Lai­d­ley linch­pin reaches 200

Sip­pel nearly gave the game away

Gatton Star - - SPORT - David Lems david.lems@qt.com.au

CRICKET: Lai­d­ley linch­pin Mick Sip­pel was late to his 200th mile­stone game due to work.

How­ever, he was happy to re­flect on his re­mark­able achieve­ment af­ter watch­ing his brother Ger­ard guide Lai­d­ley to vic­tory, se­cur­ing the Blue­dogs a spot in next month’s Hard­ing-mad­sen Shield semi-fi­nals.

“I’m def­i­nitely proud,” said Sip­pel, who turned 43 on Thurs­day.

“A lot of the guys drove from Ip­swich to come up to Toowoomba last night. That’s what our club has al­ways been built on; not nec­es­sar­ily in­di­vid­ual mile­stones but if some­one has their mile­stone, ev­ery­one comes in and cel­e­brates.

“You feel pretty spe­cial (to play 200 games in the Ip­swich and West More­ton com­pe­ti­tion).

“I didn’t go out to achieve that. If you play long enough, these things hap­pen.”

How­ever, Sip­pel nearly did not be­come one of Lai­d­ley and the Ip­swich com­pe­ti­tion’s lead­ing all-rounders.

Af­ter 10 years driv­ing reg­u­larly from Gat­ton to Bris­bane to play for Souths, Sip­pel al­most gave the game away.

“I was sick of the travel and all the rest of it,” he said, also work­ing at Stan­thorpe at the time.

“Ba­si­cally, I pulled the pin down there (Souths) and I didn’t think I’d play cricket again.”

Thank­fully for Lai­d­ley and ev­ery­one who en­joys watch­ing the stylish left-handed mas­ter blaster play, he chose to con­tinue in the 2002/2003 sea­son.

He has since dis­played tre­men­dous loy­alty to Lai­d­ley, scor­ing more than 9300 runs at a healthy av­er­age of 54. That in­cluded 20 hun­dreds, 56 fifties and a high­est score of 261 against Swifts in 2015.

Sip­pel rates an­other dou­ble ton among his favourites. He scored 220 for Lai­d­ley in the 2005 grand fi­nal, bat­ting with Peter Wood for nearly a whole day to help his team beat Broth­ers.

Be­fore join­ing Lai­d­ley, Sip­pel also made a half cen­tury play­ing for Queens­land against a tour­ing Pak­istan side fea­tur­ing Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram.

Al­though he does not bowl much any more, Sip­pel also has ter­rific ca­reer fig­ures in the IWMCA com­pe­ti­tion. He has taken 466 wick­ets at an av­er­age of 14.46, in­clud­ing 20 five wicket-in­ning hauls and a best of 9/28 against East­ern Raiders in 2006.

Sip­pel said that was hugely en­joy­able es­pe­cially af­ter Lai­d­ley did not post a big score and qual­ity duo Brian May and An­drew Walsh had the Raiders well on the way to vic­tory at stumps on the first day.

How­ever, when play re­sumed the next week, Sip­pel de­stroyed Raiders with his swing and seam bowl­ing, se­cur­ing a stun­ning vic­tory for Lai­d­ley.

Sip­pel took charge with the ball when join­ing Lai­d­ley only af­ter not be­ing con­sid­ered a bowler with Souths who had play­ers such as in­ter­na­tional Andy Bichel.

“Part of me wished I would have de­vel­oped it a lot ear­lier when I was play­ing in Bris­bane,” Sip­pel said.

“I think I would have played a lot more higher level of cricket if I would have bowled as well as I did later on.”

On Satur­day, Lai­d­ley cruised to 2/137 off 25 overs, af­ter dis­miss­ing South­ern Dis­tricts for 136 in 37 overs.

Sip­pel scored 17 bat­ting at num­ber three.

He was pleased to see his brother fin­ish with 68 not out, in­clud­ing 13 fours and a six.

Such fam­ily and club spirit is why Sip­pel has en­joyed his time at Lai­d­ley.

“I’m hon­oured,” the life mem­ber said. “I’ve given a bit back to the club but geez it’s come back to me 10-fold.

“I wouldn’t be any­thing with­out this cricket club. All my friends, all our wives, part­ners, our kids all grow­ing up to­gether... it’s amaz­ing to be part of a good cricket club.”

Sip­pel said play­ing for Lai­d­ley pro­vided im­mense sat­is­fac­tion.

“The town looks out for its cricket team and wants to know how we go all the time,” he said.

I’ve given a bit back to the club but geez it’s come back to me 10-fold

— Mick Sip­pel

PHOTO: CLAU­DIA BAX­TER

STAL­WART: Mick Sip­pel clocked up 200 games for Lai­d­ley on the week­end.

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