Honouring a club champion

A TRIPLE century is a rare cricketing feat in any context, but Gormandale’s Travis Switzer will achieve that milestone for club appearances this Saturday against Centrals.

The 36 year-old will become just the fifth Gormandale player to notch 300 games, and the quality littered through his career rates among the finest of any of his predecessors.

Switzer has played in five A grade premierships, tallied five A grade tons, won a record eight Os Young Memorial Awards for best all rounder in addition to four club champion trophies, and was inducted into the Traralgon and District Cricket Association hall of fame in 2011.

The Gormandale life member has also enjoyed a prolific representative career spanning a decade with Traralgon, captaining Gippsland Cricket League and Country Week champion sides with a personal record of 1276 runs and 27 wickets.

After making his senior debut as a 13 year-old in 1989/90, Switzer graduated to the A grade side at the tender age of 16, and recalled facing serious heat from the bowling attacks of that era.

“I was a little sort of guy and I remember batting at three and facing bowlers… who were pushing up near the 135 to 140 (kilometres per hour) mark,” he said.

“I don’t think we have that many quick bowlers any more, or maybe I’ve just got a bit more experience, but I remember just about every week facing some really good bowlers. I also remember looking up to some of the great players we’ve had at our club as well and sort of wanting to emulate them.”

Not only did he emulate his senior counterparts, he surpassed many of them en route to creating his own legacy at the club.

Switzer, the current club secretary, performed captain/coach duties for three seasons and was player of the finals in the 2004/05 premiership winning team, the highlight of his career to date, but it was not always smooth sailing for the TDCA giant.

“The first probably 10 years of my career we struggled; we were a pretty good side, but we just couldn’t crack through and win a premiership,” he said. “Once you win one it can open up the floodgates and once we won that first one, which I was captain of which was fantastic, it sort of gave us a lot of confidence.”

Having sacrificed his bowling in recent times, Switzer has scored 219 runs this season at 36.50 in seven appearances without any big scores, but said the measure of his year will be his showing come finals time.

“That’s the big thing for me now is to try and turn some of those starts into big scores; the key to a good season is making runs under pressure and in finals so I guess that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment,” he said.

Now part of the senior brigade, Switzer sees his role as developing the youth at the club, with a number of teenagers breaking into the top team this year.

“To impart some of that experience and knowledge on to them I reckon is fantastic and I really get a kick out of seeing some of those kids do really well,” he said.

While Switzer is unaware of any grand plans to celebrate the 300 mark, he said his involvement with the club over the years has been reward enough. “It’s been sensational and I love the club; it’s a big part of my life and the whole journey has been really exciting,” he said.