Palace Cows trio Greg Johnson, Gary Millard and Bevan Henningsen graze on the grass at Slade Park in the run-up to their 20th Australia Day Cricket Carnival.
Palace Cows trio Greg Johnson, Gary Millard and Bevan Henningsen graze on the grass at Slade Park in the run-up to their 20th Australia Day Cricket Carnival. Gerard Walsh

Cows test out the paddock

GARY Millard remembers the training sessions more than the games as he approaches his 20th Australia Day Cricket Carnival with the Palace Cows.

"Our training session is more a catch up at the Palace Hotel on the Friday night before each carnival," Gary said.

"Captain Bevan Henningsen has the tactics worked out, the opening batting positions are not too keenly sought."

Millard is the one player who hasn't missed a carnival since Craig O'Brien formed the team in 1994.

"There were not a lot of volunteers to open the batting against Mark Steketee (Australia under-19) last year," Gary said.

"I am sure he held back a bit but he was still the quickest I have faced, we only have one batting helmet."

He estimates the team has won 15 games out of more than 50.

Bevan Henningsen has been the team organiser for the past decade.

Gary Millard is the only original who hasn't missed a carnival but eight more from the 1994 squad will play this weekend, Greg Johnson, Peter Henningsen, Darryll Millard, Jody McLaren, Paul Barlow, Paul Millard and the O'Brien brothers, Glen and Craig.

Four sons of Cows players are in the team, Alex Barlow, son of Paul; Darcy Bourke, son of Graham; Matt O'Brien, son of Glen; and Ted Humphreys, son of Ian.

Ted and Ian hail from Roma where they play club cricket.

Henningsen said good friendships and a chance to catch up were the reasons the team played each year.

At one carnival in the 1990s, the Cows puts their heads in the grass at Maryvale for the Daily News to take a photo and Johnson was eager to graze this week at their Saturday venue, Slade Park.

Henningsen said Wheatvale wicket-keeper/batsman Chris Malone was their star player.

"We expect him to get more than half our runs," Bevan said.

Michael Donegan, Peter Henningsen, Graham Millward and Malone have all scored centuries with Malone the only multiple century maker

The team once conceded 725 runs in a 50-over game against Originals when Joe Marsh scored a double century.

"That game was on the Queens Park synthetic," Bevan said.

"It was tiring as any ball which passed the boundary just kept going. Joe put plenty balls on the Cowboys roof".

Craig Jeffries has the Cows record for most runs conceded in an over, 38. One of his balls was a no ball which gave the Originals batsmen a seventh.

The Cows have been drawn at Slade Park tomorrow for a rare day at headquarters. They play Doc's XI and Sel's XI tomorrow and Hurricanes Elite and Dad's Army on Sunday at Hamilton Oval. A team reunion dinner will be held on Saturday night at the Palace.



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