Nunawading Cricket Club

Ian Donaldson

 Ian (Dono) Donaldson

Tim Moore introduced Ian to Nunawading Cricket Club in October 1969 after many test matches in the paddock near their homes. In his first season he recalls only playing to Christmas as he believed that was the end of the season. 

Like most boys in that era, Ian was under the care of Mick McLachlan and had 4 years in U14’s. In 1971-72, he played as vice captain under Graeme Lang and in 72-73 was given the task of captain of U14’s, when Nuna lost the grand final at East Burwood. Bill Saker was with Ian in that team as an 11 year old. Ian had the opportunity to play Hatch Shield for Box Hill and the club also sent him to coaching sessions at Rusden College. 

Up into U16’s in 1973-74 as vice captain and Ian recalls playing against East Burwood’s Paul Melville, the gun player of the time who was about to play Shield Cricket. 

In 1974-75, the club moved to Mahoney Reserve and Ian captained the U16 team of that year. We played the first game at home against Box Hill North, so as the opening batsman, Ian was the first to hit a four, but also the first to go for four. 

Ian was given the opportunity to play in senior ranks during my U14 years and more regularly as a 15 – 16 year old. Some of those in the first eleven ! Progressing from juniors he played mainly in the 2nds during the years 1974 – 80. In this time he was fortunate to play, as the ‘baby’ in the team,  with the following legends as their careers were in their twilight: Bob Saker, George Dolan, Mick McLachlan, Ian Rowe, Ian Sach, Doug Bosworth, John Kay. Ian  recalls being the one to chase the ball more often and even running a couple of them out, and being “told”. It was these years that Ian learnt sportsmanship, skills and the finer points of the game. 

The McIntosh Shield team of 1978-79 which saw Trevor Hutchins hit 238 n.o. had Ian as 12th man, a great thrill which gave him a taste of what was to come. 

In 1981-82 Ian became a regular member of the firsts and finally became a contributing player in a premiership. Nuna defeated Heatherdale by 3 runs after only making 134. Ian remembers being so nervous in the last over and praying at deep mid wicket that the ball would not come to him. 

Nuna played against Heatherdale in another three McIntosh Shield grand finals to 1985 –86 and, lost by 23 runs; won by 10 runs; and lost by 1 run in the greatest game he has been involved in. We made 342 off 119 overs, they made 343 off the last ball of their 120 overs. 

There was another two grand finals, both losses, late ’80 to Bennettswood when the late Frank Horne scored 135 and Mitcham in 1991-92. We finished up on top in that year but let ourselves down in the final. 

Over the years Ian won many batting and bowling averages and the esteemed  TA Reeves trophy.  The season 1991-92 was an exceptional year for Ian’s batting and bowling, and with many opportunities, he hit over 400 runs and was runner up to Mitcham’s Wayne Graham in the Association Batting Average. The then recent passing of his father inspired him to greater efforts. A score of 103 at Box Hill North was certainly a highlight of his career. Chris Harris had put Ian in as an afternoon tea watchman. It was also a nasty game, with Peter Phillips taken away in an ambulance and threats toward Ian for the same short ball treatment, but we won! 

‘Dono’s’ stint in administration started after Graeme Best approached him in 1977 and asked him to take over his ‘Assistant Secretary’ job. He held this position for many years, a time when the club grew from 4 to 8 senior teams. From then Ian served as Secretary, Vice President and on the General Committee.

 Apart from Nunawading members, Ian has also made many life long friends from other clubs and even umpires. He’s broken ribs, been knocked out twice, dislocated a finer, damaged a shoulder, got sun damaged skin, will get arthritic fingers, has bled, cried and laughed and loved every minute of his time at Nuna. 

Ian was awarded Life Membership of the Club in 1995.