Keith started work in Box Hill and lived in Croydon, which meant he travelled down Canterbury Road to get home. One of his staff had a husband playing with Nunawading and Keith turned up to train one night. The usual questions prevailed and it was decided that he could bowl a bit, believe it or not, bat a bit and a reasonable fieldsman.
The first year or so Keith opened the batting in the twos playing under Mick McLachlan. One game in particular stands out in Keith’s mind where Mick was bowling and the field was placed appropriately and wherever Keith was placed, usually in the outfield the ball found him. He took three high balls for Mick that day.
KJ was a fringe ones player and managed to bowl second or third change in those days. The first Grand final he played in for Nunawading was against Blackburn where Hutchy made his record score and Ray Gale got one in the head, retired hurt, and came back to make a ton. Keith did not play a huge role in that win but it was great for him to be part of it.
Something, and he can’t explain what, happened to him the next year and he gained an absolute hunger for wickets. From that time on he can only remember one or two seasons where he managed less than 30 wickets.
John O’Sullivan was the best Captain Keith played under. This is not just because he gave Keith the new ball one game and let him go for it. His ability to read players and the uncanny knack of making the right decision at the right time still astonishes Keith today. Sully would say anyone could Captain a side with the players he had. KJ’s view is that it takes a good leader to bring the best out of players.
Keith deems it a privilege to have played with the likes of Wayne Stokes, Raf Desensi, all the Sakers, both Gales, Ian Donaldson, Russell Baird, Clive Mullet, Frank Ryan, Col James, Trevor Hutchins and John O’Sullivan.
The next winning grand final was against Templestowe where they had a second drop bat who had such patience that Keith’s medium pace deliveries were not getting the required breakthrough. KJ was asked to keep bowling and for the game bowled over 65 overs. What changed the game was the umpire at his end who must have been getting bored with the maiden overs and the style of the batsman. He suggested that Keith slow the delivery. This he did and he got a little more in the air but more importantly a lot mot from the pitch. That bat was out shortly after and the rest of the Templestowe side folded.
Then we moved to a time of great rivalry between the two powerhouse sides of the competition Heatherdale and Nunawading. We played off against each other over a number of consecutive years and won two closely fought grand finals. These games were always close and the game was played with true sportsmanship. Both clubs should look to those days as examples of how the game should be played.
For Keith a highlight was filling in for the 6ths one game whilst injured. The side had the likes of Brian Reid, Merv Legg and both Matthew and Daniel Joyce. All had a lot of fun and we even managed to win the game.
Keith recalls social highlights including the days of drinks back at someone’s house, kids playing in the driveway and George Cross handing out drinks, and the efforts to provide manpower when we built the upstairs social rooms.
Keith’s is perhaps the most decorated player in the history of Nunawading Cricket Club. Keith’s contribution to Nunawading is truly remarkable. He played First XI cricket for 20 years at Nunawading. His wicket taking record over such a long period is surely unprecedented in the BHRDCA.
20 Shield Grade Association bowling averages 6 times
21 Shield Grade Club bowling averages 6 times
22 T. A. Reeves Trophy winner 7 times
23 Player of the Year twice
24 First XI Premierships 4 times
Keith’s on-field heroics have been matched by his off-field contributions. In the late 80’s Keith nominated for President when there was no-one else prepared to do it. In 1999, Keith again volunteered to be President and was accepted unanimously (of course).
Keith Joyce is a true Nunawading Cricket Club icon.
KJ has the following (detailed) recollections of his career at Nuna.
Q1. Please let us know a bit about yourself and also your history at Nunawading. What are your personal and career highlights and what you are doing now. What are your memories of the great games you played in?
I am married to Bev, living in Mentone and have 5 kids with wife/partner in brackets, namely: Matthew(Kirsty), Daniel (Loree), James (Elizabeth), Kathryn (Scott) & another Matthew (Maegan). There are 3 grandchildren at present: Isabelle, Ryder, Mya and one on the way.
Born in 1951, I first played cricket in the Eltham area (Diamond Valley) – I think I was 15 having never played before. I played in the under 16 side in the first year and managed a first ball duck in both innings (stumped both times). The second year in under 16’ I was a batting allrounder and won a spot in the Association under age side as such and also played in the afternoon in the seniors. I managed to win the club U16 bowling that year. The side I was with (St Andrews) only had one senior side and the club folded the next year.
I then joined a very strong side (Montmorency) and played in their ones at 17 years of age as a 4 or 5 bat. The only times I really got a bowl was when the game was over. We won the top grade grand final that year with my contribution being mainly in the finals as a bat where I managed 45 in the first final and 60 odd in the grand final.
I finished High School playing portions of seasons and found myself unable to train because I gained employment in Melbourne.
At 20 years of age I was conscripted into the Army. Conscription brought together people from various backgrounds. From a sporting point of view I played mid-week inter–service football and cricket, playing with and against such names as Bernie Quinlan & Peter Welsch and Rodney Hogg respectively.. That was my introduction to turf which by chance moved me more into being a bowler than a batsman.
