Horsham Saints' quick Jono Carroll never thought he'd progress through the ranks to be leading his beloved club's A Grade attack.
MATT CURRILL caught up with the opening bowler to look back on how it all began, his family's connection to the Saints and the origins of the infamous chainsaw celebration.
MC: So, Jono, thanks for having a chat. Let's go right back, how did you first get into cricket?
JC: Well, my cricket career sort of started off with me coming down to (Coughlin Park) on a Sunday morning and doing some Milo cricket.
Was it a family thing? Does cricket run through the family?
Well, Dad used to play when he was young. I guess it sort of ran in the family, that if he did something, I'd pick it up as well.
So were there days where you'd go down and watch the old man play? Do you remember much from those times?
Oh yeah, I remember one B Grade season he didn't win a toss, that was quite funny. That was definitely a bit interesting. But I definitely enjoyed watching him play and watching (my brother) Josh play in the juniors as well.
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Serious might not be the right word, but when did cricket start to become more of a bigger thing for you?
Probably when I was about 12 or 13 or so, when I was hitting high school. I got to mix in with different mates and everything else from different high schools. That's where my passion really kicked on, and I wanted to go further (with cricket).
So when you first started cricket was there anyone you immortalised or tried to emulate in the backyard?
I was a big Mike Hussey and Gilly fan. I used to love watching them clearing the pickets.
They're two left-handed, aggressive batsmen...
Which I'm not, but I like those guys. Then (I used to love) watching Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee going about their work.
That's a good segue. You're known by plenty in cricket circles as Binga, where did that nickname come from?
Well, that nickname came about in my first A Grade game a couple of years ago, thanks to Justtin Combe. He started yelling 'let's get behind Binga here', and it's pretty much stayed.
Did Justtin ever explain why he dubbed you Binga?
No. I'm a fast bowler, and that's about it really. That's where it came from, and it's stuck ever since.
So what came first, the nickname or the infamous chainsaw celebration that you like to whip out from time to time?
Probably the Binga nickname first, then whenever I got a wicket the boys would give me the 'go on, if your nickname is Binga, you've gotta do the chainsaw'.
What motivates you to break out the chainsaw? What's the perfect situation?
If two batsmen are set in, and they don't look they're getting out for a while, and I come on and break that partnership, I might break out (the chainsaw). You know, 'the let's go, bang, bang' and let everyone know.
You always draw a bit of stick from your teammates for doing it.
I do. I don't care about that. It fires me up a bit more. It stirs the fire in the pot.
Do you remember much from your first A Grade game?
It was a great game. I think it was against Rup-Minyip at Coughlin Park. Rup made 215-odd. We didn't chase it down, but it was all good memories. I hadn't played many B Grade games before that, and I got asked at training: 'what are you doing this weekend. Well, guess what, you're going to be playing your first A Grade game.' I haven't looked back since.
How old would have been? Any nerves?
I reckon I would have been 15, and I was very nervous. But, I embraced it like I do every game.
What is it like coming from being that C Grade bowler, young tacker, to now be leading the A Grade attack?
It's something that I never thought would happen, to be quite honest. Having played in C Grade for a few years, then a handful of games in B Grade, I never thought I would be opening the bowling in A Grade.
Credit has to go to some of my junior coaches: Tim Lannen, Kingsley Dalgleish, Dad and Jeremey Byrne. They've always helped me improve.
I enjoy it, and I always want to get the best results for the team, not for myself.
Is it pretty special playing for the same club as nearly all your family members?
Yeah, it is. I've always been a Saint, and I always will be. I can't see myself going anywhere else.
You got to play with your brother Josh at the weekend after he got out of Melbourne. What was that like?
I really enjoyed it. It's something I've only done twice. But every time he comes home, I really enjoy it, because he always pushes me to get the best out of myself. He always wants to push the other J Carroll, rather than himself.
Do you have any favourite cricket memories?
Probably playing with Josh and Dad. Or, winning a few premierships in the under-16's. I've always wanted an A Grade premiership as well; hopefully, that is not too far away.
Here's a chance to stitch someone up? What's the funniest thing you've seen on a cricket field?
Well, it was probably from an umpire in an under-16's game. A batsmen hit four runs, and the umpire's called it one short. I don't know how that works when you hit a boundary.
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