#11: PAUL CUTAJAR – 108 VS Gladstone Park. 1st XI. Round 9, 2005/06.

Tuddy came to Lakes at the request of captain/coach Danny Viani. Danny repeatedly told us, “Tuddy goes alright. He hits a big ball.”

It’s round 7 and we’ve only won 1 game. We’ve been putrid & Tuddy hasn’t fired a shot. He’s made 66 runs for the season @ 16.5. We’re at home to Roxburgh Park – a team we “should” beat. Comfortably.

We bat first and get bowled out for 107 off 32 overs. Embarrassing. I’m umpiring at square leg and see Tuddy get clean bowled for 9 to a pretty average medium pacer. He nearly falls over at the crease as he tries to play a full ball. At tea I say to Budge, “I don’t see what all the fuss is with Tuddy. I don’t reckon he can bat.” Roxburgh Park pass us 6 down. An awful loss.

We squeeze out a win in the last game before Christmas to be 2 wins, 4 losses & 2 draws at the break. But Tuddy fails again – out for 2. He’s now averaging just 12.

Christmas provides Tuddy the break he desperately needed. He re-evaluates his career. He knows he has more to offer. First game after Xmas is a one-dayer at Gladdy. Tuddy is thrust into the opening position, and I must admit, my expectations weren’t high.

TUDDY EXPLODES!!!! I can’t believe what I’m seeing. He is on absolute fire. This is what Danny is talking about. This is what all the fuss is about. I join Tuddy at 3/97. He is already in the 70’s. I watch him continue to pound the Gladdy attack relentlessly. He brings up his ton, but goes out shortly after for 108. The team score is only 135 when he goes out!!!

We end up making 226 off our 40 overs but it isn’t enough. Shep gets us again. BUT, a sleeping giant has awoken. Tuddy will go on a magical run-scoring frenzy for the remainder of the season.

Before Xmas – 77 runs @ 12.8

After Xmas – 348 runs @ 49.7. Tuddy wins the batting average award & Club Champ. An amazing turnaround.

Tuddy’s knock has ignited the team. We are on the march, but a tough loss to PVC in the 2nd last round (#21 D James) was a fatal blow and made finals almost impossible.

We need to beat Roxburgh Park outright in the final game to make the finals as we are 5th, and 3rd is playing 4th. It’s a slim chance, but still a chance. We hold up our end of the deal (in controversial circumstances) – Tuddy makes 46 & 49 hitting some of the biggest 6’s I’ve seen. After he is dismissed, Tuddy walks past Rusty, a lusty hitter in his own right, winks, and says, “Beat that.” Tuddy has the top off now, he’s got the music pumping, flexing his eggs. He’s going off. I look at Chops - he is as bewildered as I am. “Look at these Johnny. Look at the eggs.”

I’ve gone straight home after the game for a shower & I’m buzzing that we’ve made finals after winning just 2 games before Xmas. I get to the club expecting plenty of razzle & dazzle, but it’s like a morgue. Danny informs me that Campbellfield (3rd) and Buckley Park (4th) have orchestrated a tie!!!! They share the points & so our outright win means naught…..I’m speechless.



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