NZIFCR Tour Report


Cairns, Innisfail and Mission Beach


Bundaberg Festival


From 3 to 19 October a group of 13 NZIFCR Members enjoyed new territory in the far north of Queensland from Cairns and inland stopping at Innisfail and on through to Mission Beach. We played 3 games of cricket and introduced new locals into the ways of IFCR.  All this came about through the planning by our Hon Sec and the great organisation of Bill Souter, ably assisted no doubt by Meg, who was originally worried he would have difficulty finding enough players in each area. 


The group to Cairns included: Robert & Carol Armstrong, Barry & Jennifer Blommaart, John & Rachael Dean, John & Henrietta Hannah, Mike & Lyn Lucas, Gary Spratt & Leigh Evans, and Martin Townend.

The first staty was at the Sheridan Hotel in Cairns.


Shortly after arrival in Cairns we met up with Ravi and Shobama Raman and their children and her parents, plus Neelakantan. The next day SRP Sarathy and his advance members from Hyderabad arrived. 



Our first day was spent going up the Skyrail gondola over the rainforest to Kuranda Village and attractions, returning later in the day on the scenic Kuranda Train.       



  The next day saw journeys through Port Douglas and Palm Beach and then up to the Daintree and surrounding scenic sights.

And of course the obligatory Nelson subcommittee coffee stop.


Our first game at the Cairns Cricket Club Oval had our seven joining forces with Chennai and Hyderabad. Kevin Maher, a long serving contributor to North Queensland Cricket had  assisted with the Cairns organisation and arranged a likely team. 

In a hard fought 40 over game the NZ-India team  captain for the day, Gary Spratt, won the toss and decided to bat. The middle and latter order of Blommart 16, Runga 20, Sarathy 15, Townend 19,  Ravi 37, and Armstrong 25* got us to 182. The Cairns team, assisted by Mike Lucas and Nadeem, and with Brzozwski 36* and Nadeem 20, Lawson14, Magoffin 13, got to 156 all out in their 40th over. NZ-India besst bowling was John Dean 2-14, Ravi Raman 2-17, John Hannah 1-17, Gary Spratt 1-16.


Young love greatly assisted the locals..............Whilst we bowled in hope....


The Cairns clubs hosted a meeting and meal after the game.  Several locals told us they had not heard of IFCR before our promoted arrival. With the interest we generated in Cairns we are sure that there are some likely members for Australia IFCR and the prospects in the area for more games. 


On a round trip into the hinterland via the Atherton Tablelands our  journey was  interrupted by a waterfall and Roberta broke water.


Then the trailer breaking off the coach and wandering down and then luckily off the road before the following traffic was hit by it.  We were able to transship the bags into the back of our coach, which may not have been possible of it had careered off the other side and into a deep bramble covered ravine! 


That took us to a local croc farm where they regularly cull a thousand crocs at $4K each for the best skins.


 And there is the odd snake in the grass.



 And then to home hosting in Innisfail.  An enjoyable evening first evening was held at a local restaurant with some of our hosts and our Indian friends.  


The next day saw us as at the game on the main club oval.The opposition on the good Innisfail wicket contained a sprinkling of local sons and grandsons whose pace on and around the wicket was a challenge to which we rose, and ended up with 137 off 40 overs. The main run contributors being Ravi 23, Spratt 27, Neel 28, Hannah 12, and Ranga 29.  The young batting attack then  hit our bowlers all around the cooch grass paddock, which seemed to grow several centimetres as our statuesque field moved as nimbly as age and grace allowed.  The catch of the match was taken by one of the Innisfail lads subbing for one of our injured - was that Gary Spratt again? -, who caught the ball one handed extended behind his head while lying flat on his back and at deepish midoff.  We were passed in the 26th over with Innisfail  being one wicket down and 2 retired. 




