Ian commenced his playing career as an off-spinning all-rounder with the Paracombe Cricket Club in South Australia's Adelaide Hills in 1966, those matches being played on coir matting stretched over concrete. His busiest playing years were in Sydney in the 1970s for he often took the field for two teams on the same day, one in the morning and the other the afternoon. Ian's afternoon club was Brush Farm which was part of a competition based around the Eastwood area in Sydney, after he which he spent a couple of seasons with the Merrylands club. Some of the latter's games were played on an aluminium pitch which consisted of interlinking 250 mm wide slats laid across the pitch from stump to stump, coir matting being stretched on top. The result was, he says, a very noisy game, as the bowler followed through on the pitch, the ball hit it, the batsmen started running, and the keeper and other fielders moved up to the stumps! Ian describes his playing years as "thoroughly enjoyable", and that to have one umpire for his games was "excellent, to have two was bliss", for the shortage of officials was as acute in his playing days as it is today.