Gympie's Ross Chapman to captain Australian over-70s
"THE young blokes weren't getting a fair go," Gympie cricketer Ross Chapman recalls.
So the man who had scored 10 centuries before he left high school, got together with fellow Gympie enthusiasts Max Walters and Craig Whittaker to form Gympie Gold.
Former Gympie Times sports editor Brad Petersen was the team's first captain.
Now, some years on, Chapman is lining up to captain Australia's over-70s team.
"We'll play three one-day intermediate games against a touring England side," he said yesterday.
The matches will take place in Brisbane next week, on Thursday; in Sydney on October 29; and Canberra on November 3.
But before then, he'll be playing for Queensland at Surfers Paradise on Sunday and at Caloundra on Tuesday.
An enthusiastic Gympie cricketer since primary school, Chapman played for Gympie Central against Chatsworth, continuing with Gympie High.
He went to Brisbane to study and played for Norths for seven years, also working during the day and studying for his engineering career at night.
He made the Metropolitan Colts side at 22 and practised with the state squad, before being called up for National Service.
That made study very important, because if he failed even one subject, his studies would be cut short and he would have to join the Army.
That happened soon enough anyway, after his graduation in 1969.
Cricket followed his career and, while working for an engineering consultancy in Charleville, he played cricket there too.
"I became shire engineer in Kilkivan in 1974 and played for Gympie again for almost 10 years.
"I went to Rocky for five years and was shire engineer for Fitzroy Shire.
"By then my kids were in Brisbane and luckily I got the job back here in 1995, effectively as (engineering director) Bob Fredman's deputy.
"Fortunately I've never really stopped playing cricket.
"If you give up at 40 and try to come back at 60 it can be hard."
In some ways, Chapman has lived a lifetime of Gympie and Queensland cricket and helped pioneer seniors cricket nationally.
"You hardly heard of it in 2009, and there were only 14 people with the Queensland side.
"But in Canberra in 2010, Queensland won the Australian championship."
Chapman looks back on a career which includes eight tests for the Australian Over-60s.
He has scored some 50 centuries in about that many years.
And he hasn't finished yet.