|Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:20|
There is something I feel I must say on what came to mind at the conclusion of last Sunday’s Carlton v Geelong 1st XI’s Cricket “Final” at the Junction Oval.
Let me paint the picture.
Geelong had batted first and declared 9/409 and in reply Carlton when I arrived were 5/250. I had been following the game on line so I new the Blues Captain Evan Gulbis had taken charge of the game. It was pleasing for me to see him playing and enjoying his cricket.
He was in total control in the middle, composed and picking the runs off without risk. As it turned out he was at the crease at the end hitting the winning runs. It was his first Premiership and the Clubs first Flag since 1980/81.
As I drove away from the ground I began picturing the celebrations. After all I’d lead the attack for the Blues in their previous flag win.
Fond memories came flooding back.
We’d played that final at the Albert Cricket Ground just up the road and the “Albert” as it’s affectionately known, Is a real cricket ground. With wonderful cricketing ambience, charm and tradition. I swear you feel the presence of those who’ve walk its hallowed turf. Yes I remember a time when I stood at the end of my bowling mark to start play, new ball in hand, three slips, a gully, short leg it’s an emotional yet inspirational feeling. Gee! How I miss playing the game.
And then I thought what a tragedy that we had been sitting at the Junction Oval and even with all the money spent on it... the ground meant nothing to me, it lacked class and cricketing demeanour.
I guess if you played for the Saints it might be different but to me it fails to represent our States cricketing heritage.
In truth I have always been suspicious of those who made the decision to spend money on this ground. It smells to much of a St Kilda past player involvement, a conflict of influence. I wonder if other Clubs feel the same way or if our games representatives (Delegates) had been asking questions about this decision.
In any case, I began asking myself... what has Victorian Cricket become? I have been critical and have voiced my opinions and changes are being made... but all to slowly. "Cricket House" is over populated and cricket in our State is not benefitting... hasn't for a lobg time.
For this competition was once most prestigious competition in our Land and somehow it has been reduced to the insulting standard known as “Community Cricket”.
Who is responsible for this injustice and who is to blame for demeaning our cricket?
When Carlton last won the Premiership the competition it was known as VCA’s District 1st XI Final and Australian Test Cricketer Keith Stackpole was one of the Captains. Our opponents were Richmond Cricket Club lead by Australian Test Captain Graham Yallop and both sides boasted other home grown Test and First Class cricketers.
Watching on last Sunday, it was obvious those on the field of play were well prepared. They were proud to be out there battling it out, they were fit athletic men’s and as a former player I was proud of them.
And yet why is competition not recognised as elite?
How is this competition not our States best... is there any other cricket played in Victoria better?
No there isn’t, nothing compares!
Let’s consider this... The birth of District Cricket can be traced back to the early 1800’s from there the players past and present formed an Association that became the Victorian Cricket Association. The Cricketers of that time put plans in place for the game.
These men had great foresight in wanting to nurture, pass on and uphold traditions. They were honouring those who played and those of future generations... the records prove this!
So why are the traditions of the past no longer valued and why undermine the honour of those before us?
More importantly there must be those within the game’s administration who believed they are above those of us who have been there and done that in the game to make decisions to change things. To take away the things we cherish, the history so important for those who aspire to emulate the feats of the champions before us?
Wake up Cricketers, there are those within the administration of the game (Not only in Victoria) who fail to appreciate it. The game has or is electing or appointing personnel seeking personal status rather wanting to guard the status quo.
Those unable to achieve on the field and fear of those who’ve succeeded in the game. Those frightened others know more and might expose them. How else can you explain the dismantling and downgrading of our Cricket... it has happened because we’ve appointed unworthy unqualified personnel to run the game. They dishonour those worthy and have failed all before them.
And it’s not just our beloved District Competition they’ve dismantled, it is the coaching and pathway structures that did make our State Cricket the best in the Nation.
You only need to look closely at the two talented Teams fighting it out last weekend. Here was evidence that a great cricketing structure existed... two home grown 1st Class Cricketers leading their perspective clubs.
Tim Ludeman Captain Coach of Geelong and Evan Gulbis... both Carlton home grown cricketers.
Both men worthy of representing our State with teams mates who deserve every opportunity cricket in this State can provide and yet no one seems to understand this.
And each Club worthy of being the winner of Victoria’s elite cricket competition, “District Cricket”, but never in my mind should it be a lowly “Community Cricket Competition”, we can find that type of cricket else where.