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Callen Cricket Pty Ltd  

WillowBlue it's Australian for English Willow

Doggy's Blog

Doggy's Blog

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To the Australian Bowling Coaches

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:25 PM

Well done to India, Australia were not good enough on the day but to walk away from that defeat when falling just short and saying that the Indians were in a class above, is a cop out.

In truth we were let down by our the bowling line up.

But why?

Let’s take a look at them; Cummins who was the best of the bowlers started fairly (3 an over off his first 5), but his last 5 conceeded 40 (10/0/55/1). 

His opening partner, Starc began well also, going for just 2 an over for his first three. His last 7 however, were a humiliation, costing him 67 (10/0/74/1 with 42 off them off just 7 deliveries).

Coulter-Nile’s 10/1/63/1, 38 of those runs off just 7 deliveries and then we have Stoinis; 7/0/63/2 seemed to be on a spending spree trying to buy wickets. The same could also be said with Zampa 7/0/60/2.

Which means Maxwell (7/0/45/0) was our second most cost effective bowler.

So given the above; I have to ask this question.

Who is in charge of this bowling group?

It appears to me, that none of the bowlers have the ability to think or adapt under pressure.

In particular the quicks cannot put the ball in the same place twice and worse; they haven’t the ability to work to a plan. For example they lack the ability to find lines or use the crease to that advantage those line by creating or varying angles.

This fact alone, suggest the coaching staff have absolutely no understanding of the basic principle, of getting in close to stumps at delivery (a concept used so well by Glen McGrath).

For goodness sake... think about the game; And yes! Your own game, think about what it is that you do best. This might also involve having the intestinal fortitude to stick to that plan, have confidence in your abiliity to excecute disiplines. 

One other thing... it helps to hit the pitch on line with length and seam up everytime. 

The Mankading of the Australian Cricket Willow Project!

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:25 PM

I write this post in reply to Age Journalist "Mark Russell" who was too lazy to do any research.  Instead his derogatory "Article" about me, has remained on the Age website since 2005; And

Because of recent comments on social media about the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Project (ACBWP), Australian Cricket Willow Pty Ltd (ACW), the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Trust (ACBWT) and Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS).

This is my story:

In 1995 former Fitzroy Cricket Club Captain Tom Cullen (TC) became a partner in my business Callen Cricket Bats Pty Ltd. Our idea was to re establish the Cricket Bat Willow industry in Australia.

Not long after joining me, TC introduced a friend he described as a multi-millionaire (The Money Man), as I like to call him. His real name is Edward Ashley Murphy (EAM). 

As a result of us meeting and on the basis the “Money Man” fund the project, meeting all its expenses, he would be given an equal stake holding and a Directorship in the ACBWP.

This responsibility also included the raising of a prospectus, an idea TC took from “Southern Blue Gum” the only difference, we were going to grow Cricket Bat Willow (The link below tells a sorry tale of TC's idea as a result of it being stolen by charlatans who lied and misinformed everyone involved including Investors). 


The first and most important aspect of the project was to find suitable land to grow the trees and with advice from from Ross Bickford and Dr. David Flinn from the Centre of Forest Tree Technology, we’d found the perfect site. 200 acres of Yarra river flats at Healesville belonging to the Shire of Healesville. The price to purchase this land was $200,000 and the "Money Man" had agreed to put up the money. All we had to do was wait for the approval to be passed in Chambers by Shire Councillors.

There was also another site at Lilydale on the Olinda Creek Flats belonging to Yarra Water that had been made available to us with all the water we needed.

EAM knew all this and of course that TC and I had already established the first Healesville Plantatioin and a nursey of 20,000 English Willow trees so planting the area out would not be a problem. 

However, by the time council voted to sell us the 200 acres the "Money Man” had, without our knowledge, (I was overseas and TC interestate) removed all of our English Willow trees, transporting them to Wood Wood along the Murray River, were he was planting them for the prospecus. If you’ve driven to Mildura along the Murray Valley Hwy you might have noticed the ACBWP sign.

Since that time, many things have been written and said between me and the "Money Man”. But all of this is irrelevant, because we are now in possession of the facts, proving every decision or conversation we had ever had with EAM was based on hidden agendas, lies or misinformation.

The following provides the background history:

Many had thought of trying to re-establish the Cricket Bat Willow in Australia. The undisputed fact is... I have actually achieved this and given all that has taken place, I reckon it gives me more credability than EAM or his cohorts could ever hope to have. 

My first Cricket Bat Willow site inspection took place at Stacey’s Bridge in 1985. Friends of mine, former Australian Athletes Rhonda Mallender, her late husband John and training partner Gary Cantwell had passed on information and site locations where Crockett had taken cricket bat willow from farms near Yarrum.

Paul Jones former Northcote Cricketer from Alexandra was with me when we took timber samples from properties in that area to make bats.

From 1976 –1993 I had spent much of my time training, researching and studying the history of the industry and by 1993, I was selling the Callen Bats all over World.

Unknown to me, Lachlan Fisher of Straight Six Bats in Blackburn (now Fisher Bats) had also been researching the industry and had established plantings from cuttings taken from the old Crockett Plantation at Shepherds Flat.

Please note; Fisher was adamant cricket bat willow trees could not be grown in Plantation format (Re his promotional brochures) but has since changed his attitude with the obvious success of the MacLaren Plantation at Healesville.

The truth is… willow is a noxious weed, an environmental pest that invades the waterways and chokes rivers, creeks and streams. Authorities in Australia had banned the planting of Willow throughout the country and they were working tirelessly to remove this pest and restore the natural riparian environment along all watercourses all over our country.

Under Fishers concept Cricket Bat Willow cuttings where planted anywhere and without permit... on the other hand TC and I had spent years working with the Centre for Forest Tree Technology (later the Forest Science Centre), Ecology Australia, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Upper Yarra Valley Dandenong Ranges Authority, Murray Darling Basin Fresh Water Research Centre, Melbourne Water, Shire of Healesville, Shire of Yarra Ranges and Minister of Sport and Recreation and Racing in order to obtain permits to plant Cricket Bat Willow in Australia.

