Peter’s first involvement with the Club was as a young bloke following his father Bob to cricket games at Silver Grove. He first played regularly in season 1977-78 in the Fifth XI premiership team under Alan Haag and continued to play until the early 1990’s, captaining the 5th and 6th XI’s on several occasions. Peter is widely recognised as an administrator however and served the club with distinction in committee roles for ten consecutive years including two as treasurer and seven as President. Peter was only 28 when first elected President , only 4 seasons after Bob’s ten year’s as President. Peter also served as a chairman of selectors and managed the firsts after his retirement as a player. Peter also acted as a Junior coach, spending a few seasons coaching the Under 16’s.
His earliest memories of Nuna C. C. are as a small boy when each Saturday the family would venture to Silver Grove and other venues to watch Bob play after he joined the club in the very early sixties. His first senior game for Nuna was in his early teens as a fill-in in the fourths with his Dad (on one of which occasions he remembers subbing for Burwood Districts and catching his Dad on the deep mid-off boundary much to Bob’s and his shock and horror!).
His first full year in the seniors, after a couple of years at Balwyn Presbyterians while he finished school studies was in 1977/78, playing in the newly formed fifths (the 5ths having been added after quite a fiery AGM as some of the "old guard" were against another team as they didn't think the club would fill it but have to buy new mats, equipment etc.)
History of course records that the team, skippered by Alan Haag, who made over 900 runs for the year, and featuring other club personalities Merv Legg (who missed the finals with a broken wrist), John Fisher, Dave Cowell, Peter Donaldson, Mick Viljoen (who with able support from Pete put on what turned out to be a match winning last wicket partnership) and John Macaulay won the flag before adjourning to Arthur Walker's for a rather large celebration.
Most of Peter’s playing career was in the fifths and the sixths. He captained for a number of seasons and fondly remembers many a lengthy selection meeting with Colin James and Graeme Harris. In 1990/91 Peter Donaldson led the sixths to a flag, Peter’s only other flag, with a side including Col, the Edwards brothers, Ross Henkel, Robbie Legg and Paul Bradley. We only managed to finish in the four on percentage and in the most exciting game of cricket he remembers defeated Park Orchards firsts, who had not lost all season, at Mahoneys Reserve in front of a large, vocal crowd.
They had set us about 260 odd to beat in about 60 overs and we passed them eight down (with “Jerka” a very nervous number eleven to come, having batted only twice for the whole season) due to a great second wicket stand of 150 plus between Col and Chris Edwards. In the Grand Final we played our old mates Mitcham at Heatherdale and thanks mainly to some good batting by Col (again), Anthony Edwards and the skipper passed them seven down with Pete again nervously padded up.
Peter Loves the Nunawading Cricket Club. His purple and gold colours have been worn on his sleeve for over 30 years now and he loves nothing better than to see a big (or preferably narrow) victory by our First XI against any number of arch rivals. He is a lovable rogue who loves a beer with his mates and spending hours discussing important matters such as cricket and football matches.
Even after his retirement as a player and club administrator, Peter has helped in any way he can over recent years. His roles have included Chairman of Selectors, Bar Opener, and the club’s delegate to the Association tribunal.
One cannot imagine a more passionate ‘Nuna Boy’.
Peter has the following personal memories:
The Nunawading Cricket Club has been a major part of my life since January 1962 when my Dad, Bob (Life Member) joined the club to play with his life-long best mate Ken Rout (Life Member). Dad and Ken grew up together and played many years of cricket at East Malvern Cricket Club where Dad is also a Life Member.
Many a happy Saturday arvo was spent watching Dad play and mucking around with other cricketer’s kids (including various Sakers, Routs, Dolans, McLachlans etc) before in those pre-club days heading to someone’s back yard for the weekly drinks.
In those days we lived in Balwyn and I played my junior cricket with Balwyn Presbyterians. I played a couple of years seniors there as well while I completed school but it was inevitable that I would play the great majority of my senior cricket at Nuna.
