KEN PIESSE takes a look at the new home of Victorian cricket and recalls the days when Keith Miller would halt play to listen to the Cup:
CRICKET VICTORIA’S $40 million pride and joy investment in the Junction Oval is to be part-funded with the proceeds from its soon-to-be-sold Jolimont Terrace headquarters.
Chairman Russell Thomas said the CV’s expansive administrative base had been valued at around $8 million.
“We’re moving everything from Jolimont to the Junction,” he said. “We’re hoping to make the entire move from January. It’s such an exciting time for Victorian cricket to finally have our own headquarters and quality major ground where we can hopefully host a fleet of Shield finals.”
With football dominating the MCG’s early-autumn schedule, Victoria’s last three winning Shield finals have all been interstate, in Hobart, Adelaide and Alice Springs.
The Junction, the long-time home of the powerful St Kilda Cricket Club, will host a late summer Shield game in March between Victoria and NSW.
For more than 80 years, into the 1960s, it was also the home ground for the St Kilda FC and one of the few places where you were guaranteed a drink after hours because of its late licence.
ONCE upon a time, Sheffield Shield cricket was invariably scheduled on Melbourne Cup Day… much to Keith Miller’s annoyance.
Cricket’s charismatic cavalier loved nothing better than strolling the lawns of Flemington during the Cup carnival. His mate Scobie Breasley would ensure entree everywhere. That suited Keith, who had friends from royalty to roustabouts.
Even if he was required to play cricket, “Nugget”, bless him, would always find a way of listening to the big race, even if it meant him going off the oval for 10 or so minutes just around 3 o’clock.
This Tuesday, the final day of the Vic-SA Shield match and others in Hobart and Sydney is likely to create a similar dilemma for dozens of first-class cricketers. Wonder if they will take an early tea break? After all, it is the race that stops a nation.
JOHN Rogers (Chris’s Dad) is a cricket nut who just happens to have his very own “village green” cricket ground, at Strath Creek, just an hour’s easy drive north of Melbourne.
Chris, the ex-Test opener, visits regularly and in December is conducting a three-day live-in camp at the ground which also includes excellent nets and accommodation for two entire teams.
No one in recent memory had a habit of being able to “problem solve” like Chris who resurrected his career in his mid-30s having swapped states and been included in Australia’s 2013 Ashes touring party.
Chris heads a series of quality coaches for one-on-one tuition for 14 to 16-year-old boys. The all-inclusive cost of the coaching, meals and accommodation is $750.
Applications are via the website www.thevg.com.au where Chris has filmed a great video of the Village Green – or ring his Dad John on 5784 9344
LIFE begins at 70 for country boy Ian Gibson, who has been chosen to open the batting for the Victorian Over 70s team at the national Over 70s carnival in Adelaide.
Originally from Wangaratta where his brother still runs the family’s wheat farm, “Gibbo” is a right-hand batsman and agile cover fieldsman who has been to six previous carnivals at Over 60s level for his club team, the Australian Cricket Society.
He says cricket keeps him young. “Why retire if you don’t have to,” he says.
His opening partner at the carnival, Dick Stumbles from Frankston South, has also just turned 70. Dick tuned up for the carnival with a top-score of 40 for the Society in its annual Over 60s game against the Mornington Peninsula Over 60 at Hastings last weekend.
Author: Ken Piesse
KEN PIESSE has covered cricket and football for more than 30 years in Melbourne. He has written, edited and published more than 70 sports books. Signed copies of his latest cricket book Heroes of the Hour, cricket’s quintessential moments from Bradman and Lillee to Warne and Steve Smith, is available from www.cricketbooks.com.au