It was on the 6th of January 1995 that TC and I were finally granted PERMITS for a Plantation of Cricket Bat Willow on the Watts and Yarra River flood plain we leased from the Healesville Amateur Racing Club. (I continue to lease this area today)

Enter the "Money Man" EAM. 

In May 1995 ACW was set up with TC, EAM and myself as Directors. It is important to note that the Registered Office was the "Callen Business Centre" 50 Mt Dandenong Rd. East Ringwood Victoria and CCB was working full time for ACW. By 1997 TC and I had put in place many strategies for the ACBWP. As Directors TC and I had initiated the following: 

• Resolved that ACW lease or purchase 200 acres of Yarra River flats at Healesville for the next plantation.

• Resolved that the ACBWT be established as owners of the ACBWP and that ACW be the Trustee.

• Resolved that the mission of ACBWT be to establish a prospectus.

• Resolved that a booklet, “The Romance of the Cricket Willow”, be prepared by IC.

• Resolved that the ACBWT Deed be prepared by Solicitor Michael Long.

• Resolved ACBWT become the owner of the ACBWP and the intellectual knowledge and Idea of IC and TC.

• Resolved that 500,000 units issued in the Trust, 50,000 units each to IC and TC and 50,000 units to EAM when he fulfilled his funding obligations. A further 50,000 units set aside for others by TC and I felt we should consider for work done.

• Resolved that 300,000 units be used for acquiring a 90% interest in the trees at Healesville Racetrack to be increased from 1200 to 1500 and the remaining units be used to produce a public offering prospectus.

• Resolved that the ACBWT be the sole supplier of cricket bat willow setts (trees) to the proposed public offering prospectus or any other plantings undertaken by the project.

• Resolved that a valuation be carried out on the trees at Healesville to determine a price ACBWT would pay.

• Resolved that initial funds raised by the ACBWT be put toward an interest in 1500 trees valued @ $100 ea belonging to IC & TC.

• Resolved that ACBWT contract CCB as the Maintenance Manager of 1500 trees at a rate of $7.50 per tree per year, subject to CPI and that this was to apply to any other plantings undertaken by the project.

• Resolved that ACBWT licence CCB as its sole grower/nursery provider of cricket bat willow setts (trees).

• Resolved that the 40-acre site at the Lilydale Treatment Plant would become the ACBWT Consumer Reward Program plantation.

These records of the resolutions are recorded in the Minutes of Meetings file and which have always remained with me.

On the 1st May 1997 as Directors of ACW the Trustee for the ACWT, we (IC, TC, EAM) signed the "ACBWT Deed".

By this stage a number of EAM's cohorts (hanger on's) were sniffing about everywhere. Michael James Camilleri more commonly known as James Camilleri, (we found had spent time in the "Big House" for fraud). Then there is John McDonald, every time he opens his mouth, his teeth just about drop out of his head (In the link above McDonald, now Director of ACBWPMS states; "that planting at Wood Wood was the company's best option for growing English willow. "The forestry people recommended Wood Wood as a better growing location." He knows this is not true... he's a liar). He and EAM knew very well that TC and I had all the best scientific information from the real experts.

Then we had the "Fence Sitters", hanging around like bad smells were Doug Warren-Smith (DWS) and a former Victorian team mate of mine, Paul Anthony Hibbert (PAH) who tried to hide his addiction to alcohol by drinking Listerene (We found bottles of it stashed all over the place... and so bad was he that he believed the project was his idea. 

Our downfall came on or about the 24th of July 1997 when EAM secretly lodged documents to ASIC's removing TC and I as Directors of ACW. He then issued new Shareholdings in ACW (of course, without first offering those shares to TC and I, the original shareholder) this reduce our ownership in the Project to a minority.

In the wash up, it wasn't until the 25th June 2004 that TC and I were able to get to the bottom of everything that had taken place.

The evidence we needed was found when we discovered the existence of a second ACBWT Deed with the same dated as the original (1st May1997), but this one was signed by EAM and PAH as Director of ACW. Unfortunately for the Money Man and PAH, ASIC records show the Trust Deed cannot be legal as PAH who signed as Director of ACW (The Trustee of ACBWT) Had not been appointed Director until the July 1997 (2 months after they'd signed the bogus Deed).

EAM’ and his cohorts had been found out. If you invested money in the Trust, TC and I tried to help you all but you refused to help us. Fitzroy Doncaster Cricket Club (FDCC) were investors in the original Trust, but rather than support TC or I, who they knew set up the Trust the invested in and knew about the fraud against us, they chose to deal with EAM... I found a letter from FDCC asking EAM to sell their Units... so they didn't invest in Healesville at all, as was claimed on social media last week.

The discovery of Bogus Trust Deed proves that as early as May 1st 1997 EAM and his cohorts had been wrongfully and maliciously conspiring to defraud and injure us, along with our families, our employees, our businesses and the public in order to take ownership of the Australian Cricket Willow Project for their own personal gain and they did this as follows:

In pursuance and in furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:

(a) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongly and in breach of their employment contract of service and the spirit of the ACBWP secretly replaced the names of the original Unit Holders from the original ACBWT Deed (True Deed) with their own names or Associated Companies to produce a false ACBWT Deed (Bogus Deed); and

(b) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and illegally presented themselves as Directors of ACW in Breach of the Corporations Act and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) signed and sealed the Bogus Deed and presented themselves as the owners of the ACBWP and the Bogus Deed as the True Deed.

In Pursuance and furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:

(a) On or about the 14th of July 1997 and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 51ac began providing misinformation and misrepresentation to IWC, TLC and their business associates to induce and cause injury to their businesses and others; and

(b) On or about July 25th 1997 and in breach of the Articles of Association and the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) secretly wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC to remove the two original and true Directors; and

(c) On or about March 1998 EAM and cohorts formed the company Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS) with the objective of persuading and inducing associates in the employ of IWC and TLC to break their contract of employment or service with their business and to cease work for them and become employed by ACBWPMS; and

(d) On or about July 24th 1998 and in breach of the Articles of Association and section 254d of the Corporations Act wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC and issued shares of the same class without resolution or offering shares of the same class to the original share holders; and

(e) In or about July 1998 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and secretly removed the true ACBWT cricket bat nursery near Corryong and transported and replanted the nursery at Murray Valley Nurseries near Swan Hill; and.