The Innisfail Rotary Club hosted a meeting after the match and cooked the meal in its very smart fully kitchen equipped disaster recovery vehicle.  This has been purchased with grants from local and federal government and funds raised locally after the Cyclone Larry devastated much of the surrounding area a couple of years ago.  A most useful fundraising vehicle for the club; albeit the generator needing to provide more lights and less noise on a night like this.



From Innisfail to Mission Beach by coach found us taking in the Wooronooran National Park and impressive Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, with its high towers, galvanised steel and 900K of recycled plastic bottles, all of which someone spent $10 million creating. From their we wound our way down to a little oasis at the Rydges Castaway Resort on Mission Beach and then to a delightful lunch at Bill and Meg's hilltop aerie at South Mission Beach.  Some watched the prospect of India beating India on TV. We were entertained later in the day at the Mission Beach Rotary Club meeting.



Friday found us at the local cricket ground, again eager for play. Captain of the day Armstrong decided to bat.  



We did this but briefly, with only Sarathy 24, Neel 21, Blommart 12, and Ravi 22 contributing to a low score of 88 on a hard but slow wicket, none of the other seven bats exceeding 3 runs, and only one getting three! We were passed in the 30th over with Mission Beach being 5-91. Our bowling bests were John Hannah 2-14, John Dean 2-17, Neel 1-15; and Ravi took two catches.  The locals hosted us to an enjoyable BBQ after the game, even if the girls had to go and find some local wine.


Shabama cooked up a treat.



Sarathy said goodbye, as he was recalled to the Hyderabad air show which he had been organising on a longe range fly in basis, until they figured he was a bit too far away for the parachute drops.

Neelakantan got one on the check bone, but he was too good to keep down.


Saturday was our rest and recovery day.  A day to relax at a laid back resort amidst the palms wafting on the beach, beach walks, croc and cassowary hunting, reading and lying around the saltwater pool. Our team dinner that night characterised by sunburnt faces, and tired limbs from a week of cricket and shopping.  


And so to Bundaberg on Sunday, via a quick return coach direct to Cairns, with coffee on the way in Babinda, a place famed for  4 metres of rain every year;  a flight to Brisbane and then to Bundaberg.  That beat driving all the way.  Again we were greeted by old friends and home hosts, and whisked away to freshen up before the the opening event. We were joined at this point by Geoff Atkinson, Dan Healey, Bruce and Margaret Heather, Paul Warren and Tom and Maree White.  With Alan and Karyl Lawton to join on Tuesday and Neil and Karen France on Wednesday.  


The Almost Complete Tour Group


A full four days was very well organised by the Bundaberg committee. With cricket on Salter Oval and the adjoining ground it was good for all participants to be so close together, and with all enjoying lunch and after match fellowship in the pavilion. 


Our first match was against Country NSW. Captain Warren elected to bat.  We put on 226 in our 40 overs, with notable contributions from White 50*, Dean 40*, Armstrong 36*, Atkinson 45*, extras 21. NSW batted their 40 overs but only got to 206.  Notable scores were Murray Napier 39, Trevor Lobb 39, and Ross Williams 47*.  Our bowling figured with Dan Healey taking 2-35 off 10, Bruce Heather 1-43 off 10, John Hannah 1-30 off 7. Run Outs helped considerably with three.  



Man of the match Dan with the gifted John Gray and Skip looking on.


Monday night found many of us on the local river boating down to near the rivermouth and a local restaurant. Those home hosted nearby arrived by car and got home a lot earlier. There was a bit of indigestion from some of the meals, but we all turned out the next day.



 Some even got lucky on the way home. 

And I thought the Aussies had forgotten the Loving Part of IFCR!



Tuesday put us against the Bundaberg Blues. Captain White prevailed on his old rival Bill Souter to let us bat, and we put on 150 in the allotted 33 overs. 


Contributons came from Dean 22, Spratt 29, Lawton 19r, Armstrong 32*, Lucas 13. Bundaberg Blues got 154 off 24 overs, after a shaky start when Geoff Atkinson stumped Ian Robertson for a golden off Bruce Heather on the first ball of their innings.  Bill Souter 47, Ian McCLoskey 25r, Ian Petherick 40r, and Aaron Keleher 36* - a good double with 3 wickets as well. 


