Marty goes back in time

The Morwell Cricket Club is in Marty Giddens’ blood.

Father Chris is a former club president and played in nine Tigers premiership teams.

Brother Craig was first grade captain.

And next time Marty takes the field he will become the latest Morwell cricketer to achieve 400 games for the club – a record he is expected to reach when the Tigers’ second grade side takes on Trafalgar this Saturday.

He said he remembered being around the club his entire life.

“I was getting around training throwing the ball around with the other kids and I just joined in,” Marty said.

“Back then it was under 16s – that was the only juniors we had.

“As a 10 year-old I was playing under 16s; I was only batting at 11 and fielding, but it was good.”

Marty’s first game for the Tigers was in 1988.

He won back-to-back club junior cricketer of the year awards in 1992-93 and 1993-94 and captained Morwell to an under 16 premiership that season.

A senior berth beckoned from age 14 when he became a regular fixture in the club’s third grade side.

It was not long before first grade beckoned and along with it premierships in 1998-99 and 2002-2003.

In 1998-99 the Tigers came up against Newborough, with Marty part of a team that knocked up 9/226 before steamrolling the Bulldogs for 72.

The next grand final was against Moe, where brother Craig was the leading light with 77 in a knock described by Express journalist Neil Hickey at the time as “near faultless”.

Moe was all out for 131 in response and Marty said he learnt a valuable lesson about premierships from his older teammates.

“The older blokes say make the most of it because they don’t come around often and that’s certainly true,” he said.

“They’re so hard to come by – you might play in one premiership.

“I played with my brother in both flags so that was special.”

In his 28 years at the club, Marty has proved handy with bat and ball – amassing 6207 runs across all competitions to be Morwell’s ninth-highest run scorer and taking 171 wickets, including four five-wicket hauls.

His bowling feats are made more impressive by the fact he bowls leg-spin, a craft regarded by many as the game’s most difficult and also one of the most thankless.

Marty said he was inspired to take up over the wrist spin after watching the club’s bowlers apply the style at training and legendary Shane Warne on television.

But he was clear about how difficult it is to bowl effective leg-spin.

“You’ve got to practice – you can’t turn up here and there and think you’re going to bowl decent leg-spin,” Marty said.

“It’s hard – you bowl a half-tracker, a full tosser and a good ball; it just takes hard work and persistence.”

He now captains the club’s second grade team, which he said gave him the opportunity to play with old friends and help usher through the next generation of Morwell talent.

“Just seeing the youth coming through and giving them a go and seeing them taking wickets and A grade is what you strive for,” Marty said.

After 399 games he was adamant about what he would like to come next – seeing the Tigers win premierships in every grade.

“It probably won’t happen, but I’d love to see it,” Marty said.