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2014 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Chairperson’s School Award

Edwards Property Mentorship Award

Ipswich Theme Awards

Chair’s Encouragement Awards

Rosewood Green Award – Open Age Local Poets

Dementia, the Demon with a Sneeze by Ingrid Mason (First Prize)

Happiness by Kenneth Weaver (Second Prize)

A Survey of Community Fireworks by Scott Thouard (Third Prize)

The Backyard Brothers by Marcus Richardson (Highly Commended)

They gathered at the weld-mesh fence, the suburban boundary line
to observe the backyard brothers in the middle.
The washing waved at a mother who had left the ‘Hills’ behind
and joined the crowd confounded by the riddle.

“What’s the score?” she whispered, to her son who looked bemused.
“The elder retired – none for a hundred and four!”
“The younger?” she enquired, joining the neighbourhood confused.
“He’s a run short and he can only face one more!”

As backyard tests would have it, dinner time meant end of play.
The stewing steak and fading light could mire
the unlikely journey of the younger, would he have his day?
And lift the older brother’s curse he so desired. 

It was spring, nineteen eighty five, two brothers had a bet.
Two brothers backed their talent to a win,
on a wicket with an incline and a rabid bindii threat,
hemmed in by fielding flora and a bin.

It was concrete where the dog lay, conveniently scratched
on the wicket where a savvy bowler placed
a nippy little delivery, simply impossible to dispatch,
unless you’re batting bravely with your face.

With the dog abetting bouncers for those bowling slick
with a half insulated tennis ball – taped.
The ball could swing with fortunes, glorifying the quick
or tear away the hopes a batsman shaped.

So the elder won the batting rights by sharply yelling, “Flats!”
At a coiling bat the younger had set-a-spin.
Through the air while hoping, praying that the twirly, twisty bat 
would land on ‘hills’, just to give a win.

The elder grabbed the bat and faced, the younger had the ball,
no advantage held before the start of play.
The footfalls of the bowler signalled the umpire’s call,
the backyard test was finally underway.

As the younger ran into bowl, a thousand times rehearsed,
he faced the broader burden of the two.
He charged in fully laden with the older brother’s curse.
He always won, that’s what older brothers do!

He screamed and lunged determined as the ball left his hand.
Hopeful his older brother would be trapped
by a delivery that’s only purpose was to find a place to land,
so that it could be arrogantly slapped,

By the elder to the fence with the biggest runs to yield.
Over the bowler’s head, no run required.
“Six!” he screamed smugly, as the younger ran to field
the tatters of a sporting wish expired.

The younger bowled another and it was whipped away
and another and another, then repeated.
Footfalls, grunts and “Six!” became a pattern in the play,
the dreams of sporting glory soon depleted.

The elder waltzed into the nineties, his tally screamed,
Neighbours’ kids gathered hearing the score.
“Ninety two!” Thwack! Then, “Ninety eight!” he beamed.
Thwack again! “None-fa’ a hundred and four!”

The elder raised his bat up for the hundred he prepared, 
as he’d done a hundred times, a winner.
He looked up at the fading light, “I think I should declare,
I’ll bowl ya’ out before we go ta’ dinner.

Ya’ no hope of winnin’, ya bowl better than ya’ bat.
The neighbours are all watchin’ ta’ see
me bounce holes in ya’ head with this ball and after that
they’ll see the only winna’ here is me!”

The younger faced up gingerly, looking at the yard.
Fielding trees menaced with their greed.
Hitting one on the full was out and even that was hard,
the ‘thwack’ of bat and ball not guaranteed.

The first ball was a puff of dust and a wallop on the head.
Again, the dog and he won bragging rights.
The second bowled him neatly, “One-fa’ none – ya’ dead!
Eleven wickets comin’ without a fight!”

The elder pranced for the neighbours, as he was prone to do,
when he had his little brother on the skids.
The younger faced a torrent as he ducked around a few
that nearly ripped the lashes from his lids.

The ball took his wickets when it wasn’t around his ears
“Five-fa’ none, you are the king of nought!”
The younger had enough, he would swing away the fear
and get a run or two from the onslaught.

He missed slashing at the next, it clipped him on the chops,
and ran away down ‘leg’ towards the front.
He then darted like a dingo with a rabbit on the hop,
off the mark with a browbeaten bunt!

The younger dodged the bindiis, as the elder chased the ball.
In every stride the younger eagerly poured
all the scamper he could muster in this backyard cricket brawl,
to take three runs, he was on the board! 

“Ya five fa three ya knucklhead!’ The elder slowly growled.
‘Ya gone now, they’re gonna come quick!”
And they did, the bowling blistered as the elder prowled
and he took three more with a hat trick.

Dad walked out the back, “Boys, ya dinners nearly done.
You’ve only got time to bowl four more.”
Two more wickets tumbled, ten wickets for three runs,
the last surviving batsman yet to score.

The elder thought he’d wrap it with a bouncer for some fun,
then with his last, take the final wicket.
He drove it at the dust like it had been fired from a gun.
The younger was no hope to pick it.

So he closed his eyes and hooked with the greatest of belief,
the ball taking an edge from the swat
of his wildly swinging bat, the joy of connecting no relief,
the journey towards a tree was all it got. 

The ginormous Jacaranda tree, standing silently at mid-off,
the elder cheered at another wicket receding.
The ball just kept on climbing and the cheer became a scoff,
Mother-nature butt in on the proceedings.

A gust of wind patted the younger brother on the back,
as it bent the utmost branches on their side.
The Jacaranda bowed at the climbing ball’s tack 
and cleared all its foliage for its ride.

It skimmed off the backboard of the basketball hoop,
mounted on the gable of the shed.
The elder watched in horror as the ball gently ‘shlooped’
through the ring to fuel a pending dread.

Both boys looked to Dad, who gave a solemn nod, 
the younger stood politely stunned.
The elder stood indignant, for the unlikeliest of prods
gave his little brother a hundred runs.

A hundred runs written in the backyard cricket lore,
a hundred if you get it through the ring.
The younger was in territory not tip toed in before,
he raised his bat to join cricket’s kings.

“Ten-fa’ a hundred and three!” he was brooding and terse. 
The elder steamed at the top of his run 
and charged in fully laden with the older brother’s curse,
he was the older brother, older brothers won.

The final ball whistled and swung with a fury twice as hot,
pitched to claim the crown of backyard brothers. 
This time the younger saw it and leant well into the shot,
he belted it with grace through the covers.

The dingo inside him fired as he exploded to run two,
having never held the joy of feeling trumps.
The elder fielded the ball and turned and blindly threw
towards the younger returning to his stumps.

He crossed as the stumps shattered and the elder cried,
“You’re out! Ya’ knew you’d never beat me!”
They both turned to their father, unbiased and dignified,
“He’s not out,” was the closing decree.

• 

Two brothers sat to dinner with stewed steak on the plate,
backyard brothers tamed for eating dinner.
The elder hacked bitterly, each mouthful painful that he ate.
Across from him the younger smiled, a winner.

Flat-headed Catfish by Brett Dionysius (Highly Commended)

My Mother Sewed for Me by Wendy Davies (Highly Commended)

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Award – Open Age Other Poetry

Metro Hotel Ipswich International Award – Open Age Bush Poetry

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

Broderick Family Award – 11-13 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years