Congrats Chops 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 and life member, John Markham, in the week leading up to the latter's 200th club game.
There are moments in a clubs history that can alter its course for the next decade and beyond. At TLCC there have been several, but there is one Tuesday night training in the 2003/04 season that stands above all.
In 03/04, TLCC is still playing in the NWCA on synthetic, where the gloss and euphoria of its First XI Premiership in 98/99 had well and truly dissipated. A 21 year old by the name of Jarrod Leslie is captaining the 1sts, a huge task for such a young man, particularly as the depth of talent at the club is thin at best.
It’s a Tuesday night early in the season and we are training out in the middle. It’s a fairly mundane session, and the fact that an ex-district 1st XI cricketer has attended, has escaped everyone’s notice. He fields while everyone has a hit, and when training has finished, he hasn’t been asked to bowl or bat. He leaves training, and when asked at home how training went, he says, “I just fielded. Didn’t bat or bowl. But that’s ok. I’ll go back Thursday.”
Budgie wasn’t present on the Tuesday night, and while chatting in the portables on the Thursday before training, someone (Rob Arnold I think) said, “Hey, there was a guy here Tuesday night. John Markham. Think he played a bit of cricket for Avondale.” Budge was in shock. He knew of Chops’ cricketing prowess and what a GREAT addition he would be to the club. We needed to make sure Chops made TLCC his new home. Thankfully he did.
From his first game at Lakes, Chops’ influence on the game, and his teammates was pronounced. He helped Jarrod navigate his way through a really rough season and started to lead the club out of its slumber.
Chops’ next decade at TLCC was something special, which culminated in him being an integral part of the Lakers 1st XI 3-Peat of 06/07, 07/08 & 08/09. His batting spoke for itself, making the most runs in in the 1sts in 03/04, 04/05 & 08/09. He would win the 1st XI Batting Award in 06/07, 08/09 & 12/13. He also won the 1st XI Bowling Average in 06/07.
He won the Comp Batting Avge in 06/07 & was Player of the Grand Final in 07/08 & 08/09. His 08/09 season was out of this world – 738 runs @ 61.0. Incredible. He was Club Champion in 03/04 & 04/05 and the Charlie Attard Medallist in 06/07. Chops sits 4th on the all-time run scorer list for TLCC, and has made more centuries (9) than any other Laker. There simply is no more highly decorated Laker than Chops.
It would be hard to argue that if John Markham hadn’t walked onto Lionheart Oval in 2003/04, that we would’ve been so successful over the next decade.
So 17 years after that fateful Tuesday night, Chops plays his 200th game for TLCC. There is no doubting his talent with both bat and ball, but it’s been his competitiveness, his aggression, his intent, his fight, his honesty, his consistency….. these are the things his teammates admire most. We all walk taller when Chops is in the team. Any team with Chopper in it, is going to be competitive. And I dare say, that if you were picking a Laker to play for your life, he’d be first picked.
So Chopper, congratulations on playing 200 games at Lakes. You have been an icon, an inspiration, a teammate of the absolute highest calibre, and simply a great mate to play cricket with.