(f) That EAM and cohorts used the offices and place of business of TC and IC to wrongfully and illegally copied lists, contacts, plans and ideas and to remove files and property and take such files, property and lists away with them and have been using the same for their own purposes of profit; and

(g) On or about July 1998 ACBWPMS issued a public offering prospectus to induce investors to purchase property belonging to the true ACBWT for their own purpose of profit.

As of the 29th of June 2005 the web site of ACBWPMS was soliciting investment using the trees belonging to CCB and the recognized true and original ACBWT and using rootstock and intellectual project knowledge acquired by EAM whilst acting as friend, Partner, Director and Financial Controller.

TC and I maintain EAM’s conduct was in all circumstances, unethical, immoral and unconscionable in trade and commerce and in breach of Section 51ac of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Since its incorporation ACBWPMS has issued 4 prospectuses based on the intellectual knowledge and 17,000 cricket bat willow trees owned by CCB and the true ACBWT.

TC and I considered our situation:

We concluded that whilst we'd been severely disadvantaged, so too had all the innocent investors and for the sake of all who had placed their faith in our concept and that we should do something to redeem the losses or at least draw peoples attention to these "A" Holes.

On or about the 30th June 2004 TC’s authorised me to met with EAM and inform him of the follwing and I confronted him in his office at Balwyn:

1/. Under section 254d of the Corporations Act and by resolution in accordance with the true Articles of Association (AA) it was deemed shares allocated to PAH, EAM and his associated companies illegal and under section 26(2) of the AA these shares were forfeited.

2/. Under section 203c of the Corporations Act and by Resolution EAM had been removed as a Director and Office Holder. 

3/. By Resolution TLC had been elected Director of ACW.

4/. By Resolution the Trustee ACW has deemed all business carried out under the name of ACW ACBWP and the ACBWT from July 1st 1997 and 30th June 2004 illegal.

 5/.That  EAM had acted inappropriately and had failed his obligations to the project as resolved by ACW on Wednesday the 5th of July 1995 and was dismissed and that notice was of the 30th of June 2004 the issues concerning the true and original Trust Deed and Register required investigation.

Having informed EAM that I was acting at all times with TC'S Authority I then informed EAM: That

a) That he has failed to act in the interest of Stakeholders and in particular the True Unit Holders; and

b) That he has failed to act within the spirit of the game of ccricket; and

c) That he brings the game of cricket into disrepute.

d) That the discovery of the bogus Deed has created a situation where all, agreements, written or verbal and all decisions made under the name ACW, ACBWP or the ACBWT since the 1st of July 1997 or without TLC or IWC’ authorization and therefore null and void.

And as such TC and I remains the righful Directors of ACW and you're SACKED!

EAM then called the Police but I stayed my ground until they arrived. I wanted the Police to see that nothing untoward had happened and so they couldnt fabricate false stories about me.

All discussions and correspondence concerning the project with EAM and Cohorts as of the 1st of May 1995 had become IRRELEVANT as any decision / comment / thought or idea had been made or based on misinformation and misrepresentations:


In all circumstance the above certainly lead to my bankruptcy on or about August 2004 in the Federal court.

Whilst all this was going on TC had been working on EAM to find a solution to the mess. But EAM was only trying to coherese his mate against me. On the 15th of June 2005 talks between TC and EAM failed to find a solution. TC as the sole Director of ACW now because of my Bankruptcy appointed me to the position of Secretary (We had research the Law and our understanding was that it does not say a Bankrupt cannot be the Secretary of a Company... it says a Bankrupt canot run a Company or be seen to be making decisions for that Company) and in accordance with the Companies Articles of Association TC directed me to lodge the necessary documents with ASIC to return the company to its legal status and I did exactly that.

On the 17th June 2005 EAM and cohorts were formally advised.

On the 25th September 2005 ASIC in response to a complaint from EAM concluded that the documents lodged with them on the 17th June 2005 void and the registrar be returned to its status of the 15th June 2005.

In a meeting with ASIC, TC and I claimed they (ASIC) had made a decision that should have been determined by a Court. ASIC claimed, that although they had returned the registrar to the status of 15th June it had been done, only for their own records and it did not mean the registrar was legal.

ASIC advised us to seek legal advice. Yeah good on them, I'd written to them twice about all this and they did nothing.

In our opinion TC required no meeting to lodge Documents with ASIC, as the required meetings had been held 12 months earlier.

Sunday October 30th 2005, Mark Russell (MR) of the Sunday Age attempted to portray EAM and his cohorts as the victims of an illegal takeover. IC was unable to comment because matters had placed in the hands of the Fraud Squad MR never made mention of this.

In response to this article I asked MR to arrange a meeting to include himself TC, myself, EAM and Cohorts. The agenda would be the entire project and a story for MR… EAM and cohorts declined.

For those who believed they had invested in the ACW Trust good luck... TC and I tried to make things right but ASIC wasn't interested.

In November 2011 in lieu of years of unpaid maintenance and other expenses the lease and Trees were tranferred to me. 



Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:20 PM

There is something I feel I must say on what came to mind at the conclusion of last Sunday’s Carlton v Geelong 1st XI’s Cricket “Final” at the Junction Oval.

Let me paint the picture.


Geelong had batted first and declared 9/409 and in reply Carlton when I arrived were 5/250. I had been following the game on line so I new the Blues Captain Evan Gulbis had taken charge of the game. It was pleasing for me to see him playing and enjoying his cricket.


He was in total control in the middle, composed and picking the runs off without risk. As it turned out he was at the crease at the end hitting the winning runs. It was his first Premiership and the Clubs first Flag since 1980/81.


As I drove away from the ground I began picturing the celebrations. After all I’d lead the attack for the Blues in their previous flag win.


