World cricket royalty at Ball Park

Champion allrounder Ian Botham.

Champion England cricketer Lord Ian Botham Kt OBE will officially open Corowa Cricket Club’s multi sports pavilion on Friday, February 5.

“There’s no bigger sports name ever to visit Corowa,” Corowa Cricket Club President Paul Lavis told The Free Press.

For 15 years, from 1977 to 1992, the world class cricket allrounder played 102 Test Matches, made 5200 runs at an average of 33.54 with a highest score of 208, and took 383 wickets at 28.40 with 8/34 his best figures.

Botham became only the second player in Test history to achieve the ‘match double’ of making 100 runs and taking 10 wickets in the same match. Against India in 1980, he captured 13 wickets (six and seven) and made 114 runs out of 296, in a match England won by 10 wickets thanks largely to Sir Ian.

One of England’s greatest Test plyers, the now 66-year-old captained England in 12 Tests over two years in 1980 and 1981.

In 1992, Ian Botham was appointed an Office of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to cricket and for his charity work, which involved several long fundraising walks for child leukaemia research, hence the title Sir Ian Botham. ‘Sir Ian’ became ‘Lord Ian’ in 2020 after being awarded peerage, joining the House of Lords and sits as a crossbench (independent) peer.

The new multi sports pavilion at Ball Park’s home of cricket was constructed by local builder and multi cricket premiership captain David Lane. It was first used at the start of the 2020/21 season.

Efforts to have the pavilion officially opened have fallen through due to Covid-19. But what a catch with Lord Ian! Luring the great man to officially open the $314,600 pavilion – largely funded through the 2019 NSW Government Stronger Country Communities Program - was the work of the Corowa Cricket Club President.

Club secretary Shane Norman praised the work of his president, who took 372 A Grade wickets for Corowa, in getting the prized wicket.

“After having Merv Hughes last February, Paul wanted someone big and when he found out Ian was going to be in Australia, he tried his luck and his hard work has paid off in getting Ian to Corowa,” the secretary said.

According to records maintained since 1985, Lavis is the third highest wicket-taker for The Roos, behind Rod (Rocket) Lane who claimed 384 wickets in addition to his 150 with Carlton, and, in top place, Rod Gulliver with 387.

Eight-time A Grade premiership player Paul Miegel said Corowa Cricket Club is thrilled that the legendary English cricketer, Lord Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham will be a special guest at the official opening of the multisports pavilion at Ball Park.

“Our president Paul made contact with Lord Ian via his manager and, as luck would have it, Lord Ian only had two dates available in his busy schedule as commentator for the current Ashes series as well as other media and corporate commitments,” Miegel said.

Batting against Australia, Ian Botham hits the ball over the mid-wicket for six.

“One of these was the 5th of Feb and, after careful negotiations, he is confirmed to attend and share a few of his experiences.

“To celebrate the official opening of a fantastic new pavilion at one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the region, with one of the true greats of the game, is very special and an opportunity for locals to hear someone of Lord Ian’s calibre.”

The 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 form Corowa Cricket Club Facebook or from Corowa Sportspower in Sanger Street Corowa.

The club’s most picturesque setting, with magnificently maintained cricket oval, has been substantially upgraded in recent times with boundary fencing. The oval will house the crowd on February 5. And of course, there’s the impressive new pavilion!

Flashback to April 2020, with Roos’ president Paul Lavis welcoming the NSW Government grant to build the multisports pavilion at Ball Park.