Wednesday early had us at the Bundaberg Sunrise Rotary Club breakfast meeting.  After which tours and golf and lunch clicked in .

Then the afternoon found the ladies at the Thompson's  afternoon tea, and some at the Test Match which many of our number had made an effort to get to converted to a 20/20 game with different sides than originally invited. Selection became difficult between India's numbers and us, so we chose not to worry about it. Stumps were pointed but most just smiled and continued on.  In the event 11 of the 60+ Aussies played 2 from Chennai,  6 from Hyderabad and 3 from NZ. The Aussies put on 134 in their 20 overs. O'Shea 30r, Donovan 21, Williams 22, Scanlon 19. In the 4 overs permitted to each bowler: John Hannah 2-21, Raju 1-28, Veno 1-26, Ranga 1-17. In reply India-NZ got to 121. Vishal 30, Nadeem 21, Ravi 20*.


The 20/20 teams

An interesting game at which it was expected those not playing would watch. Only some did.  Most others who went elsewhere clearly would have preferred to be playing on one of the other wickets: but for some reason that escaped the planning phase.  


Thursday saw some off for more shopping, having already done the Childers Tour, whilst the cricketers were drawn in mixed teams.  Three of the games took early showers unfinished and the scores are not to hand.  The NZ Invitation X1 game against Ravi's Friends continued slipping on, with Umpire John Blatch returning in shorts to beat the rain. NZI got to 169 after 33 overs. Kevin Scanlon opening with 33r, Davis 14 then pulled a leg muscle, Anil 18, Baker 14, Kartic 31*, Ephraims16. Ravi's X1 then batted through the drizzle but only got to 120 in their 33 overs. NZI were assisted as well by the young Grundons running around the field, with wickets apiece to Godavarthy, Scanlon and M Grundon, with Dean 2-11 at the close. 


 The opposing captains in another game


And so to the closing dinner on Thursday night. A most enjoyable evening with some 180 from the week attending, and Gary Kirk an amiable master of ceremonies. 



Speeches of thanks from Chennai, Hyderabad, and NZ preceded the evening's highlight: the news that the Bundaberg Festival had raised A$20,000.00 with the assistance of the AMP Foundation and this sum was presented to the Australia Rotary Health Research Foundation.  What an incredible outcome for this IFCR event! What great work our Aussie Bundaberg cousins carried out not only organising the events and cricket and all that goes with that, such as wicket and ground preparation and use of the Bundaberg cricket pavilion and facilities, but also the selling of tickets for the framed Adam Gilchrist bat and the decanter; and so many other small things which contributed to a most enjoyable week.  Above all else our Kiwi thanks go to our home hosts  who looked after us all so well.  



The Kiwi thanks included:


From a little world down under from a far off southern land

Where the Tui's morning melody unites us like a band

We come once more with greetings to bid you all G'day

From the playing fields of New Zealand, in the good old cricket way.

To Bundy we came from far and wide

Fit to run and ready to play

From the far north's training in the tide

to the west australian way

We joined the contest here this week -

the flayling arms and linseed bats

the bandaged legs and rumpled hats

kept pace with balls slower and sleek:

women talking, watched on the side

their men stand up, usually, with pride.

There's another game in life to play

To leave behind in word and deed

Our interest in Rotary

To those who follow in our stead

To link up in life's cricket chain

To understand life's great ideal:

Just how to play the game.


Unknown-adapted by John Dean


Well done to the Bundaberg Festival Organising Committee  for Making our Dreams Real: Ian and Alison Petherick, Peter Thompson, Steve Bennett, Geoff Campbell, Robert Edgar, Robert Ephraims, Bob Gallagher, Andrew Jensen, Gary Kirk, and Ian McCloskey.