Fond memories came flooding back.


We’d played that final at the Albert Cricket Ground just up the road and the “Albert” as it’s affectionately known, Is a real cricket ground. With wonderful cricketing ambience, charm and tradition. I swear you feel the presence of those who’ve walk its hallowed turf. Yes I remember a time when I stood at the end of my bowling mark to start play, new ball in hand, three slips, a gully, short leg it’s an emotional yet inspirational feeling. Gee! How I miss playing the game.


And then I thought what a tragedy that we had been sitting at the Junction Oval and even with all the money spent on it... the ground meant nothing to me, it lacked class and cricketing demeanour.


I guess if you played for the Saints it might be different but to me it fails to represent our States cricketing heritage.


In truth I have always been suspicious of those who made the decision to spend money on this ground. It smells to much of a St Kilda past player involvement, a conflict of influence. I wonder if other Clubs feel the same way or if our games representatives (Delegates) had been asking questions about this decision.


In any case, I began asking myself... what has Victorian Cricket become? I have been critical and have voiced my opinions and changes are being made... but all to slowly. "Cricket House" is over populated and cricket in our State is not benefitting... hasn't for a lobg time.


For this competition was once most prestigious competition in our Land and somehow it has been reduced to the insulting standard known as “Community Cricket”.


Who is responsible for this injustice and who is to blame for demeaning our cricket?


When Carlton last won the Premiership the competition it was known as VCA’s District 1st XI Final and Australian Test Cricketer Keith Stackpole was one of the Captains. Our opponents were Richmond Cricket Club lead by Australian Test Captain Graham Yallop and both sides boasted other home grown Test and First Class cricketers.


Watching on last Sunday, it was obvious those on the field of play were well prepared. They were proud to be out there battling it out, they were fit athletic men’s and as a former player I was proud of them.


And yet why is competition not recognised as elite?


How is this competition not our States best... is there any other cricket played in Victoria better?


No there isn’t, nothing compares!


Let’s consider this... The birth of District Cricket can be traced back to the early 1800’s from there the players past and present formed an Association that became the Victorian Cricket Association. The Cricketers of that time put plans in place for the game.


These men had great foresight in wanting to nurture, pass on and uphold traditions. They were honouring those who played and those of future generations... the records prove this!


So why are the traditions of the past no longer valued and why undermine the honour of those before us?


More importantly there must be those within the game’s administration who believed they are above those of us who have been there and done that in the game to make decisions to change things. To take away the things we cherish, the history so important for those who aspire to emulate the feats of the champions before us?


Wake up Cricketers, there are those within the administration of the game (Not only in Victoria) who fail to appreciate it. The game has or is electing or appointing personnel seeking personal status rather wanting to guard the status quo.


Those unable to achieve on the field and fear of those who’ve succeeded in the game. Those frightened others know more and might expose them. How else can you explain the dismantling and downgrading of our Cricket... it has happened because we’ve appointed unworthy unqualified personnel to run the game. They dishonour those worthy and have failed all before them.


And it’s not just our beloved District Competition they’ve dismantled, it is the coaching and pathway structures that did make our State Cricket the best in the Nation.


You only need to look closely at the two talented Teams fighting it out last weekend. Here was evidence that a great cricketing structure existed... two home grown 1st Class Cricketers leading their perspective clubs.


Tim Ludeman Captain Coach of Geelong and Evan Gulbis... both Carlton home grown cricketers.


Both men worthy of representing our State with teams mates who deserve every opportunity cricket in this State can provide and yet no one seems to understand this.


And each Club worthy of being the winner of Victoria’s elite cricket competition, “District Cricket”, but never in my mind should it be a lowly “Community Cricket Competition”, we can find that type of cricket else where.


Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:20 PM

For the past 30 years I have regularly contacted my cricketing mate Jack Houldsworth. Our discussions about family of course and always the Ashes and with the next on our doorsteps, I had been trying to get Jack and his daughters views, so keenly they rub my nose into any Australian defeat.


Unfortunately for the past couples of months my efforts have been in vain because Jack has been poorly.


And then last Sunday I opened an email from Annette (Jack’s daughter) informing me that her father had passed away earlier that day. She was worried I might hear it second hand. I felt useless so far away and unable to provide any comfort...the Houldsworth’s were family to me.


I first met Jack at his Blackburn Tax Office in Lancashire.


In those days Blackburn was the heart and sole of a Cricket League famed by the quality of its paid men, “Test Cricketers hard competitive Professionals and Jack, an amateur from the Church Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club had played and succeed against the best of them. I reckon he would have been 19 when he played 1st team cricket... the year of my birth.


When I arrived in England to play as a Professional in Lancashire League, It was a dream come true and I wanted to learn everything about its history, traditions, the clubs, the grounds and the cricketers. Jack was the man I could learn from. He had played against, so many all my childhood heroes. He was the man I went looking for.


Over the years to come I would sit for hours listening to Jack talk of these Test greats for he’d played with against or had seen them all... Walcott, Weekes, Hall, Griffith, Simpson, Stackpole, Butcher, Nurse, Cowper, Chappell, Hawke, and the list went on to my time in the game playing against and with Jack. The Professionals we were up against were the likes of Holding, Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Lillee, Hookes, Armanath, Kapil Dev, De Silva, Richards V., Lawson and Border.


This was they Houldsworth era (1955 and 1987) and they were the golden years for Lancashire League. To be appointed a Professional was an honour and each and every one of us knew it and have taken away fabulous memories. One of mine was being appointed Church Pro in 1985.


Taking the field with Jack was as enjoyable and important to me as it was when I took the field with my father for the Heathmont Cricket Club.


Jack played over 500 League/Cup games and captured 1200+ wickets during a Stella career.


Monday mornings at Jack’s Office became a regular thing. Usually there were three of us, Brendan McArdle Jack and myself. We’d barge into the Inspectors Office... and he’d order his staff to bring cups of Tea and biscuits, he loved it, It was summertime and many enthusiastically joined in the commotion... you can imagine the topic of our conversation and it never changed over the years, Cricket Football and Cricket again.


