Congrats Jarrod Leslie on Game 200
Taylors Lakes Cricket Club legend, life member and games record holder Simon Haigh reflects on the TLCC career of fellow club legend, Jarrod Leslie, in the week leading up to the latter's 200th club game.
In a blogless season, despite the public outcry, it’s been hard to find time to add to the institution that is Boony’s Blog. However, I have forced myself to make time this week as club icon Jarrod Leslie, chalks up game number 200 this weekend, becoming only the 7th Laker to do so, and the first to do so since club legend Jamie Hys did so, and announced, “That’s it, I’m done. Life membership thanks Ian.”
My first memories of Jarrod’s career at Lakes are really when he was offered the captaincy of the TLCC 1st XI. In hindsight, it was a crazy move. He was a 20 year old batsman, who simply played the game because he enjoyed it, and there’s no doubt that the hellish season that followed, really tested Jarrod’s love for the game. In charge of a mediocre team at best, Jarrod did his best, but it was a season destined for failure from day one. But in classic J Lo fashion, he persisted, and not once did I hear him whinge about anything, when really, he could’ve been forgiven for stepping away. From then on though, things improved.
I have played a lot of cricket with J Lo in both the 1sts & 2nds. Lots of highs along the way, and of course, lots of lows, which now don’t seem quite so low looking back.
One significant high was when I batted with Jarrod at Lakes in our 1sts against Craigieburn. Craigieburn had two seriously quick bowlers when J Lo & I came together at 2 for 10. From there we must’ve put on 100 or so, both chalking up 50’s, & I still probably rate that partnership the best I’ve ever been a part of, considering the quality of the opposition.
Another high was being fortunate enough to captain Jarrod in our 2010/11 Nth A2 flag. It was the clubs first flag on turf and it was great to see J Lo be a part of that.
One great knock I saw J Lo churn out was against Syd/Hillside at Lakes. I was injured & so ventured down to Lionheart to watch the 2nds & I get there with J Lo on 40-odd. Suddenly he explodes & in the space of 10 overs, he clocks up a ton, absolutely tearing the attack apart. There were shots J Lo played that day that I had never seen him play before, and have not seen him play since. Freakish. As I’ve said to J Lo, “It was a pleasure to be injured so I could see that demolition.”
As many would know, I rate J Lo’s bowling highly. We often laugh about a game against Aberfeldie a few years back when he became a “Wrecking Ball”. I gave J Lo 4 spells this day, each 2 overs in length, & if my memory serves me correctly, he picked up a wicket in each spell – all bowled.
As I mentioned however, there have been some great lows as well. One I often laugh about is Buckley Park had a bowler (Duong) who bowled massive off-cutters, so going away from J Lo. Duong bowled an over to J Lo where every single ball, J Lo poked at it, but could not get bat on it as it cut away. Borgy then faced Duong’s next over & got hit on the thigh pad 6 balls in a row. Funny stuff.
One nasty low was the 2nd XI SF loss to PVC. J Lo was in 1st slip. Catch comes to him in the first over of the day – Brayley is on 0. Catch goes down. Brayley goes on to make 160. And to make things worse, when Jarrod came into bat later on, the PVC boys let him know all about it. J Lo hits a boundary to get off the mark & you hear, “He’s still negative 156 boys. Long way for J Lo to go.” Ironically, J Lo actually batted really well that day making 30-odd, which was a great effort considering the heat he was under. That was the same game Freezer kept with a helmet on to all the bowlers – even when he was keeping back to the medium-pacers!!! Fair to say it was all happening.
But nothing can top J Lo’s hat-trick of run-outs. Coming off his second consecutive run out, J Lo was playing in the 3rds at Diamond Reserve. His running between wickets had become very jittery. He strikes the ball, there’s an easy two, but he hesitates on the 2nd run. The ball is thrown in from the deep point boundary, hits a sprinkler head & proceeds to smash into the stumps. Out! J Lo painfully made his way back to the guys, violently took his pads off, sat on a log, head bowed, just swinging his right leg back & forth digging a hole 2 feet deep. I dared not venture near him. I kept my distance knowing he was hurting but made the mistake of relaying the story to Jamesy. Sorry J Lo.
bove all this though, the one thing that will stick with me forever, is that like me, and many of us at Lakes, is that J Lo takes his cricket seriously. A big score or a few wickets and he’s on top of the world, but a failure with bat or ball & his weekend is ruined. Perhaps not so much nowadays, but that certainly was the case many years ago. So many times J Lo & I have asked eachother, “Why do we play this game?” It torments us all summer for a couple of days of glory, at best. But we keep coming back for more.
So finally J Lo, well done on 200 games mate. It’s taken about 4 seasons longer than it should have though, with injuries, weddings, bucks weekends etc. But finally you’ve got there. I know the club is as proud of your achievement as I am. You’ve been a ripper guy to play cricket with for the best part of 2 decades, with never a foul word being spoken about you. It’s been an absolute pleasure mate (even though you brought Freezie down to the club) & I reckon you’re the best Leslie to have played cricket for TLCC, hands down.
Enjoy your 200th game as it’s the only 200th game you’ll ever play, and I look forward to catching up for a beer next Saturday night. Well done mate from EVERYONE at TLCC.