I had actually played a number of games in my early teens filling in with Dad in the fourths. On one occasion I subbed for Burwood Districts and manged to hang on to a catch on the boundary to dismiss Dad much to the mirth of players on both sides!!
My first full year at Nuna was 1977-78 when the club (after a heated debate at the AGM) put in a fifth eleven for the first time. Alan Haag (Life Member and father-in-law of Scotty Witherden) volunteered to lead the team, the majority of which were kids straight from the Under 16s, and made a relatively modest contribution of 964 (!!!) runs for the year as the team went through the season undefeated but for the last home and away game.
The Grand Final was played on the middle ground at Nuna (believe it or not!!) against Blackburn. My contribution was to put on about 20 for the last wicket with Mick Viljoen - we won by less than that in the end so the partnership was pretty important - and bowl one over. I bowled a bloke with my first ball but I think it was Trevor Sloan who hit the third ball most of the way to Canterbury Road before smacking another couple of boundaries. That was it for me - 1 for 16 from 1!!
However, we won the flag before heading back to Artie Walker’s home in Springvale Road for a long and liquid celebration. Two of my teammates in that team were Cowelly and Jeff .
All up I played for about 15 seasons almost exclusively in the fifths, sixths or sevenths bowling a mixture of left arm straight breaks and arm balls and with a firm grip on the number 11 spot in almost every team I played in.
I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of it - it is impossible to describe losing the toss and having to field and chase 400 runs round the ground at Yarraleen on a 40 degree day as “fun” - but there was always a laugh to be had and great mates (and it is a four stubbie trip back from Yarraleen!!).
My only other flag came in 1990-91 in the Peter Donaldson-captained sixths. What a year!! In round one we played Park Orchards firsts. They smashed us and sledged us and abused us and it was only Derek Clark and Robbie Legg refusing to get out (and me and Dono as umpires refusing to be intimidated by ridiculous appeals) that saved us from outright loss.
We had a few wins and a few losses - one of the wins featuring Col James’ maiden ton after a long and distinguished career, a truly emotional moment - and coming into the last game we found ourselves a chance for finals. We hung on for a draw in a rain-interrupted match at Burwood Districts, the fourth side lost and we snuck into the four on percentage. Guess who we came up against in the semi! - Park Orchards who had gone through the season undefeated and, when they started batting, left us in no doubt from outside the boundary what they were going to do to us. The game was played on the main oval at Nuna on the rubber mats the comp used for a number of years and while it didn’t affect their batting - they got about 260 odd (me one wicket) - when it came to bowling they just couldn’t handle it. The faster and shorter they bowled, the more balls just sat up and said “hit me” and Col and Chris Edwards did just that putting on over 150 at almost a run a ball for the second or third wicket.
Wickets then started to fall and tension was rising. When we lost our eighth wicket we still need a few and the number eleven - yours truly - was crapping himself having batted only twice (poorly) for the entire year and with potentially the team’s fortunes resting on his shoulders in front of a pretty big home crowd. Fortunately Dono and his partner at number 10 - the one and only Braddles - got us home for the best win of my career. St Davids had finished second on the ladder having lost only one game - to Park Orchards - but they also got rolled in the semi so we had to face the arch enemy, Mitcham, in the big one.
Playing at Heatherdale, we bowled first again and with Dono bowling his guts out and getting four and me three (including one of the worst LBWs in the history of cricket) we restricted Mitcham to a modest target. Col (again) and Anthony Edwards set us up for the win but there were still plenty of nerves when Dono joined Matty Joyce at the crease with us seven down and still quite a few short (with Bradley and Jenkin to come). Peter and Matty came throught with the goods and a long and large celebration followed.
