MACKAY'S Wally Anderson is believed to be the oldest indoor cricket player in Australia, and he doesn't plan to pull up stumps soon.
Born in 1934, Anderson turned 78 last week and still plays regularly every Thursday night in the master competition for 30-and-over players at Mackay Indoor Sports Arena.
Anderson, a capable wicketkeeper, tight bowler and a solid batsman, is still competitive and is keen to pass on his knowledge.
"It doesn't worry me playing against much younger guys. I can hold my own against them," he said.
He started playing outdoor cricket at nine years of age while at Hermit Park State School in Townsville, where he lived until 1962.
He scored an unbeaten 222 in a 30-over match at the Goldfield Ashes in Charters Towers in the late 1950s. It was the first double century at the tournament in 18 years and, incredibly, his team won by one run, 314 to 313.
Anderson retired from outdoor cricket at the age of 46 because of failing eyesight, but with the encouragement of son Wayne took up indoor cricket in 1986 and hasn't looked back.
He and Wayne set an unusual record when they played together in the world masters in 1990 in the 35-and-over age division, becoming the first father and son in the same team. They returned three years later to play over-40s.
Wally has represented Mackay in indoor cricket for many years and still plays Super League games when he can fit them in.
"It's a very exciting game, much faster than outdoor cricket. It keeps me fit and I enjoy it," he says.
A naturally gifted sportsman, as a younger man Wally won numerous trophies playing cricket, tennis, basketball, golf and indoor cricket.
On the subject of retirement, he says: "I'll keep going as long as I can. Thursday nights suit me fine at the moment. I get a game every week and it doesn't take too long to play."
Teammate Shawn Frerichs, the Mackay Indoor Sports Arena manager, said Wally was very competitive, liked to pass on tips to his teammates and definitely was not the worst player at the centre.
"I just hope I can move around as well as Wally does when I reach his age," Frerichs said.