Queenstown’s fun-loving, beer-drinking, pie-eating cricket mavericks the Pelicans are entering a serious new league.
Members of the Central Queenstown Pelicans – famed for their colourful contribution to Mountain Scene’s annual Twenty/20 series – have joined forces with Arrowtown players to enter the Central Otago Scurr Cup Twenty/20 competition.
The new team is being called Slopehill – the mid-point between Arrow-town and Queenstown.
Slopehill team spokesman Brad Patterson says the reason for forming the side is to give guys who don’t have time for weekly practice sessions the chance to get out and play.
“Queenstown’s a seven-day-a-week town. You’ve got guys that are builders and work till 7pm because of daylight hours – it’s just not practical.
“There’s a few guys who aren’t actively playing cricket because you have to practise on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make the senior cricket team.
“This [new team] gives guys the opportunity to play without the drawback of having to train,” Patterson says.
Slopehill’s team roster has about 20-25 players who are infused with a Pelican-like ethos – the team uniform is white shirts and rugby shorts, whilst drinking during matches is acceptable if not encouraged.
To that end, Speights Traverse have jumped on board with sponsorship. Patterson hopes the low-carb beer will do wonders for his side’s fitness levels but admits they could be a bit hit-and-miss.
“One week we could field a team with a heap of guys who’ve played lots of cricket – and the next week, we’ll have a team who haven’t played bugger-all.
“Don’t get me wrong, you don’t enter to lose. And we’ve got some good cricketers but let’s be honest – if you’re not training, you’re not going to have your eye in.
“But we certainly don’t want to be like the Black Caps and get whipped four-zip.”
Slopehill is affiliated to Queenstown Cricket Club to allow it to enter without the cost of setting up its own club.
Queenstown Cricket Club president Ian Paterson – no relation to Brad – is happy with the arrangement, saying it allows former players with work and family commitments to return to the crease.
“I’m delighted to get guys back that are past playing club cricket.
“They’re happy to give up three or four hours a day,” Paterson says.
“When we play our 50-over stuff, guys have to commit to being away from 11am-9pm and those that have families can’t do that.”
Other teams in the Scurr Cup are Cromwell, Wanaka’s Albion, Dunstan and Blacks Hill, a combined Poolburn and Omakau side.
Last year’s winner Alexandra isn’t fielding a Twenty/20 side this season.