Almanac Sport: A ‘purple patch’




The response to the Footy Almanac’s call for premiership photos has produced a wonderful array of photos from readers. Most are from the 60s onwards.


Footy Almanac editor Col Ritchie wrote an account of one his premierships including his recall of his ‘purple patch’ kicking the first three goals in the opening ten minutes of the match.


We would love to hear from readers who were lucky enough to experience a ‘purple patch’ during a premiership match, or for that matter, any match.


Send your ‘purple patch’ story to our email address: [email protected]   and we will add them to our post or add themas a comment below.




The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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  1. I’m 15 and playing adult cricket for Yorketown B Grade with my dad captain and wicket keeper. My aim is to bowl leg spin for Australia like my heroes Richie Benaud, David Sincock and Ian Chappell. Needless to say as a skinny, nervous kid my control is not all that great.
    Warooka are 3/150 and bearded bushie Charlie Barclay is well on his way to another hundred. Dad throws me the ball in desperation and says “toss ’em up – we’ll hope he holes out”. Dad exploits the classic in-out field with a couple of close catchers and the rest scattered to all parts of the compass.
    I throw up a couple of loopy donkey drops that bounce chest high off the concrete and malthoid. Charlie’s solid partner is not having any of this. He dead bats the first two, but the third bounces even higher and he dollies it to short leg.
    A stout barley farmer comes in – not having any of this defence nonsense – and holes out to deep long leg. The batsmen have crossed with the ball in the air and now the crafty Charlie is facing. He decides to put me off my stride with these loopy spinners and advances down the wicket as I’m in my run (stroll?) up. I see him and naturally panic. The ball sticks in my fingers and lands meekly only a third of the way down the pitch. Charlie’s eyes light up. The problem is the ball has such little momentum that it is trickling low along the pitch by the time it gets to him two thirds of the way down the wicket. He takes an enormous cross bat sweep intending to hit me out over the mid wicket fence but the ball passes low underneath his bat.
    I can still see it gently continuing on its fifth or sixth bounce toward the stumps. Charlie chasing desperately backwards like a man trying to swat a blowfly. Dad incredulous behind the stumps. My only thoughts – will it hit the stumps and will it have enough energy to dislodge the bails if it does?
    I’ve got a hat trick and Charlie marches off steaming and muttering unmentionables. Last ball of the over another vengeful farmer holes out on the boundary.
    4 wickets in 4 balls – a double hat trick. I make the SYP Pioneer newspaper and have the ball mounted and presented. Regrettably I kept unscrewing it and using it to practice in the school nets with my brother (much better to hold the seam than with the “compo” balls we could afford to practice with).
    My “purple patch”. I never even got to a faint mauve again.

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Bloody hell, that’s a purple patch and a half PB, 4 wickets in 4 balls! Like you I was a leggie and Richie Benaud my hero, but I had a lesser purple patch, on a hatrick 4 times in a match, once in the first innings 2/9, and three times in the second 7/16.

  3. Classic PB.

    Of all the hours I spent practising and playing sport, apart from a run of four birdies one perfect afternoon in 1980, the only real purple patch involves pinball. I have never seen Star Wars because on the night it opened at the Oakey Drive-In I was playing pinball and was in such rare form I racked up many replays which I continued to play until the movie finished. These days kids don’t have to fight toplay another video game, at that time it had just gone up from 3 games for 20c to 20c a pop.

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