Written by Darren Garrett
Q1. Please provide a personal background including your time at Nuna, personal and career highlights and what you are doing now. Please include details of the best game you were ever involved in.
I have played cricket for 30 years, from under 12’s to senior and played on all surfaces but mostly turf cricket. I have been coaching for about 10 years and been involved with three clubs with premiership success.
During 30 years of cricket I have many personal highlights and have been fortunate enough to watch someone else perform some extraordinary things in this great game. Some of the personal highlights would be playing 1st XI premier league at the age of 17, all the hundreds scored, turning many games around with either the bat or ball to put the team into the winning position and being lucky enough to give back to the game what I have gained from it, through teaching others and personal satisfaction that you receive from the feedback when someone has achieved a personal goal. Coaching has enable me to give others the fantastic feeling I get from winning, contributing to the result of every game that I play and the ultimate glory winning a premiership. Other highlights have been watching others influence a game, a double ton, to bowlers ripping though a batting line-up in all playing conditions and individuals performing at there best in big games.
I coached at Nunawading from 1996 – 2002 and had the club passionate and focussed about winning games and playing finals, and that the cricket season should always be 13 games long and not 11! The success achieved was that all teams played in finals during my time at the club and most satisfying were the 1st & 2nd XI premierships in the 1999/2000 season.
A best game that I have been involved with whilst at Nunawading was obviously the premiership. There are always team and individual efforts that you remember and it was such a great time to be involved at the club, the win against Blackburn South when they needed just 12 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand and they lost by 4 runs, Mal West’s and Andrew Grubich batting performance in the semi final when chasing 270 runs to win against Bullen Templestowe.
Q2. You have been selected as a representative of the 99/00 A Grade Premiership team.
a) Can you please provide some information about the club at that time (e.g. who was President, how many teams, dominant players, funny incidents, club personalities, controversies etc).
Keith Joyce was president and the club was bursting at the seams with players, there were 6 senior sides and 6 junior sides that season, and 4 sides played finals that year with 3 playing off in grand finals. There were a number of dominate players that season across all grades and the list below provides some insight to the quality and depth of the talent at the club at the time;
The club was a buzz with excitement and funny things normally occur when everyone is having fun with their cricket. I do remember the great banter and practical jokes between the players during the season and fun had with the write-ups in the “Log”. Presentation night is best left alone after such a great season for the club, it took one idiot had to spoil it for everyone.
b) Can you please talk about the team itself, who did well with bat and ball and in the field, any details of how you got to the finals (e.g. memorable games or on-field events such as a big hundred or bag of wickets) and why you won the premiership
Why we won the premiership is easy to respond too “Belief within ourselves to beat any team that we played, that we were always the better side and individual players took responsibility of there their own performance and committing to training as a team”. We lost two games for the season and used that loss a positive. No side batted all day against us and we were bowled all out on only 3 occasions.
There were many contributors with the bat and ball that season, we had 7 players make 250+ runs for the season and 5 players with a bowling average under 20. Andrew Grubich 118no in the semi final was just brilliant, the 150 run opening partnership between Glenn Turner & Pete Phillips (R7 v Glen Waverly Hawks), and Harry 6/5 & 5/30 and Rob McKenzie many great bowling sessions during the season but the 5/21 v Templestowe (R11) was the pick.
Winning the premiership was the result of many players sacrificing a lot over a two year period and the team environment was always a buzz with excitement, expectation to always win, never thinking about losing and knowing that we would win any game with only 3-4 players playing between 80-100% of their abilities. The team always shared the succuss in that different players contributed at various times in the game or had a purple patch in there form. It was really a great time after the game when we would sit around laughing between ourselves about the game and performances.
Q3. What was the aftermath of that premiership? How did the team go after that, did most of the players stay, any major changes etc. (e.g. Eric Thornton- 5 premierships in 9 years, 4 vs Doncaster Footballers)
The following year we went on with the succuss of winning games but just failed ourselves in the way we polished of games or stood up in the crunch. I suppose a lot of things that would go are way the previous season didn’t fall our way and it probably costs us 2-3 wins and playing finals in our first year back up into Shield Grade. There were a couple players that didn’t return and we picked up a few new players and this did have some impact on the balance of the side.
We have 6 batsmen make over 200+ runs and 3 bowlers average under 20 with the ball, so we weren’t to far off but just lost a few games by under 30 runs and like I mentioned before it cost us a spot in the finals.
Q4. Finally, can you please note why you played cricket for Nunawading and the strengths of the Club at that time.
I played a t Nunawading because of Keith Joyce. He got me down to training after arriving in Melbourne for work and then had Tim Sproule and Tony Peake ask me to coach the club the following season. In my time I have made many friends and others that when we catch-up we can pick up the conversation where we left it off, and of course the people that just bounce off your personality or we just don’t take the time to better understand each other? The club was very much fragmented when I started coaching, it had groups standing in little pockets through out the club and it was not an environment that I had grown up with. It was always about the club, team and the individual, not the other way around. It was quite clear to me that very early into the coaching role that I would loss some and perhaps gain some. It took an almighty struggle and the determination of quite a few people with the club to change attitudes and the mindsets and to make it a much better place to play cricket and enjoy socially.
There is no doubt that winning is a disease that we all like catching. This was the strength of the place during my time and that the club came first on & off the field, that everyone gets along and enjoys each others company and if you didn’t, then you didn’t belong at Nunawading cricket club.