Sunday, 21 February 2016

They Play Hard

The News - Wednesday, February 18, 1953
The game’s the thing at Hamley Bridge on Saturdays. One enthusiast says that about a sixth of the town's population takes an active part in sports there.

In Adelaide that would mean about 70,000 people.

In Hamley Bridge, says Mr. Pat Oakey, it means more than 100 men and women playing cricket, bowls (the women play that, too), basketball, rifle shooting, golf, football, whichever are in season. There’s also swimming in the Light, and pigeon flying.

Mr. Oakey, who with his father, Mr. Bar Oakey, runs the local paper, the Junction News, is a keen sportsman himself. He plays cricket.

One of the town’s two cricket teams last season took the premiership of the Lower Gilbert Cricket Association.

Last year too, one of the three men’s bowls teams was top in the Wooroora Association. The football team scored in the Adelaide Plains Association. And there’s a story about that which shows how keen the townsfolk are on their football.

The grand final was played at Mallala, so for those unable to be present, it was decided to send scores straight from the oval.

At half-time the scores were sent off by carrier pigeon! At the finish, supporters raced home with the glad tidings that Hamley had won by four points.

The name Bell has familiar ring in local rifle shooting. No less than six Bells are members – J. H. and three sons, Les, Clarrie and Ron, and A. P. ansd son, Syd. There is also a son-in-law of J. H. who shoots.

Pat Oakey says the turf cricket pitch is believed to be the first laid down in a town outside of Adelaide.

“Last year was a good one for sport,” he said, “but we still talk of one pre-war season – 1938, I think it was – when Hamley Bridge cleaned up everything. Cricket, tennis, bowls, football. We’ll do that again.”

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