Meet three of Fraser Coast's state veteran cricketers
THEY might have a few years on the regular faces in Fraser Coast's cricket competitions but Les Price, Terry Andrews and Brian Kratzmann still have what it takes to play for Queensland.
The trio are among Wide Bay's growing base of veteran cricketers, and hope their exploits on the field will generate even more interest in what was described as one of the fastest-growing parts of Australia's premier summer sport.
Price and Kratzmann have already played their national championships.
Price finished fourth while Kratzmann's romped to victory against Victoria.
They will train with Andrews to ensure he is in top shape for next month's over-60s nationals.
If there is one tip any bowler facing up to the man who is possibly Fraser Coast's oldest active cricketer Les Price must know, it's to not try the short stuff on the wily veteran.
The 79-year-old loves to make a run, and as an opener for his state he certainly makes use of his time at the crease to frustrate out his rivals.
Price played for his state at the over-70s National Veterans Cricket Championships at the Sunshine Coast.
Queensland fielded three teams - two in Division 1 and one in Division 2. - and Price was captain for the Stormers, who played in Division 1.
"We went pretty good, we finished fourth out of the eight. We were the weaker of the two (Queensland) teams but we did all right,” Price said.
"The old enemy, NSW, beat us in our final for third. We've had a lot of battles - we beat them once.”
Price, an opening batsman, had a fair return at nationals.
Retirement is in effect at 40 runs, a mark Price reached once during the September tournament, and he added 38, 28 and 16 runs in other innings.
Anything short was plundered,as Price set up his side for a successful tournament.
Veterans play during the winter, as Price and his Wide Bay teammates take on teams from the south east corner, playing games at games like Kingaroy, Maryborough, and Yandina.
Price, a right-handed batsman, used his success to call for more veteran cricketers to don the whites and play.
"It's just boomed, there's a lot of people getting to that age and they want to continue playing but at a slower pace,” Price said. "We're enjoying it and that's the main thing. Anyone close to 60 they let play but we're always looking for players.”
A man of the match performance from the 72-year-old medium pace bowler put his Queensland Cyclones on track for the national championship.
Kratzmann and his Cyclones team-mates beat the best Australia had to offer, and the Hervey Bay cricketer saved his best for last, earning man of the match honours in the final.
He cracked a quick-fire 38 from 42 deliveries in the final to put Queensland well on track to beating Victoria, a veterans cricket powerhouse which fielded five teams across the two divisions.
He took 2-7 from seven over with three maidens.
"We made the final, I bowled seven overs each day but only got two wickets. I had an economy rate of 2.3 so that was pretty good,” Kratzmann said.
"I went in at 3-31 and we ended up getting 130.
"I was seeing them very well. Even though we were in a bit of trouble when I went out there, I seemed to be hitting them from the middle and got away a few good pull shots and went on from there.”
Kratzmann, who counts the cut and pull shots as his primary weapons, admitted he got away with a few more shots than others might.
"I think it's timing. When I play the pull shot, I don't move much. Others jump and swivel around but I try to stand and stay in the one place and hit the ball,” Kratzmann said.
Kratzmann plays only veterans cricket courtesy of a torn meniscus in his knee, but while it has slowed the medium pace bowler's speed it hasn't affected his effectiveness with the ball.
"I don't use my full run-up now, I'm only running off two or three paces, but I just try to go through the action,” he said.
"That's what they wanted so that's what I'm doing.”
The countdown to Terry Andrews' national championship campaign is now under five weeks but the 67-year-old is not putting up his feet.
He will maintain his strict, weekly training regime with fellow state veteran cricketers Les Price and Brian Kratzmann to ensure he is ready to play when he arrives in Penrith for early November's over-60s national championship.
Andrews, an opening batsman, enters the game coming off two retirements for reaching maximum runs.
"From the first game I played this year, which was an interstate game, I've progressed (up the lineup),” he said. "I've always been an all-rounder. I used to be a tearaway quick bowler when I was younger and I've batted from number one through to 11 in all the years I played cricket.
"In later times I played around the six or seven.
"When I first started seniors cricket five years ago I was opening bowler, and up until 18 months ago when I had a knee operation, I try to bowl leg spin.
"I haven't had much a chance to do that before the trial game but they came out okay during the trial.”
Andrews played most of his cricket at Emerald. He spent 30 years working on the railway and playing against the likes of Rolleston and Clermont.
"I was the captain for 30 of those 30-odd years,” he said.
"Around Christmas time we'd have a week of cricket at Rockhampton carnivals and the Goldfields. We'd play Rockhampton, Gladstone and Biloela - we played against Ian Healy when he was 16.”
Healy played 119 Tests for Australia as a wicket-keeper and lower order batsman.
Andrews and his teammates will take on the best from across the country at Penrith, NSW, from November 11.