I remember the time when Church was to decide on whether I would be re signed. I hadn’t had a great season and would have liked another season to make amends. It was Jacks job to inform me I hadn’t... I said why wasn’t I re signed Jack? “You didn’t take enough wickets” was his swift reply. How many wickets should I have taken? “100” Shit Jack I had a 100 dropped catches don’t they count?” No! You are the Pro, you should have caught them yourself”.


He was always honest and I respected him more for it. The next thing he said was, “How would you like a summer in Sth Africa, I’ve recommended you for a job?” And off I went.


I remember fondly sitting with Jack at Bacup, he reckoned God had left his shovel on moors overlooking the ground. It was freezing cold that day, “Long John weather” and Jack nudged me... “You know there’s bears up there too”. “where?” “Up there on’t moors!” “Bull Shit Jack, concentrate on the game!”


He was dry, not out spoken and lived for the game... as the years went by the more he told me he missed playing... “We all do Jack” I would say. “I bet there is not one of us we played with or against who wouldn’t, so you’re not on your Pat Malone mate”.


To the family Jack loved and was so proud of... Annette, Bethany, Phillip and to his beloved Club Church and the entire Lancashire Cricket Community please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss... he gave the game his all to the very last.


RIP Jack, you’ve gone to play cricket on the cricket ground in the sky... and they say it slopes away from the club rooms, just the way you like it.


Grass Roots Cricket Concerns

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:20 PM

You might remember the scandalous Cricket Australia (CA) pay dispute where highly paid executives and Board Room Directors, shamefully used Grass Roots Cricket as a pretence to reduce player payments. It turns out however, that it is the top players who are more concerned about the game and that is the way it has been since the early 1840’s?

In truth it is the “best of the best” the top guns who bring in the big dollars for the game and development whilst executives secretly plot to remove the responsibilities from the State bodies elected by players and past playing members all over Australia.

An example of this came to our attention just last week when the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) representing the players announced that it will be providing $30 million to Grass Roots Cricket Clubs from their payments, but wait for it… in conjunction with CA.

Oh scoff & splutter!! I nearly spilt my coffee… who earns that money?

Thanks to the players… Clubs can now apply for $2500 grants through the ACA website and it is a terrific gesture but was it necessary… where is the rest of the money earned by the players? Has it been handed over to the State Association in order to distribute it to Grass Roots Cricket to produce the type of talent the game needs to attract future dividends?

But it raises the question… what exactly is it that CA do?

I expect them to be responsible for International Affairs reporting back to players and past playing members, organizing International and national fixtures, negotiating TV rights, National Teams and collecting the money generated by the best of the best players… and that is all they should be doing.

From the pot of money collected, CA expenses should be paid and the remainder of the very substantial financial wind fall should go to development of the game as determined by each State Association.

I can see this $30 mil being pissed against the wall.

Remember those who participated in CA’s Milo cricket throughout Australia where Parents paid $60 to register their child’s interest in the hope they might learn cricket skills. Apart from the Milo spectacle put on during the lunch break of Test matches it was a disgraceful failure... a bloody embarrassment where the $60 went to CA.

That is CA supporting Grass Roots Cricket while Cricket outside metropolitan areas of Australia is dying!

I guess it’s because I’m from a small country town myself, that the trend alarms me. I began my cricket in Yarck… Yeah I know! "Where the farck is Yarck?"

Yarck is a farming community situated on the Maroondah Hwy which runs north beside the eastern face of Strathbogie Range 14 miles north of Yea and 9 miles from Alexandra to the South East.

Yarck C.C. played in the Alexandra District Cricket Association against Eildon, Marysville, Thornton, three Alexandra teams and Taggerty… but that was many years ago, today the entire Region struggles to field a cricket team.

Just over the range from Yarck to the North West is Euroa where Australian fast bowler Mervyn Hughes was born to play. Euroa made up the Euroa District Cricket Association and further to the north-west between Shepparton and Echuca where the Goulburn meets the Murray River... Australian Test players Matthew Elliott and Jim Higgs learned their cricket in the Kyabram District Cricket Association... they too are extinct.

These are just two of the many Cricket Associations from outside the Metro area all over the country that have folded and in my opinion; nothing of any real consequence has ever been done to solve the problem associated with dwindling numbers. Many reasons have been put forward but nothing to address the issues that might rejuvenate interest or enthusiasm… just lip service.

There are other reasons why am I so concerned about the money going to Grass Roots Clubs… it is because Cricket Clubs these days are all about paying players to bolster the clubs senior side in order to win trophies. In real terms these players have had their chance to advance in the game and are only interested in themselves and what they can get from the game.

Pay Players or investment in junior infrastructure… what should your club do?

"Grass Roots Cricket" in any sense of the phrase is not Senior Grade Cricket and it’s not "Community Cricket", it is those who’ve been attracted to the game in attempt to emulate their idols.

This money offered by the games top players has been done with all the best intentions and should be applied to coaching structures for the grass roots cricket… the children starting out in the game. Skill stations set up about the ground were the kids rotate and participate in drills that will see them develop technique and the confidence to execute the disciplines of the game. Where they learn of its history and traditions handed down by those they wish to emulate… because someday these children will be handing it down to others when their time comes.

Children taught properly learn quickly and progress to competition levels where they should be given every encouragement created by the opportunity of advancement... by producing accomplished cricketers they will have greater confidence and enthusiasm for the game as they progress to higher levels reducing the need for patch up coaching.

I have no doubt this is the best way forward for cricket anywhere. Paying players in an attempt to win medals means nothing compared to the reward of having a youngster representing your club on a Test Arena.

If you were like me you’d remember your time as a child... eagerly wait for his father to come home to bowl to him in the back yard or out in the street. Yes! I like you dreamed of the day I would have the skill to play Test cricket and fortunately I had someone who encouraged and coached me at an early age.

The game has been neglected and development programs have been so out of place that participation numbers have plummeted and this is a stat that belongs to those who voted CA into a position where they’ve been able to dismantle the Governance structures that were not broken.


