Duff’s dream afternoon

Among the greats: Simon Duff joined David Little as one of only two men to play 200 A Grade games for Rovers Cricket Club. photograph liam durkin





IT WAS an emotion-charged Duncan Cameron Park last Saturday, as Rovers Cricket Club stalwart Simon Duff played his 200th A Grade match for the club.


Duff now sits among illustrious and exclusive company, joining fellow Rovers legend David Little as the only man to achieve such a feat.


Rovers rose to the occasion for Duff, winning a match that turned into a thriller against Imperials by nine runs.


A strong turnout gathered on the steps and in the Rovers clubrooms post-match to toast Duff and celebrate the milestone.


The script couldn’t have been written any better for Duff, as the man himself came to the crease with the score 5/54, and ended with an unbeaten 54 batting at number seven to see his side to a total of 171 batting first.


Rovers looked set to make it an early finish for Duff after reducing Imperials to 8/116, yet the visitors made him sweat on the result, and very nearly spoilt the party by getting to 162 before the final wicket was taken.


Reflecting on his cricketing journey, Duff said there had been lots of great memories along the way.


“It has flown, definitely,” he said.


“I’ve ticked off a lot of things that I never thought I’d tick off as a cricketer. To play 200 A Grade games, captain the club, coach the club, to do something only one other person has achieved at the club is a massive honour, it is hard to put into words, it’s not something I set out to achieve but I love the club, made a lot of good friends through the club and cricket … it’s been awesome.


“Just the people (have made it great), always loved the people, love the cricket, love the ground, it is the best ground in the competition, enjoyed every minute of it.


“All I ever wanted to do was play cricket and play at the best level I could and try the best that I could, I never thought I was the best cricketer in the league but I try my best every week.”


Fittingly, the man he was joining in the 200 Club was on hand to congratulate Duff on the day.


“Dave came down this morning and we had a chat … he said it was a bit lonely at the top,” Duff joked.


“It’s great that it’s finally happened, we were talking out on the field there is probably six players playing that weren’t even born when I played my first A Grade game.”


The life member has basically done it all on and off the field during his time with Rovers.


Starting out as a wicketkeeper, Duff made his A Grade debut in season 2000/01.


Since then, he has amassed over 3200 runs and taken 158 catches and completed 28 stumpings, to go with 77 wickets since turning his attention to spin bowling a few seasons ago.


During this time he has won two A Grade Club Champion awards, nine batting awards and three bowling awards for Rovers.


In addition, he has also held various roles at committee level for over a decade, notably serving as secretary, treasurer and curator.


As for the immediate future, the 37 year old said he was taking it “one year at a time”.


“I’d love to keep playing, if I feel the body is up to it I’ll keep going,” he said.


Having achieved virtually all there is to achieve in cricket, Duff said there was still one item he wanted to tick off the list – a Rovers premiership.


“It would be the ultimate, that is the only thing left to do,” he said.