TIM BELL made a stunning return to A Grade cricket with the Horsham Saints last round, notching a quickfire century and taking a couple of handy wickets.
But for those familiar with Bell’s sporting career, Saturday’s performance would not have been surprising.
He last played for the Horsham Saints in 2010, before moving back to Warracknabeal and the family farm and playing with St Mary’s in the Wimmera-Mallee Cricket Association.
It was in those St Mary’s teams that Bell had some of his best performances, particularly in three consecutive grand final wins.
“That was a pretty lucky day,” Bell humbly said.
“I hadn’t bowled very well all year. I probably hadn’t even taken 10 wickets for the year I wouldn’t reckon.”
The next two seasons Bell proved it wasn’t a fluke. He took five wickets in the grand final the following year and 8-41 the year after that. He also chipped in 72 runs with the bat in 2014, as St Mary’s won a hat-trick of premierships.
“I had a couple of pretty good grand finals,” he said. “That was a pretty successful time for the cricket club. We had a really good team and a really good bunch of blokes. I’m glad we got to enjoy some success.”
Bell also had a decent football career. While he describes himself as “not much of a footballer”, lengthy stints with Noradjuha-Quantong and the Warrack Eagles suggest Bell was a bit better than average.
“I played nearly 200 games for Noradjuha-Quantong – I played some interleague for the District League when I was there,” he said.
“I played at Warrack in a couple of losing grand finals when Steve and Grant Schultz were there. I played in a seconds granny that we won as well. I probably would’ve played over 100 games there.”
Bell moved to his wife’s home in Bairnsdale in East Gippsland between 2014-2016, but returned to play a handful of games with St Mary’s over the last two seasons.
He’s now returned to the Horsham Saints, but Bell said his smashing century that included 15 fours and seven sixes in his first game back in A Grade at the weekend might be a bit misleading.
He’s hoping to be more of a veteran than a big-hitter.
“I’d like to think I’m a bit less of a slogger than I used to be,” he said. “Even if the weekend didn’t show it.
“I’m getting towards the later part of my career so it’s good to take some of the stuff I’ve learned and teach it to some others – kids like Jono Carroll and Josh Hedt, giving them a few tips out there.”