Loyal Occasionals and Ipswich vigoro player Heather Brooker will always be remembered for her positive influence on teaching and sport. Picture: Kate Czerny
Loyal Occasionals and Ipswich vigoro player Heather Brooker will always be remembered for her positive influence on teaching and sport. Picture: Kate Czerny

Precious memories: OK to laugh, win ‘for Heather’

AFTER the painful loss of a good friend and highly regarded club stalwart, the Occasionals players can finally share a joke and laugh again.

That's exactly what one of Ipswich's most popular and successful vigoro players Heather Brooker would have wanted.

Heather sadly passed away on September 9 after a two and a half year battle with ovarian cancer.

She was a former state player and valuable member of Occasionals' previous premiership successes.

Heather, a dedicated school teacher, also captained Ipswich teams at state titles being a fine leader.

Her passing had a massive impact on the Ipswich vigoro community, especially at Occasionals, where she inspired so many people.

Current Occasionals vice-captain Melinda Park was a close friend of the always smiling, beautifully natured Heather.

Still emotional hearing Heather's name, Park summed up the team's feelings this season.

"We are back having a laugh,'' Park said.

"It's been a heavy couple of years but the camaraderie certainly never faded.

"It seems okay to enjoy being out there again and having a joke with each other.

"At Occasionals (after the difficult time), you have to be able to have fun and that's when we relax and that's when we play well.''

That's exactly what the competition leading Occasionals first division side has done with Heather in their thoughts.

"The team's going really well,'' Park said.

"We're gelling really well and some young girls are coming up nicely.

"It's really refreshing.''

After their only loss so far to TC United, Occasionals returned to winning form on Saturday, beating Wildcats outright.

Sisters Deanne Lawrie (30) and Karen Devin (11) led the way with the bat.

Bowler to watch Gillian Chambers shattered Wildcats hopes taking 5/5 in the first innings.

"She's just coming along in leaps and bounds,'' Park said.

"She's a really talented player and just finding her way with the team and really gelling with everyone this year.''

Another key acquisition is Kelly O'Doherty, from Sports. She has taken on wicketkeeping duties.

Park was unwell and unable to play on Saturday at the East Ipswich grounds.

However, she said having younger players performing consistently was particularly pleasing after the retirement of representative bowler Naomi Schaper and dealing with Heather's recent passing.

Occasionals player Heather Brooker in full flight, tormenting opposing bowlers at whatever level she played.
Occasionals player Heather Brooker in full flight, tormenting opposing bowlers at whatever level she played.

Ipswich vigoro officials and players held a minute's silence for Heather at the start of the season.

They also named Heather the first player in the association's 90th anniversary team. Heather received her medallion on her 50th birthday, just days before she passed.

The players joining Heather in the illustrious honorary side will be revealed at the association's special function on November 28.

During a difficult time, Park said a lighter moment was recalling Heather's "Book of Times'', in reference to how often she featured in past Queensland Times articles and photos.

She deserved her high profile for her countless achievements, always accepted humbly.

With Heather still very much in her team's thoughts, Park said Occasionals were determined to finish stronger this season after two lean years following four premiership successes in a row.

Heather's influence extended beyond the Ipswich borders.

She was a dedicated sports teacher at Kelvin Grove State College for almost 30 years.

The College preserved her legacy by naming their recently opened, world class stadium in her honour.


Ipswich Vigoro Association results November 7.

1st Division: Occasionals 56 & 20 defeated Wildcats 20 & 53 outright.

Occasionals batting: Deanne Lawrie 30, Karen Devin 11.

Bowling: Gillian Chambers 5/5 & 2/15, Deanne Lawrie 3/10, Jess Fox 3/10 & 1/3.

Wildcats batting: Marie Dennis 14, Fletcher Baartz 9 not out.

Bowling: Ashlee Verrall 3/9, Kerryn Graham 2/18 & four run outs.

Sports 59 & 44 defeated T.C. United 40 & 39 on the 1st innings by 19 runs (game result on 1st innings due to time).

Sports batting: Megan Packer 15 & 15 not out, Lee Scudds 15, Yasmin Leeder 11.

Bowling: Kassy Stephans 4/14 & 1/11, Tania Whyatt 3/5 & one r/out; Cassidy Hammond 2/4 and one r/out.

T.C. United batting: Jodie Spall 15 & 17, Clare Gillett 10.

Bowling: Anne-Maree Herman 3/13, Jodie Spall 4/26, Shannon Brackin 3/24.

2nd Division: Wildcats 84 & 11 defeated Occasionals 33 & 60 outright.

Wildcats batting: Rebecca Baartz 29 not out, Daniel Kruger 15, Bailey Whyte 8 not out, Zanden Baartz 8.

Bowling: Elaine Addo 3/5 & 4/16, Fletcher Baartz 5/17, Daniel Kruger 2/5.

Occasionals batting: Trey Darr 24 & 9.

Bowling: Trey Darr 3/8, Zoe Hislop 3/18.

Sports 88 defeated T.C. United 19 & 62 by innings & seven runs.

Sports batting: Kristy Johnston 39, Emma Buchanan 16.

Bowling: Cassidy Hammond 5 /7 & 3/10, Taurice Anderson 4/9.

T.C. United batting: Tylar Mathers 14, Pauline Marsh 11.

Bowling: Dana Hayward 5/35.

Juniors: Sports 59 & 48 defeated Occasionals 55 & 30 outright.

Sports batting: Dash Anderson 20ret & 20ret, Addison Costello 18ret,

Bailey Whyatt 11ret. Bowling: Dash Anderson 2/10.

Occasionals batting: Hayden Collie 15 & 11, Jorja Collie 14, Joanne

Harding 8. Bowling: Lucas Darr 2/8, Jorja Collie 2/1.

Wildcats Gold 52 & 51 defeated T.C.United 22 & 29 outright.

Wildcats Gold batting: Dan Kruger 19 not out, Beth Ruby 18 not out, Jasmin Savage 16 not out.

Bowling: Lucas Kruger 2/7 & 1/4, Abby Pitcairn 2/11, Beth Ruby 1/2.

T.C. United batting: Phoebe Dewson 8, Charlie Mathers 6, Hayley Briggenshaw 4.

Bowling: Charlie Mathers 3/4, Harry Dewson 1/2.