Although not named the Fruitbats we kicked off in 2003. A team of recently retired Hervey Bay Bombers and not so recently retired locals played three games against Brisbane teams, two at Maroochydore and one at home. Organised by the legendary Bruce Steenson, this motley crew won all three games. In the photo below is 'The Originals', Nick Baker, Scott Staunton, Grant Staunton, Shaun Rudd, Steve Van Kalken, Neil Lesmond, Brett Turner, Ken Hamilton, Rob, John Way, Danny Niciauskas, Trevor Watts, Otto Van Theurel, Mick Gay, Dano, Gerard Devereaux and Col O'Brien. Dano was the original Batboy who used to collect $2 off everyone and return with a beer. Good lad! Other 'Originals' were Anthony Stothard, Brian Bartels,Darren Oxley, Dennis Phelps and Fred Scown.
Emboldened by such success we entered a team in the Over 35s Brisbane Masters Competition.
Bus trips proved to be popular!
The Torquay Hotel bus was a winner
After much discussion, and despite Doc's misgivings about using the term 'fruit', the Hervey Bay Fruitbats were born. We got ourself a club shirt and designed our own jumper, (with more than a little help from our team graphic designer, Russell Watts). Red and black came from the Hervey Bay Bombers, where most of us had played, and the green from the Seahawks. Seahawks were the original Hervey Bay team with Grant and Scott Staunton and Col O'Brien being playing members.
Lost to Sunny Coast 13.9.87 to 4.6.30
Lost to Easts 17.18 to 7.3.45
Lost to Centrals 11.9.75 to 9.5.59 Our first home game
Winners v Souths 8.13.61 to 4.7.31 Phelpsy finally kicked straight!
Def. Redlands 11.16.82 to 10.7.67
Def Gold Coast at home 6.10.46 to 6.7.43
Def Sunny Coast at home 13.5.83 to 8.5.53
Lost to Centrals 15.5.95 to 7.7.49
Lost to Sunny Coast 12.18.90 to 5.5.35 They came prepared this time
Lost to Coolangatta 13.5.83 to 7.9.51
Wins also came off the field. Fred Scown was awarded the League's Best & Fairest. game. Our 'Brownlow Bat' was born! Grant Staunton won our Club B&F, which was based on Coaches votes submitted to the League. A special award was created -the 'Grumpy Old Man'. Cold Sard and Gerard Devereaux were worthy winners.
Benda and Serge photobombing before it became a thing. Tracey keeping an eye on Benda.
Dingbat ready for work
Brownlow appealing for a vote!
We even had a Presentation Day!
Grumpy Col Sard
More photos to come when I can source them
A very successful year for the Bats on and off the field. The MAFQ recognised our fine organisational abilities, with Trevor Watts being awarded the MAFQ Superman Award. This annual award is presented to a MAFQ member who has made a significant contribution to Masters football in QLD. Obviously a team effort, and this was acknowledged with the Fruitbats being awarded 'Team of the Year'. This is an award given to clubs based on their hospitality and 'Footy for Fun' spirit. Our chook raffles no doubt put us over the line! Grant Staunton made it two from two for the Bats winning the League Best & Fairest, and managed to besent off for dissent. Stauno was only trying to help.
For the second year running Grant Staunton was awarded Club B&F by the League with a runaway 51 points. In second spot was Darren Oxley on 33, with Bernie Smead in third place on 11 votes. MAFQ decided to abandon League and Club votes as it attempted to take some competitiveness out of the games. It was also obvious that we were going to win again.
Peter 'Serge' Irwin, Richie Cates, Darrel Leech and Danny Niciauskas jetted known to Adelaide to compete in the National Carnival. Anthony Stothard was a late withdrawal due to calf soreness. Leechy looked after his body for the week and came home an All-Australian.
To top off a great year Col 'Elbows' O'Brien was inducted into the 'Grumpy Old Man' Hall of Fame. Richie Cates collected the 'Rudolph Nureyev Award' in recognition of grace and charm on the football field. Cobby collected the 'Bring back the Biff" Award. Say no more.
A record thirty-three players on the roster - and that is not counting Buckets, Victor and Co. who helped us out when short of numbers on away games. Six wins and seven nearly-wins was our best season so far result wise.
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