Colts player and president Dean Arnott is set to bring up another incredible milestone in the Horsham Cricket Association this weekend.
If Arnott strides out for Colts C Grade side on Sunday, it will be his 450th senior HCA match.
Arnott has seen a lot over the years at his beloved club, and RICHARD CRABTREE caught up with the Colts legend for a quick chat.
Dean - how did you join Colts and grow such a love for the club?
My Mum and Dad's house was literally 100 metres away from the oval. That's why I went there to play cricket; I literally just walked down to the oval one day.
I had a few teachers that were part of the club too. One (Phil Lienert) was coaching at the time too, and he really encouraged me along.
I went down there as a 10-year-old and I've been there ever since.
That's pretty incredible dedication.
Well, some guys just hang around at the same club. I've been the president now maybe six times I think, and been on the committee for maybe 30-plus years. It's just what you do.
Playing your 450th this weekend, you must have a fair love for cricket and just the game itself?
I do. That's 450 senior games, so there's a bulk amount of junior cricket on top of that and then maybe 30-40 representative games too.
I'm just wrapped up in Colts. I'm a true blue Colts man. I'm certainly never going anywhere else.
Now, I apologise in advance, but I have to ask about your grand final record. After last year's B Grade grand final, how many have you played in now?
My record is horrible. Two wins and I think I've played in maybe 18 or 19 grand finals. That's a really poor track record.
Playing in them is always a thrill though, I'm sure.
Absolutely. That's what everyone plays for, to have that opportunity to play in grand finals. If you're lucky enough to play in a grand final you just have to grasp your chance. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. That's cricket. We've performed well in a few over the years, but we just haven't quite won the game.
It is what it is. You just have to perform on the day.
Are you still pretty hungry to add to the mantelpiece?
You betcha. 100 per cent. We'd love to win multiple premierships.
My chances are getting slimmer and slimmer because I'm getting older and older every year, but the passion is still there no doubt about that.
You're still enjoying your cricket, then?
I'm still enjoying playing and helping guys out. I'm not performing anywhere near how I used to, but I still love seeing younger guys at the club come through.
My son (Dylan) still plays A Grade and it's lovely chatting to him and seeing how he's going.
Do you get a lot of joy out of playing with Dylan and watching him play his cricket?
For sure. This year I've dropped into C Grade, but previous years it has just put a great big smile on my face walking out on that oval and looking at my son going out to bat.
We haven't got to bat with each other often, but we did in the grand final last year. I didn't do much with the bat but ... it was a bit special.
Your club has been promoted into A Grade this season after last year's grand final - how have the boys gone? Are they enjoying the challenge?
They are enjoying the challenge okay. It would be nice to get their best team on the park. It hasn't happened at this stage, but if they do they would be really competitive with some of the better teams.
But at the moment they have always had someone out which makes it that bit harder. But I think they're doing extremely well. They've accepted the challenge no problems.
And in C Grade, you've got some really young cricketers coming through?
We've got an 11 and a 12-year-old in the C Grade. One of them did a super job on the weekend, young Dylan Newell, he ran out (West Wimmera Warrior's) opening batsmen. That was fantastic.
We've got some great young talent coming through which is great.
I'm sure it's important for to have junior talent coming through. You would have seen significant changes over your time in the association?
You're not wrong. From when I first started their were 10 teams in the junior competition, now we're down to about a handful from Horsham competing in the under-14s I think.
Junior participation has dropped off a bit which is something we need to keep pushing. The association are doing a great job trying to encourage junior kids to play sport.
We're lucky enough at Colts with an under-12s and under-14s, so we're doing our best to add to the junior numbers and get kids participating in cricket which is a good thing.
As the president of the club is there anything you're specifically trying to do to encourage kids to get involved?
We're trying to set a good example with good moral standards. We're trying to give them every possible chance with good coaching and the right advice. Just being respectful to the junior players. Showing these kids that we respect them and listening to what they need.
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