“Getting Botham is magic” - Eyers

Jim Eyers, in front of the multisports pavilion at Ball Park, is looking forward to seeing Lord Ian Botham.

Friday, February 4 will be a particularly special day in the history of Corowa Cricket Club with champion England cricketer Lord Ian Botham Kt OBE to officially open Corowa Cricket Club’s multi sports pavilion.

As reported in The Free Press of January 6, the prized wicket of the 66-year-old champion allrounder and captain of England was snared by Corowa cricket president Paul Lavis just before Christmas with negotiations starting mid last year.

“It’s magic – great!” was the reaction to the news by star Corowa cricketer back in the 1960s and 1970s, club Life Member Jim Eyers.

“I heard about it just before Christmas – it must have been by The Free Press Facebook and I said to my wife ‘I reckon it’d be great to get Botham’. I rang Stumpy (Paul Lavis) and said ‘Is it fair dinkum or what?’. Just getting Botham to Corowa would be great, and especially to our cricket club.”

The new $314,000 multisports pavilion is described by Jim as “an absolutely magnificent complex”, adding “the oval’s boundary fence looks great and the oval itself is a picture.”

Recalling the ‘building for cricketers at Ball Park in his playing days, Jim said: “There was a little hut attached to the swimming pool building, where afternoon tea was served by the wives, partners or girlfriends of cricketers. We’d arrive in our whites for the game and leave in our whites for a drink in town.”

Ball Park’s brand new sports pavilion provides all the amenities required of players and supporters, including a kitchen, changerooms and gathering area, and undercover outside viewing area.

Cricket statistics such as batting and bowling figures were not kept in Jim’s playing days but the medium pace opening swing bowler must have taken plenty of wickets because he was selected in representative cricket at both junior and senior levels.

“I’d like to say as I was ‘fast’! he said. “But ‘medium fast’ was correct. I never played on turf – the turf wicket at John Foord Oval was dug up. I helped put in the turf wicket here (Ball Park).

“I have a lot of fond memories, including the day when Corowa beat Rutherglen in the junior cricket grand-final 1965/66 – I bought all the kids a milkshake after the game.”

Corowa premiership captain David Lane played a few seasons alongside Jim. “He was a very good medium pace swing bowler,” Lane said.

“I’m rapt the club has got Ian Botham – it’s just great for the town, there’s been no bigger sports name to come to Corowa.

“Sometimes I think our president’s on another planet but to pull this one off was great work on his part.”

President Paul praised the playing ability and support of Jim. Saying: “He was obviously a good bowler. He comes down here and watches us play every Saturday.”

A Corowa man all his life, 72-year-old Jim also played senior football, for Corowa Spiders, in the ruck in his just over 100 games career from 1965 to 1974. “I was a six-foot ruckman – short by today’s standards,” he said.

But Jim made his mark in both cricket and football circles, and is so keen to be at Ball Park for the Friday evening with Lord Ian.

Friday January 4th’s evening will commence at 6.30pm for 7.00pm in a casual atmosphere of food platters, and drinks at bar prices.

Tickets are limited and cost $75 per person which includes food and a commemorative stubbie holder. Tickets can be purchased online from Corowa Cricket Club Facebook or from Corowa Sportspower in Sanger Street Corowa.