A first XI first.
#17. GRANT CAMPBELL – 137 vs Hadfield. 1st XI. 1993/94
Cambo & I opened the batting on a hot, windy day against Hadfield at Lionheart. Hadfield was always an interesting opponent, mainly due to their somewhat intimidating opening bowler – Bob English. He was reasonably paced but VERY unpredictable. As an opening batsman, you knew it wasn’t going to be your average day at the crease.
So Cambo & I get off to a reasonable start. We get through the opening bowlers unscathed and then Cambo starts to build. We are still there at tea – 0/120-odd with Cambo in the 80’s.
Taylors Lakes had joined Luscombe Shield 1sts in the late 80’s but since that time, no Laker had made a ton playing top grade 1st XI cricket. (Centuries had been made by 1st XI Lakers before then, but TLCC wasn’t playing in the top grade). The talk at tea was all about Cambo – was he about to change all that?
Cambo gets himself into the 90’s, his determination unwavering. The summit is tantalisingly close. I’m feeling nervous for him. I know how much this would mean to him. He then plays his customary slog sweep. Top edge to short fine leg for what appears to be a regulation catch. I’m shattered, & I can only imagine how Cambo feels. Bob English is parked under the ball but he doesn’t look comfortable as the ball is swirling with the huge amount of back-spin on it combined with the wind. He lunges forward at the last second as the wind violently grips the ball - DROPPED!!!
Over is called & I can see Cambo’s grin as soon as I turn around. We meet in the middle & I say, “How did he drop that?” Cambo replied, “It had a lot of spin on it. The ball was oblong.”
That was all the luck Cambo needed. Five minutes later, Grant becomes the 1st Laker to make a ton in the top grade. He brings up his ton with his signature shot – the slog-sweep 6!!! We embrace in the middle & I can still see the pride in Cambo’s face today as he looked over to the boys. Grant is finally dismissed on 137 with the score on 195 which still remains the highest opening stand in the 1sts. Not only had Grant written himself into the Lakers history books, but he had shown us, a group of young men in our early 20’s, what we were capable of.
Our time was coming.