The Cupboard is Bare

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:15 PM

First of all I don't get paid to comment and I certainly do not rely on Cricket Australia (CA) or any organization associated to them for income... so I am not affraid to say it as I see it... therefore you wont see me sucking up for favour as we see in the media. The only thing I get from Cricket is my 200 club membership. It was something I earned as a player and coach and I am proud of that.

I also wish every Australian Cricketer success and don't be mistaken... I want our players to do well, now and into the future. But most importantly I want cricket in Australia to do well and in my opinion this can only happen if the game is governed by cricketers elected by cricketers with experience in the game... those who work with our great volunteers. 


Just look at the situation the Australian Selectors confronted recently... it seems they opened the door of the High Performance Managers office at CA, walked to his cupboard marked "Players ready for Test Cricket" and found it almost bare... for if we are true to ourselves, how else can we describe the 15 man squad to play two Tests against Pakistan in the U.A.E. in November.


There is no doubt in my mind that our high performance strategies and development pathways are failing... we have nothing at all to fall back on as we have found with Warner and Smith disqualified. Our Australian Test Cricket Team named by Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns has five uncapped players and only two batsmen averaging better than 40. Usman Khawaja (Averaging 42) has 6 Test centuries and Captain Tim Payne (40.82) who has not yet reached triple figures at that level


They find themselves relying so heavily on Shaun Marsh (37.60) with 9 Test hundreds and those still trying to cement places... Matthew Renshaw (33.47) who still clingings to a maiden Test century was selected in favour of two time century maker Peter Handscomb. Next best and this really does put Australian Cricket Standards into perspective... statistically Ashton Agar (32.50) who dramatically fell short of a début century at Nottingham four years ago, slots in above two time century maker Mitch Marsh (27.85).


There is no doubt that Mitch is the big improver... lets hope he'll be a player of the future and can find someone to bat with and that all the batting stars "Align" so that we are able to out play Pakistan at the crease because our reinforcements... Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschange and Travis Head, average less than 40 in first class cricket and if we are truly honest... this means that they barely qualify for State selection.


What has happened to the game that was left for us cricketers to nurture. Somehow the responsibility we "Cricketers" inherieted... vanished? 


How is it that we now Selectors  and Coaches sending a messages to a player that does not apply to others... for those chosen above Glen Maxwell have not been as successful as he. Do you know Maxwell averages above 40 in First Class Cricket compared to those selected above him and has scored as many hundreds with less opportunities in some instances.


Ask yourself this question... Does it seem the game is scraping the bottom of the barrel?


With Hazlewood, Patterson and Cummins injured, it seems like Treveor Hohns resorted to a lucky dip... he dragged out Brendan Doggett from Queensland who has taken 32 wickets in 9 games of First Class Cricket and team mate Michael Neser who at least has captured 98 First Class Cricket scalps... is that as good as it gets?


The saving grace is the 699 Test wickets Starc Siddle and Lyon share between them.


At least that is something to work with and I give them credit for that given the situation.. it will allow Starc to be used in short spells, Siddle to do the grunt work... which provides Payne the opportunity to interchange Siddle and Marsh with Lyon while the ball is holding shape. Then to mix it up with the left arm orthodox of either Holland or Argar... both with Test experience. This could work but as I said... all the cricketing stars in the southern hemisphere will have to align for Australia to finish ahead of Pakistan.


To find our cricket in this situation...  does not say alot about the state of Australian Cricket under CA governance or its cast of thousands which include a High Performance Manager, Cricket Development Heads and its "Centre of Excellence" for that matter. They have all taken credit for past glory.


The game has disintegrated under current Policies and it does not matter how many coaching level certificates are certified... if players are not coming through the system with proper technique or thought process, all that can be done is "Patch up Coaching".


Game Development has been on the wrong path for years... I doubt they could recognize "Grass Roots Cricket" if they fell over it and sadly this reflects badly on good coaching efforts around the country.

In the Players Best Interest and Welfare

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:15 PM

I read in the Australian Newspaper that former Australian Captain and Cricket Australia (CA) Director Mark Taylor had defended his CEO James Sutherland over his handling of the “Ball Tampering” incident on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday Show last week.


The Australian Newspaper quoted Taylor as saying, “Sutherland straight away wakes up Sunday morning to the Ball Tampering story, he knows it’s going to be big. Straight away he’s on the phone to everybody including me... to get us all together to discuss the next steps”.


The paper says that he went on to say that once Iain Roy, head of integrity and Patrick Howard ( High Performance) were on the first available flight to South Africa... within 80 hours Sutherland had sorted all the CA Board Members out and had spoken to all players having flown to South Africa himself.


The article also quoted Taylor as having said his CEO’s focus was on player welfare at all times... as it should have been and that his mission was to uncover the facts... not what people assumed, not what people were putting out on Social Media, to find out the facts so we (The Board I assume) could deal with it.


The first thing that struck me about Taylor’s comments was that it was all a bit late as players had already admitted live to the world that they’d cheated.


I must admit, Sutherland certainly jumped into action quicker than he did during the Pay dispute.. where was Taylor?.


But how many “On Lookers” like me could be convinced that the Sutherland’s focus or that of his Board for that matter... would ever have been on the players and their welfare given their attitude during the pay dispute or for the men’s game around this country, rather than damage control.


And are we expected to believe not one CA Board Members was watching the Test live as the Ball Tampering incident played out. Or that Team management weren’t on the phone ringing Sutherlands phone off the wall as he slept through it all.


Did Taylor sleep through the incident as well... he slept through the pay dispute?


I doubt we’ll ever get to the real truth of the matter... but If Taylor and his Board expect us to swallow their message that only 3 players are responsible for this incident they’re kidding themselves.


What is the first thing anyone does who’s been handed a ball to complete an over (in any level of cricket)?


He checks state or condition of the ball.


What about a strike bowler... wouldn’t he be checking the condition of the ball each time he returned to the top of his run?


