Cricket returns to Millthorpe after two decades in the wilderness

SWEEPING: James 'Ray' Milner playing for the Gladstone Cricket Club.
SWEEPING: James 'Ray' Milner playing for the Gladstone Cricket Club.

After nearly two decades without a cricket team, Millthorpe’s Redmond Oval will once again be home to the sound of bat on ball and cries of “catch it” and “howzaaaaaat” as Millthorpe Cricket Club is set to join the Molong District Cricket Association. 

Co-presidents James Millner and Struan Pearce have been spearheading cricket’s revival in the town, and despite being only early September have 20 players lined up to play in the social competition.

Both Millner – who is widely known as Ray – and Pearce played with Cudal last season, with Millner spending years playing with the Gladstone Cricket Club in the years before that. 

“We quite enjoyed the way cricket is played in that competition, and now Blayney doesn’t have a team any more there’s no other place to play in the area,” Millner said. 

It’s a step by step proposition at the moment.

James Millner

“A lot of guys were were looking to play and happy to and have a game now and then, similar to the way Cudal ran things as a single team club.” 

He said the community had already started jumping behind the club, with a few sponsors coming on-board in the early stages of the club, but there is plenty of water to flow under the bridge before the club’s first game. 

“I think it’s great (for Millthorpe), good for the community and we’re open to anyone who wants to come along,” Millner said. 

There’ll just be the one senior side for 2018/19 which is looking to take every and anyone open to play, including juniors, but the prospect of a juniors side or a second side isn’t being considered yet. 

“It’s a step by step proposition at the moment,” Millner said. 

“There’s a bit of work involved, we’ve got enough players to make it work and we’ve got a few things we need to get out of the way but once we get the first game out of the way we’ll be right.

“The fact that Sturan and I played last year helps, we all know how it works.” 

The club may also be bolstered by Millner’s old club-mates from the folded Gladstone Cricket Club – while Millner hasn’t contacted any of them in putting the club together, there’s “potential” to have a few members of that side don the whites in Millthorpe. 

The Molong competition had three teams last season – one in Cudal and two based in Molong. 

This season, Millner said there was talk of a third Molong team alongside Cudal and Millthorpe, with the potential for a five-team competition floated.