Writer reflects on cricketing journey to 100 games

Milestone man: The Express’ own Liam Durkin played his100th A Grade game at the weekend. photograph zoe askew



ON Saturday, December 3, I played my 100th A Grade game for the Trafalgar Cricket Club.
My thanks to everyone who sent well wishes, and to my teammates over the years for the memories so far.
When I started out, my aim was to win a premiership and play 100 first grade games, so it is satisfying to now have both those items ticked off.
Unfortunately the result on the weekend couldn’t have gone much worse – losing off the very last ball of the game.
Someone was right when they said there is no justice in cricket.
That aside, it was interesting to briefly reflect on the journey.
Our opening bowlers on the weekend were the same two opening bowlers who took the new ball when I made my A Grade debut just over a decade ago.
As a club, we have been fortunate to have strong continuity over a long period of time, which has in turn, made it an enjoyable place to be.
My thanks also to opposition clubs for their hospitality and for the challenge of competition.
In my line of work as a reporter, it can be difficult at times to put allegiances aside, but all clubs and players across the league, and the region for that matter, have shown understanding and support, which has been greatly appreciated.
For the sake of reader interest, I have attempted to choose a Greatest XI I’ve played against.
For context, while I did play against the likes of Matt Clarke and Davin Charleston, I got them when they were well past their prime. This team also discounts
International players, of which there have been many great players grace Gippsland fields.
While choosing just 11 was a difficult task, it only highlights the quality of competition that has been around the area for some time.
My Greatest XI is: Anthony Bloomfield (Latrobe), Mark Cukier (Morwell), Andrew Philip (Moe), Rob Phoenix (Moe, Mirboo Nth), John Keighran (Churchill), Shane Peters (Mirboo Nth), Brad Knowles (Raiders), Rob Webber (Morwell, Centrals), Brendan Brincat (Morwell), Chris Johnson (Moe, Latrobe), Dale Banks (Mirboo Nth).
If I had to choose one, I would rate Brad Knowles as the greatest cricketer I’ve played against.
Andrew Philip is the best batsman I’ve bowled to, and Chris ‘Tassie’ Johnson the best bowler I’ve faced.
Moving forward, I’d just like to keep winning games of cricket, and hopefully be able to contribute a bit more with bat and ball. I don’t think it is any great secret I have just filled a spot on the team-sheet in a lot of those 100 games.
That being said, I’m proud to have kept my spot most weeks and to have kept going.
Bowling medium pace means you naturally fall down the pecking order, and on last count, I’ve been axed close to 30 times before getting to 100.
Longer term, I want to be there when the ribbon is finally cut on our turf wicket oval,
whenever that may be, and to also get overseas and play during the English summer.
I’ve always put off playing overseas for fear of missing out on a footy flag, and I think I’ll do the same until I concede it is no chance of happening or I feel I have played enough games to warrant retiring.
Professionally, I also want to be here for the Commonwealth Games, so I expect to be tied
to The Express at least until then.
And this will never happen, but I’ll say it anyway.
As a cricket tragic, I would love to play just one game against Peter Siddle, him playing for Latrobe, and me for Traf.