The Ball Tampering Incident

Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:15 PM

From face book at the time;

A Cricketer plays for the team and through his on field contribution earns the respect of his peers. At least that is the way it was once, but not anymore.


The modern game of cricket has just provided us with an example of what it has become and surely you are as shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by it all as I am.


On display to the world was our most highly decorated Sporting team executing the most dishonourable act imaginable. Our Australian Cricketers were tampering with the sacred cricket ball in an attempt to gain an advantage and it all unfolded live on TV, day 3 of the 3rd Test at Cape Town South Africa.


How could this be happening I thought?


Social Media response was immediate and cruel. It also proved Australian Cricket has few real friends or respect and that our Cricket Culture or image is far from liked. The world audience were happily tarnishing the brand with glee forgetting their own misdemeanours.


Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have received their punishment ban but it is only one part of the issue facing Australian Cricket.


I think those handing out the punishment, should be handing in resignations themselves. Not knowing what was going on in that dressing room is not an excuse... it’s a dereliction of duty and it all starts at the top. When the series is done and dusted further changes must be made and here is why!


As a past player who has maintained active involvement in the game... I support the idea that punishment should handed down but there should also be a clear is message sent to the other Test playing nations; get your own affairs in order because Australian Cricketers do not accept double standards.


Unfortunately this message cannot be sent... because those of us Cricketers who have nurtured and honoured the game so it can be handed it down with all its history and traditions are not represented at the administration level.


The sad truth of the matter is that we cannot even vote for those we would like to have representing the game. An investigation into this needs to be undertaken now by the real owners of the game and affiliates.


Once upon a time the game was run by its cricketers... those who’d played and performed at a reasonable level. Those respected and who repaid the game over and over again as a volunteer or as a coach... this is how we once inspired the next generation to set the standard.


The events in South Africa are not the fault of past Cricketers because Modern day Officials have made certain we have no involvement. This means Cricket has lost its conscience, along with the respect of the club culture and the affiliates. Today the administrators of the game believe the infrastructure that surrounds them belongs to them, not the game.


I feel nauseous when James Sutherland uses the words “Cricket Family”. What a joke!


Cricketers once steered the game and they relied on other cricketers to be elected into officialdom to carry on upholding the values and traditions we hand down to them.


Cricketers have always set out governance procedures. It was first set out in the Articles of Association... until secret back room groups undermined it all... first by altering a word here or a phrase there and not so long ago either.


All done in an attempt to keep past players and volunteers out.


Today the responsibility that past and present players had to guide and foster the games honoured traditions and principles have became a thing of the past and they have been replaced by a privileged few. From my experience I believe they lack real passion and respect for the time honoured game.


And what is more disturbing to me is that these undeserving officials cannot be removed even when playing such a huge part in creating this modern culture. A culture that is so removed from the game... that those showing any respect for it are ignored.


And boy didn’t those Corporate types running and sponsoring the game desert the ship leaving their former champion and Australian Cricket Captain to face the baying media on his return to Australia... just a lonely kid facing the aftermath of a terrible judgemental error, a stupid stupid mistake that could have been prevented had the culture bubble surrounding him been respectful to the game.


My thoughts

30 March 2018 11:14




Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:15 PM

I found this script today, written by a good friend of mine John Pomfret 35 years ago... I remember the incident well and John captured the moment magnificently. Had another good laugh about it today. For those of you who know Brendan and how competitive Bushy” McArdle and I were against each other... I think you’ll love it; enjoy




Way back in 1983 during a period known at East Lancs as “Callen’s second year” an incident occurred that was destined to go down in Club legend as the Grass Court Affair.


Whilst what follows may employ a certain amount of poetic licence it is basically true as I witnessed it as a hysterical 18 year old. In fact the incident led directly to questions being raised in committee as to whether the cricket professional was actually a member of the Club and entitled to use the facilities.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of those two upstanding Australian gentlemen Ian Callen and Brendan McArdle sanity won out. As a result the Professional is now issued with an honourary membership card and no longer has to tug his forelock and avert his gaze when talking to members of the committee


In those far off days of 1983 East Lancs had both a head groundsman (curator) and an assistant so there were the man hours available to provide grass tennis courts directly in front of the pavilion.


However on the day in question, whilst there were three courts marked out only one had a net in place. It was also occupied by Messrs Callen and McArdle who were engaged in a fiercely competitive match. Enter four tennis members wanting to play who I’ll call Clarence, Daphne, Roger and Penelope for no other reason than the names remind me of the people that they were.


This is what happened next!


Daphne: I say Clarence.


Clarence: What is it old girl?


Daphne: There’s someone on our court.


Roger: Pretty rough looking chaps if you ask me.


Penelope: Rough darling? I’d rather say rugged.


Roger: Never you mind rugged, I haven’t forgotten last week.


Clarence: Now now you two don’t fall out over old news, Penelope’s already

explained that it was all a bit of a misunderstanding with the Vicar and

his bicycle pump.


Daphne: Hear hear.


Roger: You weren’t even there.


Daphne: (Dreamily) No I wasn’t.


Clarence: Steady on, this isn’t going to get our court back.


Penelope: (Eagerly) I’ll go and have a word.

Roger: You’ll do no such thing! Clarence will.


Clarence: Er, um are you sure? I mean look at the size of the forearms on that



Daphne: Oh do get on Clarence, Penny’s right about you being all mouth and no



Clarence: (Approaching the court slowly) I say, you chaps there, what are you



Ian: G’day mate. We’re playing tennis.


Clarence: (returning to the others) They say they’re playing tennis.


Roger: Oh for goodness sake Clarence old man we can see that! Ask them why

they are on our court.


(Clarence approaches the court again)


Brendan: Look out mate, the soppy Pom’s back.


Ian: (to Clarence) What is it mate? We’re trying to finish a game here.


Clarence: (grandly) I’m afraid that will not be possible my man, this is our court

and we want to play.


Ian: Well we got here first mate and set the bloody net up so you’ll just have to



Clarence: You misunderstand me. We are the top four players at this club, we

never wait.


Brendan: Today you do.


