Truckie enjoys 'Ashes glory'
SMALL-FLEET owner and handy cricketer Shane Haydon enjoyed "Ashes glory" when he scored two half-centuries.
Now, before readers get excited and think I am talking about the Ashes Test series or 50-overs-a-side one-day matches between Australia and England, that isn't the case.
Shane was an integral member of the Weipa Crocs team that competed at the 2018 Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival held at Charters Towers during the Australia Day long weekend.
This is the biggest carnival for number of teams in the southern hemisphere and possibly the world, with one in India sometimes bigger.
A record 240 teams contested the January 26-28 Ashes series in one women's and four men's divisions, on 79 pitches throughout the city, with some on private property.
The carnival started in 1948 with just six men's teams and through the decades thousands of truckies and road transport workers have been players or supporters.
Having said that, some interstate truck drivers who stopped at the Gold City Roadhouse on the western side of the Flinders Highway asked why so many cricket games were in progress.
The 35-year-old Shane runs six UD Nissan trucks that deliver LPG and has been a truckie for 11 years, employing five drivers as well as support staff.
His company name is Haydon Enterprises.
Big Rigs spoke to Shane on January 27, which was day two, as he was about to stride to the crease to open the batting for the Crocs.
Tall right-hander Shane has made some good scores through the years and 2018 was no exception.
Weipa Crocs won two of their three Ashes matches and Shane scored half- centuries on day one and three after opening the batting.
He smashed several "Tom Mixes" or sixes and boundaries (fours) and loves meeting people at the Ashes.
"Some I only see once a year here at the Ashes," he said.
Weipa Crocs captain Aaron Johnson said Shane was an important player because of his batting and fielding skills.
"Shane certainly hits the ball well and most times gets us off to a good start," Aaron said.
In the few minutes before Shane strode to the crease, I yarned to him about the road transport industry.
He rates the Bruce Highway between Townsville and Mackay as among the worst he travels on.
"It is very rough in places and you need to be careful," he said.
His favourite roadhouse is at Bloomsbury, which is beside the Bruce Highway in the Mackay district.
Outside work, Shane likes fishing on the Great Barrier Reef and manages to catch some prized delicacies.
I first met Shane, who had been a miner at Moranbah in central Queensland, in 2008 when he was delivering gas in a leased Volvo FL250.
A Brisbane Broncos supporter in the NRL, Shane is passionate about the future of the road transport industry.
On a nearby field I saw truck driver Gary Stout, who was barracking for the Mingela XI in the B-2 grade.
Gary has driven medium rigid trucks for many years and has also worked at remote stations.
In his heyday, the still super-fit Gary was a more than handy cricketer.
"I am aged over 50 and these days go to the Ashes and don't play as it is just so hot in the tropics," he said.
His sons Bradley and Anthony both scored 50 for Mingela XI in the B-2 division and his nephew Mick Prien also hit a half-century.
Bradley Stout is a talented north Queensland cricketer who has played A-grade fixtures in both the Townsville and Cairns and Districts A-grade competitions.
All-rounder Bradley has also represented Queensland in the annual Imparja Cup carnival, played each February at Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Day two Ashes games were under the Twenty/20 format and later in the afternoon Bradley was in the Invitational XI that met a Queensland Bulls Masters team.
That was before a large crowd at the Goldfield Sporting Complex, which is the headquarters of the Ashes.
Bradley top scored for the Invitational XI against a Bulls teams that included former Queensland Shield representatives Stuart Law and Jimmy Maher, as well as legendary Brisbane Broncos rugby league footballers Allan Langer and Andrew Gee.
I also did a tour of the grounds and drove 13km out to Drinkastubbie Downs, which is on the Charters Towers weir route.
This is a private ground owned by the Hutchings family and their team is Chad's Champs.
You can meet many interesting characters at Drinkastubbie Downs, where many of the players camp overnight and enjoy a coldie or 10.
David said he loved getting his photo taken behind the Drinkastubbie Downs sign, as his daughter and son did several years ago.