Legends inducted into VCCL Hall of Fame

Champion: Jim Merrett unveiling the board of centurions and seven-wicket hauls at Centrals Cricket Club in 2013. His name is on the board 12 times. Photograph spplied





THE first round of inductees into the Victorian Country Cricket League’s Hall of Fame have been made.

Each inductee has made a significant contribution to the sport in one way or another; whether that be as a player, coach, or official.

From the 19 initial inductees, three of them are players from the local area; Alan Anton, Jim Anton and Jim Merrett, and Sale-Maffra legends Barrie Wrigglesworth and Neil Tatterson.

Alan and Jim Anton were Traralgon District Cricket Association Team of the Decade inductees from the 1950s until the 1970s.

Thus, earning the two a spot in the TDCA Team of the Century.

Alan holds four Player of the Year awards (1967/68, 1968/69, 1969/70, 1972/73), three TDCA batting average awards (1959/60, 1966/67, 1968/69) and one bowling average honour (1967/68).

He scored 15 centuries with a top score of 154, and collected three seven-wicket hauls – one included a hat-trick, playing at Country Week from 1947 until 1977, missing just the 1954, 1968 and 1973 campaigns.

To complete his honour list, Alan claimed 13 premierships, was a two-time Country Week and GCL winning captain, and the TDCA C Grade Shield is named after him.

Alan’s brother, Jim, is a two-time Player of the Year (1960/61, 1971/72), holding one batting average award (1962/63), four bowling average awards (1962/63, 1966/67, 1971/72, 1972/73) and one bowling aggregate honour (1966/67).

He scored seven centuries across his career – with a top score of 172, along with six seven-wicket hauls and one eight-wicket haul – two of those a 13-wicket match.

Jim was a 12-time premiership player between seasons 1953/54 and 1974/75.

He, just like brother Alan, was a long-standing Country Week representative, from 1953 until 1975, only missing two seasons (1968 and 1973), winning Country Week premierships on two occasions.

Alongside the Anton’s in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s Teams of the Decade was Jim Merrett, who also earned himself a Team of the Century Selection.

Merrett was a two-time Player of the Year (1962/63, 1964/65), holding two batting average awards (1961/62, 1963/64).

He scored 11 centuries throughout his career, with a top score of 156.

Merrett took 234 wickets (with one hat trick), his best figures being 7/8 in the 1957/58 season against Maroons in the TDCA, closely followed by 7/9 against Monash in the Latrobe Valley District Cricket League (then known as Central Gippsland) in 1955/56.

He collected four premierships throughout his career, while being a Country Week representative on 23 occasions between 1952 and 1975.

Merrett first played for Centrals Cricket Club in 1953, coming from Toongabbie Cricket Club as a teenager.

He finished at Centrals in 1977, and transferred to Maryvale (later Traralgon West).

At club level, Merrett is considered one of Centrals greatest ever cricketers, playing 214 matches for 6867 runs at an average of 39.24.

His only B Grade match was in Round 1 of the 1954/55 season, returning a score of 101 against Yallourn.

Merrett served for more than 20 years on the committee, including long stints on the executive committee, and was club captain for over 10 years.

Sport runs through the Merrett family, as he was the cousin of Collingwood Football Club Team of the Century entrant Thorold Merrett – who is the great uncle of Essendon players Zach and Jackson Merrett.

Merrett, and the two Antons are all TDCA life members, and were inducted into the Harold Brady Memorial TDCA Hall of Fame, joining a small group of over 30 people.

Wrigglesworth and Tatterson are inductees from the Sale Maffra Cricket Association, where they too are life members.

Wrigglesworth is a member of the Team of the Decade in the 1970s – where he was named captain, earning him a selection in the Team of the Century.

Tatterson was named in the 1990s Team of the Decade, which was enough to give him selection for the Team of the Century alongside Wrigglesworth.

Organised by the VCCL, Country Week began in 1922, continuing annually, only stopping for World War 2, droughts or washouts and COVID-19, over the last 100 years.

A re-enactment between Ballarat and Hamilton was played on Sunday, (February 12), to celebrate 100 years of Country Week; those two teams played in the first-ever final in 1922.