Harness drivers hit the Ipswich competition for six

24 May 2021 | Jordan Gerrans

Known more so for driving winners around Albion Park, a group of cricket keen Queensland reinsmen have turned to taking wickets and smashing sixes.

Led by Brendan Barnes, Hayden Barnes, Al Barnes, Justin Elkins, Matt Elkins, Ben Battle, Matt Crone and Brad Bowman, a harness racing industry inspired team recently claimed the Last Man Stands competition at Ipswich.

LMS is a two hour, eight-a-side, T20 cricket game for all abilities and is played in cricket grounds globally, in distinctive coloured kits and is described as the world’s largest and widest-reaching amateur cricket league.

Playing under the team name the "Masterbatters", the trots lads won their recent grand final by six runs to a team named the 47ers – with Bowman rewarded with player of the match honours.

Bowman was the star with the ball in hand, taking five wickets for just 20 runs in just over three overs.

While they are competitive around Albion Park and Redcliffe, playing in the social cricket competition has brought many of the drivers together.

“It is good to do something together outside of the horses,” opening batsman Hayden Barnes said.

“We can go out there, have some fun and have a few beers after the cricket games.

“It is good, we decided to play to have a muck around and have some fun, but once we won a few games, we thought we could actually win the grand final.

“When we won the grand final, everyone was excited and yelling.”

Matt Crone, Justin Elkins, Matt Elkins and Hayden Barnes all had cricket experience previously in their life before joining the team.

“A few of us played cricket when we were younger and this is a good competition in Ipswich, it is only two hours on a Sunday, so we thought we would get involved,” Hayden Barnes said.

“A few of the guys were keen, we put together a team and away we went.

“The competition is really helpful towards us too, if we have the races on Sunday, they will work our game times around the races so we can still fulfil the fixture.”

Hayden had not played since he was 13 years of age before the LMS tournament, but was pleased with the way he struck them, making an unbeaten 50 from 37 balls in the final.

“In the last three games, I got 50 in all of them, which was really good,” he said.

LMS play a winter and summer season at Ipswich, with the trots boys winning the summer grand final, and will now have a spell over the winter months across the busy carnival period of the harness calendar.


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