Before he was married Ian played local cricket in Brighton. After Wendy and he moved to Nunawading in January 1957, setting up a new home delayed his return to cricket until 1958/59. He was encouraged to join Nunawading by near neighbours Tom Tunne and Ken Rout. His first game was in the seconds (we only had 2 teams in those days) against Warrandyte with Arthur Walker as captain.
Following a reasonable year he was promoted to the firsts the next season and our first game was against Nunawading’s old rivals Doncaster Footballers. This almost proved to be “Roweys” last game as Les Reid promptly despatched him far and wide to the neighbouring gum trees to the extent of 0/33 off 3 eight ball overs. Ian survived demotion but it was a couple of games before he bowled again, fortunately with better results.
In one grand final against Templestowe at the Vermont ground, Bob Saker asked Ian to open the bowling in the second innings with the old ball (new ball was optional at the time). He took a hat trick in the first over and they were all out for about 35 and Nunawading had another premiership. By his own admission, Ian’s batting was a different kettle of fish. When it was his turn to bat at No. 11 our wicketkeeper would start putting on the pads as he knew it would not be long before we would be fielding.
However, Ian’s fondest memory does not relate to figures or good performances but to the enormous support that he got from all team members and in particular his ‘bowling partner in crime’ at the other end, Mick McLachlan.
Ian also noted the outstanding performances of Bob Saker who in his opinion was the most complete cricketer that he ever played with or against.
Ian believes he was very fortunate to have played in a very strong and successful side under excellent captains and after several years went back to the seconds for a few seasons to eventually retire in the late 1970’s. It was perhaps ironical that his last match was also against Doncaster Footballers and who should he bowl against but the same Les Reid but he is pleased to say it was “my turn this time”.
Ian served as Treasurer for 8 years and remembers many of the social functions we used to have up at the hall in Silver Grove. To Ian, playing for Nunawading was not just about cricket as it was a real family affair and many lasting friendships were formed. After cricket, he joined the Mitcham bowling club where sporting acquaintances were renewed with several cricket club members, George Dolan, Ken Rout, Jack Kelly, and Bruce Robertson to name a few.
There are not many around Nuna who don’t think that Ian was the finest spin bowler to ever wear the purple and gold and his statistics bear witness to this fact. Ian took 476 First XI wickets at 10.2 with 5 or more wickets on 32 occasions and a career best 9/44.