Rice is ready for the world stage

Ready for the world. The organisers of next month's Over 60s Men's Cricket World Cup.

By Tania Phillips

The Inaugural Over 60s men’s Cricket World Cup comes to Southern Queensland from 2-15 September with the best cricketers of their age set to converge on Maroochydore for a fortnight of cricket action.

The competition has attracted teams from all over the world and put Queensland Veterans Cricket well and truly on the map (if it wasn’t already).

And the man at the centre of the event will surprise no-one with any long association with cricket in Queensland Cricket’s South East corner.

Rod Rice, who is still playing representative cricket in the over 70s, is the current president of Queensland Veterans Cricket and overseeing an explosion of the sport for those over 50.

“It is the fastest growing arm of cricket in Australia at the moment,” he explained.

“We now have more than 800 blokes playing the sport in the South East corner. We have regular games – we play all our games in the winter and our finals are being held at the end of this month at Maroochydore.

“We don’t really have a Brisbane competition – its just called Queensland Veterans Cricket and it stretches from Wide Bay down the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Redlands-Logan, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer and Toowoomba.

“At the moment we have 50s, 60s and women in the local competition, over 40s join us next year. At National level we play 50s, 60s, 70s and Women.”

Rice said for those looking to join in, it is easy to find a team with each region having their own Facebook group and Queensland Veterans having both a website and Facebook.

“A lot of it is word of mouth though,” he said.

“Most of the emails come to me, I ask them where they live and then I put them in touch with the best person for their area.”

For anyone with a long involvement in cricket around the South East Corner, it is probably no surprise that Rod Rice is involved in overseeing the growth of the sport at a veteran’s level. He is pretty much a fixture in the sport with a long association at all levels. His current commitment goes back almost a decade.

“It’s an interesting story,” he laughs explaining how he became involve in Vets.

“I was driving home from work, about eight or nine years ago. I used to listen to 4BC in those days because they had a sports show on between 5pm and 6pm. They were interviewing a guy called Kerry Emery. He was involved in Veterans Cricket and the Nationals were coming to Queensland. I said I wonder if it’s the same guy because I went to Kerry Emery. I made some enquiries, got a hold of Kerry and yes we went to school together – boarding school in Gympie and that’s how I got involved.

“I played for a few years, then I became operations manager, then vice president and I’ve been president for the past three years.”

However, his involvement in cricket in the region goes even further back. Rice and I met 20 years ago when he was looking to put together a super competition taking in Beenleigh/Logan, the Gold Coast and Tweed and needed a Tweed cricket rep to help make it happen – which it did for a few seasons before Tweed clubs decided to look south for a games. But that’s Rice – dedicated to his sport and if it’s in his power to make something happen he will.

“I’ve had many roles over the years,” he chuckles as we reminisce about me spending my second maternity leave from journalism taking the scores from nine games every Saturday night two decades ago.

“I was president of Loganholme, Beenleigh-Logan juniors, Beenleigh-Logan seniors, Brisbane South Juniors, Brisbane Juniors. I was on the board of Qld Juniors and then I got involved in that competition called Liquor Stax that went from Logan right down to Pottsville we also went out the Redland Bay – we had blokes from Victoria Point and Redland Bay playing in that comp as well. We had some fun.”

Rice is now preparing for his next big challenge – helping to host the Over 60s cup.

“We had an over 50s world cup in Sydney in 2018 and Australia won that on the last ball – they beat Pakistan – there was an LBW decision by an Australian umpire and that caused a bit of controversy,” he said.

“They were supposed to hold the next one in 2020 in Capetown (South Africa) but after two games Covid hit and it all got canned. They are having another Over 50s in Capetown in February.”

Rice said players for the Over 60s World Cup are coming from Canada, USA, West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Rest of the World (with England out due to a clash with their domestic finals – though the World team has more than a smattering of Englishmen).

“That’s 12 teams and they’re allowed a squad of 17 per country – so that’s over 200 players and we’ve got 150-200 coming as well,” he said.

“We have close to 400 coming. There will be all levels of quality of players including a sprinkling of test personalities.”

Other News

On the trail of wine and food

The Granite Belt is Australia's highest wine country region, sitting 900 metres above sea level, with a vast countryside, working farms and quintessential towns...

U3A Expo of Activities wins over new members

An Expo of the activities offered by U3A Rockhampton and District was held at Frenchville Sports Club on 6 February. An open invitation to...

New Noosa group brings scrabblers out of the woodwork

It’s no exaggeration to say that Noosa woman Megan Marks loves Scrabble. The woman known as ‘Mad Scrabbler Meg’ loves it so much she’s...

Robyn enjoys the sweet life

Sunshine Coast cake artist Robyn Brown may have retired from the public services a couple of years ago, but she is busier than ever...

Double delight when ABBA meets Queen

It promises to be double the delight when the Sunshine Coast’s premiere vocal group, Oriana Choir, presents the music of ABBA and Queen on...