NOT OUT: Mundubbera 7-a-side Cricket Association president John Burns says his innings is coming to a close.
NOT OUT: Mundubbera 7-a-side Cricket Association president John Burns says his innings is coming to a close. Katherine Kokkonen

Burns' lengthy vigil at the crease draws to a close

AS A fit, lean 22-year-old, John Burns was present at that fateful Mundubbera Cricket Association meeting, about 35-and-a-half years ago, where the idea for a 7-a-side cricket carnival was born.

His father-in-law was Barry Holznagel, one of the "famous five”, alongside Neil Owen, Danny Whelan, Peter Zipf and Terry Harris, who dreamed up the much-loved competition.

Mr Burns has been there every year since, either as volunteer or president, even 2013, when the carnival was completely washed out by the Australia Day floods, so for him, the rain on Sunday night was little more than a bit of "mist”.

"It was nothing really, but under the lights it looked like it was pouring,” Mr Burns said.

However, after a lengthy stay at the crease, including about 20 years as president of the Mundubbera 7-a-side Cricket Association, he feels as though his innings is drawing to a close.

"I'm running out of puff, we are all getting older,” he said.

"I've been thinking for the past couple of years that I've probably been there too long.

"We need some new ideas to spruce (the carnival) up.

"We made some pretty fair money (last) weekend, considering five or six years ago we had 50 or 60 teams and this year we had 31.

"You've still got to put the same effort in whether you have 60 or 20 teams.”

Back in the day, Mr Burns was a bowling all-rounder, although he gave the game up at around 25.

On Sunday he did, however, reprise his former glory, playing for the Gerihatricks in the over-40s division.

"A good mate of mine moved to New South Wales and I said I'll play when he finally comes home and blow me down, he came home,” he said.

"I couldn't go back on my word.”

His two games for the Gerihatricks were just part of what would prove to be an eventful day for Mr Burns, who was on-call for Energex.

He received two call-outs during the day, spending about seven hours working for Energex on top of playing cricket and doing all the other things necessary to run a successful carnival.

He says he got home around midnight.

"It was a rather big day, I am feeling it today,” Mr Burns said.

While he will serve out his term as president until later in the year, and will be on hand next year to volunteer at the carnival with umpiring and the like, he says it is time for a new president.

"If 7-a-side is to continue strong, we need a new president and new volunteers, we are all getting old,” he said.


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