Crio’s Q: Good and Bad Breaks

Being a team man is one thing but, all too often, sportsmen know that they are competing with “mates” for a spot in the side.

When the chance comes, you just gotta take it.

I always felt a little sorry for Peter Anderson.

Peter Anderson had a first-class cricket career and thus realized some ambitions, but it was so nearly so much more.

Of all the “right place at the right time” spots, the ‘keeper for Australia must be the one most reliant on opportunity being presented.

Think Marsh, Gilly, Healy….

The incumbent is hard to dislodge and “second best” means obscurity.

But Peter Anderson seemed to have lucked in.

He emerged in Queensland – a stronghold for ‘keepers (consider Tallon and Grout)- during a rare period of flux for Aussie glovemen. After Bacchus Marsh, there’d been Flipper Phillips, Timmy Zoehrer, Greg Dyer, Steve Rixon…maybe others – the position was “up for grabs” and the tenure was likely long term.

Anderson had kept for the Qld U19s (G. Ritchie captain, big Carl Rackemann spearhead) on his pathway to Shield selection. In the eyes of many good judges, his elevation to the Test side was assured…until injury struck.

Amazingly, the moment was lost. In a left-field call, his understudy Ian Healy was chosen for the Pakistan tour after just 6 first-class appearances.

And that’s history. Anderson had given Healy a Shield debut 18 mths previously due to injury but remained the “incumbent” until fate stole away his chance. Rolling the dice, Anderson went to Adelaide, but his instant had gone. He kept for the Redbacks – a great achievement by most standards – and ended his career with 56 first class games and a massive WhatIf?


Matthew Wade moved from Hobart where the emerging Tim Paine appeared to be the boy on the rise. Ever since, luck and talent have pushed his career onwards. Keepers are certainly more mobile these days, searching for an opportunity. Wade grabbed his chance with the Bushrangers, pushing Adam Crossthwaite over to the SACA and winning plaudits for his batting prowess and ambitions. But Haddin was “in the club” and Paine anointed a future leader.

Now it has all changed.

Haddin’s form is shot and support for him has evaporated. And poor Tim Paine has bad fingers – that, and bad timing, seem likely to cost him his place in destiny.

Wade’s grabbed his chances, the headlines and the momentum.

That’s how it goes.

Injury creates opportunity. And good players take it.

Any others?


  1. John Harms says

    Crio, This is only from memory, but I reckon Peter Anderson’s injury occurred when a senior player insisted he stand up to the stumps on a wearing wicket. Thta was Ian Botham, then playing for Qld. The Healy selection which followed for Australia was a little like the Peter Who (Taylot) selection.

    Matthew Egan was stiff. He was dominating centre half back, yet was relatively new to the game.

  2. I heard a talk with Anna Meares on the weekend. She commented how tough it was for Australian riders to make the Olympics. Unlike World Champs, teams can only have one rep per race. Second best might as well finish last even it is good enough for Olympic Silver!

  3. Evel Knievel had a few.

  4. Skip of Skipton says

    The story as I know it is that Matt Egan was a tennis player and mate of James Kelly’s from Sunbury. I’m not sure that he even played for the Calder Cannons? Kelly told him to have a crack as a top up player for the Geelong VFL team. AA CHB in ’07 along with a career ending injury. Bummer.

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    Would the Cats have drafted Harry Taylor?

  6. Aaaaaaahhhhhh, 2007 Skip. Stop it please. Too much of a good thing.

  7. Probably not Skip. Taylor may still be in the WAFL but for Egan’s bad luck.

    crio, may be a bit early on this call. As you mentioned, “After Bacchus Marsh, there’d been Flipper Phillips, Timmy Zoehrer, Greg Dyer, Steve Rixon…maybe others – the position was “up for grabs” and the tenure was likely long term.”

    Wade may just be one of a string till we settle on the next long-term incumbent, but he does look good.

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Was Peter Anderson the bloke who wicket-kept without wearing pads on his legs?

  9. Just quietly, Darren Berry may well be the best gloveman never to play a test. Definitely a case of bad timing.

    I remember seeing him keeping up at the stumps to Paul Reiffel one time and get a leg-side stumping.

  10. I’m not able to judge that Pete, but I always thought he was excellent. I remember a trial game at the Junction where I was standing square for a good view of him standing up to Ian “The Freak” Harvey. Harvey bowled a bouncer. Berry leapt to full stretch and dragged it down to dislodge the bails in one perfect drag. Sure, a signal must have been given but it was impressive.
    Still, play backyard cricket and choose between him and Gilly. No brainer!

  11. A lot of players are good but just can’t get on the track – Marcus Drum comes to mind.

  12. John Butler says

    Peter Motley. Looked like he could have been anything.

  13. Skip of Skipton says

    Part of the big Carlton raid on the SANFL and WAFL before the draft and salary cap kicked in, Peter Motley didn’t look like he lacked much. An unfortunate story, that. His type is the modern proto-type they all want; or maybe it’s always been the case.

  14. John Butler says

    Ben Cutting would have to be the unlucky man this season. So near to a test berth, but broken in the ‘bowl-off’.

  15. Mick Jeffrey says

    Read a story once regarding the forgotten tied test of 1986 in India. It appeared as though the #3 spot in the team for the test was between Dean Jones and Mike Veletta, who also happened to be roomies on that tour (this was in the days where players shared rooms). Jones got a call from captain Allan Border a day or so before the match saying that he got the nod (he had to keep it reasonably secretive though, he didn’t want to break Waggy Veletta’s heart before he was told), and the rest is history. Deano made 216 and was a fixture in the team for the next 7 seasons playing over 50 tests and being a 50 over lynchpin, Veletta never secured a regular place despite making the 1987 WC winning side, and ended up captaining the Canberra Comets.

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