Nunawading Cricket Club

We asked some questions of past President and Premiership player in Matty Joyce.                                         

 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?

Born in 1975, my family quickly moved to Croydon. I’m the eldest of two boys (Daniel my brother) to Mum and Dad. I also have a half brother (James) and half sister (Tricia) to later marriages of both parents. I grew up in the eastern suburbs, and went to high school at Whitefriars in Donvale. I was lucky enough to do OK, and ended up getting a degree in Engineering from Swinburne and currently work as a Civil Engineer in Warranwood.

5 and half years ago i met my wife to be, Kirsty, and we have now been married for 3 years. These days i have my own family, with Kirsty. We have a boy (Ryder 2yo) and a girl (Mya 6 months). We currently live in Lilydale, where we have been for 4 years.

I started playing at Nunawading as a second year U12, so i was 11yo. I started playing senior cricket at Nuna as an U16, and was very lucky to play in a senior flag in that first season. Having said that, I was pretty familiar with Nuna well before I started playing, as I’d been watching the 1st XI for about 7 years before hand. Dad often took myself and Daniel to the cricket on Saturdays as kids. We generally played in the nets with Dave Hutchins or the James Family, but we also saw a lot of the very successful 80’s period getting played out in front of us.

I was lucky to play in some strong junior sides, as i struggled to break into sides including Matt Tynan, Darren Garoni, Russ Warbuton, Andy O’Neill, Steve Shaw and Chris Dunn. All of which went on to play very good senior cricket or win averages at the club. The fact of the matter was i generally played a support role to those guys, and due to how good they were, my support was rarely needed. As many of those guys played higher grade senior cricket, I got a good go in the lower grades. And was lucky enough to play in a 6th XI flag in my first season. I never thought I’d play much higher than 3rd’s cricket at Nuna such was the strength of the club as i grew up. I feel very fortunate to have played in all 8 senior sides that existed at the club, over my career. It gave me a great chance to play cricket with just about everyone that is anyone at the club over that time.

Probably the biggest influences on myself was Dad. But I learned a lot from Bryan Reid when he was club coach. While i wasn’t a great bat, I credit Bryan with any batting skill I managed to show over my career. Also great leadership from guys like Alan Gale, Gary Saultry and Kevin Rosemeyer have held me in good stead at times too. I spent a full season with Galey in the 3’s as a teenager, opening the bowling with Dad. Saults and Kev were junior coaches of mine and were very much leaders of many sides i was part of in my mid to late 20’s.

Career highlights, I was lucky! I had a few. Winning 3 senior premeirships (6th XI, 5th XI and 2nd XI) and 1 junior premeriship (U14). Winning the bowling average in my first senior season, also averages in the 2nd XI and 1st XI. But i consider my greatest highlight was captaining the 2’s for 3 seasons in Shield 2. I absolutely loved it. I felt as though i made a difference to a few cricketers that might not have previously thought they were good enough to play that level. I felt i played my best cricket in that time too. And with the success of the club at that stage not being great, I often felt we gave something to the club that no other side could at the time.....consistency in winning.

When I think about the most significant games i played a hand in I always remember a 4’s Grand Final I played (under Dave Cowell) out at Wheelers Hill. We got smashed, but i made about 40 batting very low, and shared a long last wicket stand with Rob Procter. The team only made about 130, and we got killed, but i always thought about that game when i made to make important runs. This was one of a few too many losing Grand Finals I played in. I’m not sure how many but it was more than i won. One was won on first innings and lost outright. What’s more i played as an opening bat! Very odd season that one.

The other great game, or games, were my last 2 wins as captain of the 2’s. We played Eley Park (undefeated) in the last round of the season and had to win to ensure finals. It was also GT’s (Glenn Turner) last game. The guys batted really well, against a very good bowling line up and made 230 odd. They’d chased 300 twice already that season, and a few of the guys were nervous. Myself and Craig Perry ripped the heart out of them and rolled them for 60. Probably the best I’ve ever bowled, and a very rewarding win. A game the team will always remember as the “Fruit Tingle Game” after Dad had fired us up with a weird rewards system for the game.

