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A passion for Scotch cricket

Victorian Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd helped to get the Scotch 2011/12 cricket season off to a great start.

WORDS: MR DAVID ARMSTRONG – PRESIDENT, MCLEOD CLUB, AND MR GRANT WATSON – SENIOR SCHOOL STAFF

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Victorian Coach Greg Shipperd presents Cameron Melville (Yr 10) with his 1st XI cap.

On 8 November the Scotch cricket community gathered for the annual season launch dinner, held in the Cardinal Pavilion and hosted by the McLeod Club.

The club was formed in 2003 to help build the cricket community at Scotch, and to strengthen links between the school cricket program, parents and Old Boys. The McLeod Club embraces all those who love the game, and includes players, staff, families and – importantly – members of the Old Scotch Cricket Club (OSCC).

The current Scotch College 1st XI had played the OSCC’s 1st XI for the Hec Ingram Trophy a few days before the dinner. The Old Boys were successful, so at the season launch dinner it fell to Scotch’s Captain of Cricket, Matt Mitchell (Year 11), to present the trophy to Matt Dickinson, vice-captain of the OSCC.

The association between the clubs has also been strengthened during the last season, as a number of school players have played with the Old Boys’ teams. This gives the younger players an outstanding opportunity to compete against adult cricketers, but with the support of very capable Old Scotch players, many of whom have played Victorian Premier cricket. The experience gained is valuable when the boys then represent the school team against student rivals.

The guest speaker at the season opening dinner was Greg Shipperd, a former first-class cricketer and current coach of the Victorian Bushrangers. Greg drew on his vast experience as both player and coach to share a range of anecdotes with his audience. He also imparted the benefit of the wisdom and knowledge of the game he has picked up during more than 40 years of involvement.

His passion for the game was transparent as he described his various roles and encounters with a broad range of players including top-notch internationals. He has also coached the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League for four years, and has accepted another role as coach of the Melbourne Stars Twenty20 side, to feature in this season’s new addition to the summer program, the Big Bash League. After his successful stint in the IPL, Greg is looking forward to this challenge on home soil.

Greg imparted something of his wisdom to the boys present and gave a commitment to return to Scotch to share his knowledge specifically with the boys of the 1st XI. This will be a wonderful opportunity for the boys to encounter a coach of such high standing, and will be sure to add further to the meticulous preparation of the squad already undertaken by 1st XI co-coaches, Mr Ian Frazer and Mr John Murphy.

Mr Gary Peckham (Director of Cricket) and Mr Murphy also addressed the gathering, sharing their thoughts about, and hopes for, the season ahead. Each spoke with a passion for the sport and a genuine desire that each Scotch boy who takes to the field under a red cap this season will do so in the spirit of the game, and with a will to give of his best.

John followed his address by introducing each member of the 1st XI squad, who were presented with their caps by guest of honour, Greg Shipperd.

One of the highlights of the evening was the inspiring address given by Captain of Cricket, Matt Mitchell. Matt spoke with genuine feeling, clearly expressing his, and his team’s, determination to make a genuine impact on the APS competition this season.

McLeod Club president Mr David Armstrong and his committee are to be congratulated for arranging such a great evening; and thanks also go to the MC, Nick McCallum, for the fine job he did in holding it all together.

At the time of writing the first two rounds of the APS season had been played, the first game resulting in a crushing 178-run win for the 1st XI over traditional rivals, Wesley, on Wesley’s home turf in St Kilda Road. The win featured excellent performances by Amrith Eldridge (Year 11) with the bat – 143 off just 119 balls – and Seb Armstrong (Year 11) with the ball – 5 wickets for 21. It was a highly positive start to the season.

Nine other Scotch teams also took the field in the first round for seven wins and just two creditable losses.

The 1st XI’s second round fixture against Xavier was not so successful, with Scotch in a precarious position before wet weather forced the game to be abandoned.

We encourage all Scotch cricketers to play hard but fair, respect their opponents and give it their best for the famous cardinal, gold and blue.