Mr Moore did not allow Sunday sport to be played and a couple of years before I joined, a group started a Club called the Plantation Cricket Club on the land on the corner of Main and Stradbroke Street on land owned by Joe Smith. This allowed cricket to be played on Sunday as Sunday sport had started to be popular. All competition was still played on two Saturday afternoons. On Sunday inter-district competition was played between teams from Beenleigh, Beaudesert, Southport and at one time Boonah. I probably have not all the teams that played. The A Grade played for the Wells Shield and B Grade the Plantation Shield. By the time I played the competition was played in the Redlands with two Grades, A & B. We travelled in a truck driven by one of the members whose father had a truck and paid 1/- for petrol. We also had to buy a new ball. I can’t remember the charge. The B Grade were nearly always lads from 14 years of age and our captains were usually an older man who supplied transport. My first captain was John Meissner. These older men looked after us kids, like fathers.
I mentioned the ant bed wicket at Cleveland. It was a dangerous wicket to play on with the ball bouncing all over the place. That is where I started wicket keeping. Our usual wicket keeper, Howard Muller, was hit on the nose with blood everywhere and no one wanted to take the job and so I finally agreed to give it a go. I remember the first ball, fling at my face. I somehow managed to keep it from hitting me. I sure concentrated on the job and I never got hit in the face. Shortly afterwards the wicket was not used till a concrete one was put down later.
With two separate clubs we each had an A & B teams each…there not being much else to do. Nearly everyone played sport. Motor cars did not come into it yet, as they did later. The captain or selectors would pick the team and put the names up on a notice board at Strachan’s Store and Post Office… and if one had a couple of bad games, would rush up to see if one made the team. There was a lot of rivalry between the clubs and a couple of years later we joined as one club and played on Smith’s paddock. The competition winners received a cap (blue and black) with the year of being premier for the year.
The cricket association was always broke, and often the winners had to play for the cap themselves. I only won one cap in my 26 years of playing. Cleveland had the biggest population and were hard to beat. The president of Cleveland Club was a well off man and would pay the membership of good players to play for Cleveland. The game went along steadily till World War II, when all organised sport stopped, though some matches were played against army stationed in the area and a few friendly games. After the war it was a different matter. A lot of the older ones had not come back to cricket. They played bowls or golf, and had motor cars.
We would get players to play on the first Saturday and not turn up on the second and find they had gone down the coast….but we did get keener players who really liked the game. Before when there was nothing else to do some played because their mates played.
Then cricket then got to the present site after the war…after years of not much happening in sport. There was a strong interest in getting a sports ground and everyone was eager and keen and the land was acquired from the Bunker family and a sports club was formed – led by William Muller as President and a nephew, Howard, as Secretary. The names of the committee, loyal workers, are too many as all the district was behind it. I am sure if I tried to name them, I would leave some out. Most of the work was carried out on a weekday. Farm men brought tractor scoops, trucks and whatever machinery was needed.
Back to cricket. Cricket went fairly well but it was harder to get teams as time went by. We had times of keenness, and then bust. Some of the trouble was, players seemed to leave as a team, then there weren’t enough to form a team. There were times there was not a team in Redland Bay. I played till I was forty, and was the only one left playing from the early teams. It nearly killed me. The young players would hit a ball and want run through. There was no way I could run more than that.
In 1970 there was not much cricket played in Redland Bay. There were some farmers playing for a while, but that only happens when there are interested parents. We had to finance cricket up till about this time when the Redland Council started to help and today do
a lot for sport. I don’t know what is happening in cricket now but it seems to be going very well. After cricket I played golf for a few years and then the family were starting to play competition tennis and I helped my wife to transport teams and supervise them as they were still going to primary school. I was a patron of the Tennis Club for a few years.