We had the pleasure of playing them again the next week in the semi final. It was a rain effected game. I won the toss and batted, as if time got away i could always declare. Overnight we were 5 for 120 odd, and myself and Kirsty went to Gary Saultrys 40th that night. I clearly remember a couple of club stalwarts (who will remain nameless) telling me off for batting first in a game that would clearly be rain effected. I explained my theory, and they just didn’t get it. The next day we declared at about 170odd, and we rolled them with about 30 runs to spare, late in the day. Michael Cardamone’s sledging behind the stumps was legendary. Dave Cowell played his best knock of the season. Andy Sach and Shane Fedat played critical roles also.

The feeling in the rooms after that day was the most amazing things I’ve been part of. Sadly we lost the Grand Final the following week, in a very poor showing. But those 3 weeks of cricket before were some of the most amazing I’d ever been part of.

I was lucky enough to coach juniors for 3 or 4 seasons, and helped achieve a junior premiership while doing that. I helped coach a group of guys that have gone on to be very talented cricketers, both at the club and at higher levels. I continue to take great pleasure in watching the scores come thru and seeing how those guys go. These young men include Andy Hone, Grant McCarthy, Shane Brooks, Will Dalton and Andy Lord. The other coaches of that side were Rob Clark and James Willis. 

I also served on the committee for 7 or 8 seasons and held the post of president for 2 of those years. I learned a lot over that time. I’ll always admire anyone willing to take on any committee position at the club, especially president.

Q2. Which was your favourite season, where you or the team excelled? 

I mean no disrespect to the other premeriship sides i played in, however, the first really great season i was part of resulted in a premiership in the 2nd XI. The side was captained by Gary Saultry, who also won the bowling average narrowly from Stu Burke. The batting was won by Tony Peake, who made 99 in the Grand Final. The side included some very good players: Rob Clark, Tim Morrison, Simon and Andy Hone, Andy Siebel, Kevin Rosemeyer, and Bobby Tynan. We lost 2 games for the whole season, both by small margins, and beat Nuna C of C for a 3rd time that season in the Grand Final at Templestowe. I think Saults made one change to the side over the whole season, which was a by-product of the 1’s having a strong season in A1.

Again, the other successful seasons were as captain of the 2’s. We’d just got back into Shield when I took over from Saults. Nuna had historically struggled to do anything at that level with the 2’s, and in my first season as captain the side continued that form. I felt I struggled with captaincy also, at that point.

In my second season as captain, it was very tight at the top of the ladder. We finished in 4th spot, but there was 6pts between 1st and 5th spot. We won the semi and played the previous seasons premier in the Grand Final. In hind sight I feel we probably were the second best side over the season, and got the result that reflected that. It was very disappointing to lose that Grand Final, and a lot of change was to happen the following season.

That third and final season as captain was amazing. I never told the guys, but i felt we were at best the 4th best side in the comp. We played some good cricket at times, but also played some poor cricket that season. We saw two hat tricks before Round 4 started, and almost saw the third against us in Round 4. The side was ever changing, with the 1’s struggling to settle a side. We got into finals, and stole the semi. We seemed to win from unwinnable positions.

With the wisdom of Scott Millar and Michael Cardamone we managed to find a way into that Grand Final. That season I won the club bowling average and would have won the association average with one more wicket. I chose not to bowl a second innings in the final round, having just rolled the side we’d play in the semi for 60. I didn’t want them to get batting practise against us, with a Grand Final appearance at stake the following week. Dad had alerted me to the situation on the second day of that final round. I don’t regret the decision, but it’s one of those things i’m not sure many people are aware of. The feeling the following week was the highlight of my career. I find it hard to believe winning any average would have felt any better than that.

Q3. Please provide any other information you would like to such as a funny story or significant event/milestone during your career.