I could go on forever about games I played in or watched but I will limit myself to a few other highlights:
¨ playing in the same team as Dad;
¨ Trevor Hutchins virtuoso 238 not out in the Shield 1 Grand Final of 1976-77;
¨ 1983-84 when we won both Shield 1 and 2 (biggest celebration at the club ever!!);
¨ winning both A1 and A2 in 1999-2000 to take us back to Shield Grade; and
¨ the reverse outright in the last over GF win by the B2 boys against Burwood Districts in 2002-03 - the second most exciting finish I can remember.
As a lower grades player, I didn’t get to play with many of the greats but I played with some - David Saker’s first senior game for Nuna, Bob Saker’s last, Hutch, Col James, Graeme Harris. Hutch spent almost a whole year in a sixth eleven I captained. One game stands out that year, a one-dayer at Wattle Park High with Chris Edwards making a ton himself including five sixes in one over. When we bowled, Hutch placed himself at mid-off to tutor a very raw Braddles. Braddles got seven for twenty something and then commented to me that “that old bloke knows a bit about the game”!!
As an almost 50 year Nunaboy, I have seen the entire modern era. In my view, Trevor Hutchins is the best player to have played for the club. He could bat, bowl (slow and mediums) field and was an excellent captain. Some of the younger blokes might have thought he was too tough as a captain/coach but as a player he had no peer. Best bowler? - Keith Joyce is a standout. Some of his performances were unbelievable and his career stats will never be surpassed. Batsmen? - Bill Saker was as good as any I have seen. At times he just made it look so easy. I also love the blokes who give it all every single minute they are playing. For blokes like Col James and Ian Dono, the game was never over until the last run had been conceded or wicket lost. Maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere.
Funny stories. Too many too mention but some that got a laugh are:
¨ the infamous day at Templestowe when Steve McNamara and I (with cans in) took spectating to a new level including Macca at one stage chasing the umpire around the ground (sorry Stainless);
¨ big Russ Evenden and I being so keen to get back to Nuna one day that we left the kit sitting behind his car on the nature strip at Wattle Park;
¨ me leaving the entire N & N raffle proceeds ($4,000 plus) in the boot of my car which was stolen from outside home - when the car was found the next day, Deano set the world record for the trip from Vermont to Endeavour Hills and we found the money still in the boot much to our relief; and
¨ any number of things on Trips Away (how many more sleeps Mick?) which I can’t actually reveal because what happens on the trip stays on the trip!!
There have been hundreds of personalities in my time at the club. I hope I don’t offend anyone but cricket just wasn’t quite the same when you were playing with Kevin Steele, Mick Viljoen, George or Mark Wilson (I had both of them in teams at various stages and on one famous occasion had the two of them and “Bubbles” Horsey all in one side sledging these poor kids from Forest Hill), Stevie Minton, Steve Opray, Graeme Harris and many, many others.
There have of course been sad times, the unfortunate and premature deaths of Terry Harris, Graeme Harris (no relation) and Col James, the passing of club legends like Bob Saker and Mick McLachlan and the sad passing of Tommy Reeves, who is the most iconic figure in the club’s history.
I guess my proudest moment personally was to be named as President in the Team of the Century celebrations. I couldn’t mix it with any of the TOC players on the field but I am proud to have made a contribution off the field. It doesn’t matter whether you are a general committee member, treasurer, president, junior team manager or senior team manager (all of which I did) everyone has a contribution to make and if everyone has a crack the club can only prosper both on and off the field - just look at the efforts of Cowelly and his team with the kids (and think about the club in 10 years time with all those kids playing seniors).
Nuna has given me some of my closest mates - Deano, Cowelly, Pongo, Macca, Maxie, Bobby Tynan, Ray, the Donos, various Sakers (and Gales), Timmy Moore, Stu, Derek, Wool and others - it has given me some of the greatest moments of my life - I still love just being there having a quiet can (or several) watching the Nunaboys and talking various amounts of nonsense to whoever might be around to listen.
Cricket is proof that God loves us all and wants us to be happy.
The Nunawading Cricket Club owes me nothing - I owe it more than I could ever repay in another fifty years.