An attacking century to setup a memorable win.
#9: SHANE GORDON – 105 vs Gladstone Park. 1st XI. Round 10, 1994/95.
The season of ‘94/95 had everything. It is still one of the most memorable seasons I’ve played.
Lionheart was being re-surfaced – finally. So our home games were at AJ Davis which was actually a really nice ground to play on. A huge improvement from what we were used to. Lionheart was basically a glorified paddock, to the extent that getting your body behind the ball was an occupational hazard. Many a time you’d go down on one knee & then have to duck as you copped what became known as a “Lakers Bounce” and the ball would bobble & jump its way to the boundary. But just our luck, the VERY next day after the ground was seeded, we had a Northerly gale force wind. We turned up to training that night & half the soil and seed had been blown up against the portables – knee-deep!!! Disaster.
New coaches had been appointed – the Hudson brothers – Don & Graeme.
Podge is President.
We’d lost Budge to Keilor CC as he tried his hand on turf (to great success I might add) and we’d lost Cambo for the season as well (can’t remember why) – although the one night he trained will stick in mine & Softy’s (Rob Turner) memories forever. He was in a special mood.
Losing two of our best batsmen really hurt us & the season turned pear-shaped early on. But there were plenty of highlights – The Concord Socks, D Hudson vs Lefeurve mid-over wrestling match, G Hudson’s terry-towelling hat, Podge head-butting the corner of Cam Viola’s car boot, Bobby & Benny Hughes being in the ideal spot to see one of the most spectacular catches of all time……All taking place at AJ Davis. It was our Field of Dreams.
Going into round 10, the final H&A game of the season, we only have 2 wins under our belt. It’s against Gladdy at Gladdy, who need an outright win to make the finals. Legend has it, Gladdy requested could we somehow “help them” in their search for the outright? News of this filters through to the changerooms & the Lakers boys take offence.
I have no idea of any of this as I’m still trying to make my way to the ground after a Melb Uni O-Week camp the night before at Portsea. The only sleep I get is on the train back to St Albans that morning. I am running so late and this is before mobile phones so I’ve got no way of letting anyone know. I leave home at 12:30 in a mad rush. I know the game starts at 1:00 & I’m opening the batting. In my panic, I go to the wrong ground. Stress-O-Rama. I finally arrive at Melrose Dve – 12:55. I’m feeling very seedy & on minimal sleep. Surely I’ll get a leave pass from opening. I open my car door & before my right foot hits the car-park, Turtle yells, “Boon! We’re batting. You’re opening. Whack ‘em on.” Turts helps me get padded up in the car park & I meet
my opening partner Podge on the ground. “Big night Boon?”
As always, I “let” Podge take the first ball. He is the prized wicket in our line-up. An aggressive batsman by nature, Podge is rolling along nicely. I always enjoyed batting with the big fella – he kept things relaxed in the middle & often had some advice for the opposition. Today, I’m doing my best just to survive. Podge then spanks a pull shot low and hard. Danny Viani drops the one-handed half-chance behind square. Danny’s hand is now no good. He fields one-handed for the rest of the game. Podge had a happy knack of being dropped, but looking back, it’s probably because he hit the ball so hard. He tells me as much between overs. The Podge Train is gaining momentum. He launches a flick off his hip at the road end of Gladdy that
clears the boundary by 20 metres, lands at the intersection & then one bounce into a shed in someone’s backyard – BANG!!!! I often wonder if someone was in that shed tinkering at the time. It would’ve scared the absolute bejesus out of them. I meet Podge in the middle of the pitch while the ball is being fetched, “That can’t be good for the ball” is all he says, and then turns and ambles back to the crease, twitching away. He leaves me standing there.
It’s now a demolition as Podge steps it up a gear. He tonnes up just BEFORE tea. Unheard of back then. We get to tea 0/150-odd. Podge on 105. Magic stuff. Podge could blow this game to the shizen-hausen after tea.
First ball after tea, Podge tucks one down to fine leg. We come through for the single. I notice Podge is dawdling but that’s nothing new. Deep fine leg has thrown to the bowlers end. Interesting. In hindsight, I should’ve yelled “You’re end”. But I don’t. Not sure why. I then hear a huge appeal. I turn around & Podge is out – RUN OUT! He would often not run through the crease. He preferred to just plonk his bat over the crease just before the keeper or bowler gathered the ball. Like a little party trick, but it has brought him undone today. I’m bewildered, shattered and filthy all at the same time. He had Gladdy on toast. But we end up 5/360 and win comfortably. It was one sweet innings from Podge & an even sweeter victory.