Playing and watching cricket at Nuna, I saw some amazing stuff. Most of it on the field, and some of it off the field. I recall watching Dad bowling at Doncaster one day. Kimbo was getting into him, as it seemed only Kimbo was capable of. I remember watching Kim hit a massive 6 over Doncaster Rd, only to see Dad break a stump bowling him the very next ball.

I recall Glenn Turner making his first 1st XI ton at Eley Park. I remember Popey hitting a 6 over the pine trees at Blackburn when i was a kid. Late in Popeys career i had the pleasure of batting with him in the 1’s most weeks, as we tried to put on late runs. 

Living in Rosebud with Dad, we had long trips to cricket on Saturday mornings. Billy Saker moved to the area, and Bill came with us too for a while. Travelling 90 mins each way with Dad and Bill in the car, you learned a lot. There were lots of stories, but my favourite was when James threw up all over Bill, and Bill ended up nearly throwing up himself at the sight of it all. Pretty sure Bill produced a ton that day at East Box Hill.

Another great day, was early in my senior career, watching Rob Legg make his first ton. On the middle ground at Nuna, Leggy was a pretty solid bat, but he never got a ton. We knew something was up when he cleared the fence for the first time in living memory.

In more recent times predicting and watching Dave Stewart make his first ton in the 1’s. We on the committee thought long and hard about who should captain the side, and we asked Dave to do the job. Dave would admit he’d struggled in the clubs last season in Shield 1. He took the job, and never looked back in my opinion. When Dave was about 30odd i told the guys on the balcony I’d dreamt Dave would make a ton on that day, the night before. Such predictions are fround upon as it puts the “mozz” on the guy in question. Dave came up trumps with 104no on the main ground at Nuna against Mulgrave, and what a player Dave has become since then.

From a personal point of view a very special game for me was in a season i was actually not playing. Dad was returning from an injury. The opportunity came up for Dad, myself (as a one off) and Daniel to all play in the same team (the 8th XI). I know Dad remembers it fondly. We played the top side, we were bottom, and we creamed them outright. Dad took a few wickets, Daniel got a couple. I bowled about 4 overs and retired to be wicket keeper. I took a catch from the bowling of Bryan Reid. Also managed to get to 48no before Dad came out, for the change of umpires, and told me how many i was. I was caught behind 2 balls later, and took another 3 seasons to post my first 50. It was another one of those days where you look thru the side today and wonder how they all played in the 8’s: Keith Joyce, Matt Joyce, Bryan Reid, Andrew Grubich and Christian James to name a few.

The other great highlight for me was to open the bowling in the 1’s with Dad at Koonung one day in A1. I got to play most of that season with Dad in the 1’s, but rarely got to bowl at the same time. That along with taking a catch from Dad’s bowling one day on the main ground where great thrills.

Q4. Finally, can you please note why you played cricket for Nunawading and the strengths of the Club during your career.

The short story is I played at Nuna because Dad did. I was brought up at the club, and know nothing else. Dad and I at times talked about players that left the club, and went to similar levels of cricket elsewhere, and we always got back to “if you’re going to have a serious go, you really should be at Nuna”.

The club strengths when i was young was very much that family feel. Maybe they are the things i remember, as i was of that age? I recall when going thru the scores on a Saturday night took 30 to 40 mins, as we went thru 6 or 7 junior sides, then thru 8 senior sides. 100’s in the 5’s or 7’s would get as big, if not bigger roars than 100’s in the 1’s.

I remember being a wresting fan as a youngster, and two clubman taking myself and my brother along. Not Dad, just the guys from the cricket club. I haven’t forgotten Derek and Stu! That was, and deep down still is, the club that Nuna is.

In more recent times, being a part of the committee, I realised that it’s these guys that are the real strength of the club. The committee organise things, make things happen, create the culture, and while doing all of that ensure the club remains financial. Nuna has been blessed with the people that have graced the committee. They may not always be the names that litter the club history with on field performances, but without them there are no on field performances.

Matthew Joyce