After leaving the Army I found myself living in Flemington and wondered down the street to an oval and began playing with a side that was coming into the top grade of cricket having won the premiership in the lower grade the previous year. We had a successful year culminating in a grand final win. That game was memorable in that we lost the first inning by about 35 runs, and reversed that with an outright win. I managed 5 for 65 in the first innings and 8 for 18 in the second.
I then moved to Croydon to live and worked in Box Hill. So I found myself travelling down Canterbury Road on a daily basis. Cricket season was looming and I was without a side when one of my work associates suggested Nunawading. I drove to the oval and found a hive of activity at the nets. At the time Nunawading had 8 senior sides and 6 junior sides. What I didn’t realize was the strength of the club with players such as Trevor Hutchins, Ian Rowe, Grant McDonald, Frank Ryan, Russell Baird, John O’Sullivan to name just a few.
That was way back in 1974/75. The first year I played was in the two’s as a top order bat and opening bowler with an occasional game in the one’s.
One of those days in the two’s was with Mick Mclachlan as my captain (yeah father of Ian). We were in a spot of bother trying to get the opposition out when Mick came onto bowl – (for those that don’t know he bowled spin). I was younger, fitter and could field – so I was in the outfield.
The rest is folk law – three huge outfield catches off Mick and a win to Nunawading. By the way the catches get harder each time I tell the story.
KJ Nuna Stats
607 in Shield 1 (nb does not include 2 seasons where the score books are missing) with an average per wicket of approx 14.
967 overall (noting the scorebooks missing) at approx 14.4 per wicket
Player of the year (2):
83/84 & 00/01
TA Reeves Trophies (8)
77/78, 79/80, 83/84, 84/85, 85/86, 89/90, 90/91, 93/94
Member of Team of the Century
Q2. Which was your favourite season, where you or the team excelled?
There were many but I will keep it brief:
The 80’s were great years for our club:
Games against Heatherdale were always a good contest. The games that come to mind were Grand Finals
The games that we won 81/82 & 83/84 were won by margins of 3 and 10 runs respectively.
In 83/84 we had lost Clive Mullett before the game and had a very young Mal West (16 year old) behind the stumps. The game was on a knife edge throughout the final with partnerships accumulating runs whilst wickets were falling throughout the day. What I didn’t know was the chat going on by Mal to unsettle whoever was batting. A great team effort played in the right spirit.
The other game that comes to mind is the grand final against Templestowe (79/80) which also stands out in that Templestowe planned on batting as long as they could. What resulted was a boring game for all and it would seem for the umpire aswell. He suggested, during the game, that I slow my delivery which provided a bit more swing and a great deal more turn off the wicket. The batsman holding us up was soon out and Templestowe crumbled from there. In those days the bowling side had the option of taking a new ball when 65 overs had been bowled. The umpire was not amused when I completed my individual 65th over and asked if I could have a new ball.
The last fond memory is a game when I played in the 8ths with Matthew and Daniel against an undefeated opposition. I was injured at the time, Matthew was studying at the time and therefore not meant to play. The opposition were full of how good they were and as I was standing at square leg umpiring I heard what they had done to opposition sides and what they were going to do to us. After all we hadn’t won a game and were bottom of the ladder. In short we thrashed them outright. I didn’t do a lot that day but it was a terrific memory to play in the same team as Matt & Dan. I also had to opportunity to play in another game with Daniel and James which was good fun, if not a bit tense at times.
Q3. Please provide any other information you would like to such as a funny story or significant event/milestone during your career.
I feel very privileged to have played cricket at Nunawading and develop long standing friendships with great guys who just happen to be talented cricketers. Tops of the list (in no particular order) include Trevor Hutchins, Alan Gale, the Saker Boys, Clive Mullett, Ian Donaldson, Mal West and John O’Sullivan.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to play beside my boys.
I remember well:
the Rosebud Xmas training sessions with a few reds being consumed.
bowling to GT in the nets
building the club rooms upstairs
having cow lotto on the main oval
naming the ground after Bob Saker
Dono coming into the ones as a bat.
having indoor sessions at Burwood Teacher College
seeing Sully make his last ton in Shield
Dolan head butting a catch over the boundary for 6
watching Tynan launch opposition out of the park
having drinks after the game in players back yards
Jerker getting lots of wickets
Greg Voutier bowling off 17 yards in the nets
Saults bending it like Beckham
Graham Harris hitting the ball for three but strolling through for one
Heather turning up to the cricket the first time
The speed of the leg side stumpings from Clive & Mal
And finally I remember that we were the club to beat.
Q4. Finally, can you please note why you played cricket for Nunawading and the strengths of the Club during your career.
Nunawading has and continues to be a point of consistency for many who play cricket there. Where mates produce great feats because of who they play for.
It’s a place that my boys have grown up with memories of great friendship and sometimes ridiculous events.