Clarence: (gaining some ill advised bravery) Who are you chaps anyway? I

haven’t seen you before and I’ll wager you’re not even members.


Brendan: Wager all you like sport, this is Ian Callen he’s the Pro here.


Clarence: The what? (to himself) I thought that Daphne was the only old pro

around these parts.


Brendan: The cricket professional, all the way from Australia.


Clarence: (shocked) Australia! You mean he’s Australian?


Brendan: We both are you daft Pom, now why don’t you bugger off for some

cucumber sandwiches and let us get on with our game?


Clarence: You haven’t heard the last of this.


Brendan: (muttering to Ian) Do you think he could talk chewing a tennis ball?


Ian: Leave it mate, I’ve got to put up with these people till September. Let’s just

get on with the game.


(They continue as Clarence returns to his friends)


Roger: Well what did they say? They don’t appear to be leaving.


Clarence: (pointing at Brendan) That one there in the blue shorts says that the

other one is Ian Callen the Australian cricket professional.


Penelope: I thought that all Australians were criminals and sheep worriers.


Daphne: They can worry me anytime.


Roger: Daphne please!


Clarence: (putting on a brave face) I told them that we are the top four players in

the club and that we never wait but it didn’t do any good.


Daphne: We’re the only four players in the club.


Clarence: Never mind that now, what are we going to do?


Roger: (slapping his forehead) You said it yourself. The one in the blue shorts.


Clarence: What do you mean?


Roger: I mean that he’s breaking the all whites rule. I’ll have him.


Daphne: (to herself) not before me you won’t.


Roger: (walks confidently towards the court and calls to Brendan) Hey there

chummy, just a moment.


Brendan: (just about to receive serve) What now?


Roger: I’m awfully sorry, but you can’t play in those shorts.


Brendan: Hold the serve Ian, this bloke’s just asked me to take off my strides.

Jeez mate, I thought you had a dress code here?


Daphne & Penelope: (both clapping their hands) Oh well done Roger!


Clarence: Ladies really.


Ian: (quietly to Roger) Look mate this is match point, what say you run along and

tell your friends that we’ll be finished in a minute. Unless of course you want

a tennis racquet inserting where the sun don’t shine!


Brendan: Head first!

Roger: (departing quickly) Righty-ho chaps.


Clarence: Well?


Roger: I gave them a stern talking to and told them that this is their last point.


Daphne: Oh how masterful.


Penelope: (snorts with derision) I don’t think.


Clarence: Ok then, let’s go inside and get ready.


(They go inside just as Ian and Brendan finish their match)


Ian: Look mate, I’ve got an Idea to really piss off those stuffed shirts.


Brendan: How do you mean?


Ian: The curator’s left the roller out on the edge of the pitch and it’s going in the middle of the court. If they can start it they can move it.


Brendan: Good on you mate but it’ll cause some trouble.


Ian: It’ll be worth it though.


(Ten minutes later Clarence, Penelope, Daphne and Roger emerge from the pavilion to find the heavy roller smack bang in the middle of the court to the sound of fading antipodean laughter.)


Daphne: (at the top of her voice) CLARENCE! RING THE CHAIRMAN, NOW

21 June 2018 18:50


Posted on June 16, 2019 at 8:10 PM

"Ashes Cricket" is the sports show piece to the world.


The series is a demonstration or if you like, a "Test" not only of character or ability, but commitment, humility, preparation and planning. All in order to maintain a Nations sporting pride.


And so the 2017 -2018 Ashes series came to end in Sydney and in the final wash up it was Australia 4 England 0.


For the Australian and England Cricket teams every aspect of the game was laid bare and scrutinised but for the respective Nations their "Cricket" can only be judge by the last performance.


I don't know how my many friends in the UK feel about it all... perhaps they feel their team lacked discipline and respect. The Ben Stokes incident did not help the cause and certainly disrupted tour preparations.


I suppose that might be used as an excuse for some but in my mind, the Tourists underestimated the task before them and certainly the Australian bowling attack. There also seemed to be a lack of support for Joe Root, an inexperienced leader without his deputy. Had this been anticipated... it didn't look that way because Joe was far from his best and always under pressure.


To his credit the Captain battled on without retreat from the Sun nor heat nor Pat Cummins.


As I watched, I wondered if England's brains trust ever thought Pat would last the series.


I know I had my concerns but Pat just got better with every Test match. In the end his stamina strength and hunger for wickets astounded me. The big quick played the entire series... ending it in Sydney with an 8 wicket haul. This performance proving beyond doubt that all batsmen require sound technique when confronting fast short pitched bowling.


Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc with Lyon in support were relentless... in comparison to the English attack. With Stuart Broad, under a cloud before the series he went missing when it counted leaving Anderson, Woakes and Overton carrying the burden.


I thought Anderson maintained good lines but without any support... the Australians only had to see him off.


Woakes look good at times, but refused to work his way about the crease and not once did he get close enough to the stumps to take advantage of his natural gift... the leg cutter. With such a delivery up his sleeve he has the ability to threaten any batting... but unless he's prepared to work the lines this will never happen often enough.


Moeen Ali was another great disappointment and seemingly overwhelmed by the Australians and the conditions. I think England could have played Mason Crane much early... it would not have made any difference as it turned out and who knows it might have made him?


From an Australian perspective we'd hoped for a series to lift the spirits of "Test Cricket".


We needed proof that this format of the game has no comparison to the contests which make up "Test Cricket" and as matches ebbed and flowed the Ashes did not let us down even though it failed to deliver the close fought result we were wanting.


It certainly was a terrific appetiser for the Test Cricket that awaits us in South Africa. I will have more to say on this in my next "SportsHounds" contribution.


I must congratulate Steve Smith for an outstanding series... his batting is truly Bradman like. I thought Darren Lehmann, David Saker and staff did a terrific job preparing a squad heavily criticised. Especially Tim Paine, Shaun and Mitch Marsh.


The selectors were proven right as they were with Khawaja... who's persona at the crease, reminds me very much of David Gower, the great England Left Hander... always relaxed and seemingly doing it with ease.