Thank you, Cricketing Gods

I thought I was officially retired; but in forty years of playing cricket, last weekend I experienced my greatest on-field moment…


Thursday night. My sixteen year-old son Brendan is picked to play in the thirds.

Me: “The thirds have a spot available. Would you mind if I played with you?”

Him: “It doesn’t bother me, but what will mum say when she finds out you are playing?”

Me (unconvincingly): “She will understand. She knows how much it means to me to be able to get out and play cricket with you.”


Sunday afternoon. At the completion of our allotted 36 overs, we have reached 6/141. According to the more experienced team members, we are probably 20 runs “below par”. I didn’t get a chance to bat with my son, but it was enjoyable to watch him spend time in the middle and score 21 valuable runs.


At 3/120, the opposition is cruising. Only 22 runs needed with 7 wickets in hand.  But then two wickets fall. Then another two. Suddenly the runs have dried up. My son has been bowling well, taking a wicket, not afraid to give his leggies a bit of air.


The opposition are giving us suckers an even break. But now they only need five runs to win. Brendan throws up another, and the tailender lofts it to deep backward square-leg, which is just where his dad happens to be fielding. I need to make a bit of ground. Not easy when you are 48 and have been in a good paddock of late.


I try not to contemplate even the remotest possibility of grassing the chance. It sticks. We have come from nowhere to snatch a win. My son “high-fives” me. It is as close as a sixteen-year old boy gets to showing affection. It feels good. For once, the cricketing gods have smiled upon me. And I will never forget.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Great yarn, Smokie. Given the season that awaits, I’m happy to call it the feel-good story of the year this far out.

  2. mickey randall says

    A rare moment of harmony in this cricketing week! Great yarn. Well done to both of you.

  3. Peter Fuller says

    Precious moment, Smokie, and it will be a memory to savour; thanks for sharing it.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done , Smokie a great cricket story and a fantastic life bond with your son were there other members of the family at the ground watching ?

  5. Well done Smokie – enjoyed the read. One for you to cherish and as your son gets older I am sure he will too.

  6. Grand moment, Smokie.
    And well played Brendan, to keep throwing them up at the death.

  7. Great story Smokie. When I was a teenager, Kadina had 2 teams in the local comp. Kadina Green and Kadina Gold. My Dad captained one team and my younger brother was on that side. I thought I needed a bit of independence, so I enlisted for the other. We met in a close fought semi final, and I dropped my dad at mid wicket under a skied drive. It was a sitter, but I was so nervous I was 100/1 to catch it. He went on to get 50 and their team went on to win the GF.
    As you can see I have not forgotten it 40 years later.
    Well done for sticking together.

  8. Smoke – ripper stuff. Was it a one grab catch or did it “bobble”. Brendan will remember that forever.

    How are the hammies?

  9. Thanks All. It truly was a great moment, made more enjoyable by the fact that we were gone for all money.

    Dips, just for the record I kept wicket for the first 18 overs, then retired to the outfield for a change. Not too bad on Monday morning.

    Peter B, that sounds like another truly great moment!

  10. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Smokie, fantastic just to be able to play with your son, let alone combine to win a game together. Keep on putting on the whites, you’re a long time retired!!

  11. Brilliant touch your heart story.

  12. Phil Dimitriadis says

    What a moment to cherish Smokie! Great stuff mate.

  13. Fantastic, Smokie. I’m the same age as you, still running around on Saturdays and in the vets every second Sunday, Was privileged to be part of another flag last year but would love to go through your experience. My youngest son is more interested in tennis, and my 19-year-old stopped playing after under 12s. I’m still hoping he might come out of ‘retirement’ so I can share some special moments on the field with him.

  14. Nice catch Mr Dawson.

    Who have you got this weekend?


  15. Great moment Smokie, I’m sure Brendan will forever cherish that catch and that incredible win as much as you.

  16. My son Matt (12) and I also played with Smokie and Brendan last Sunday. A great win and a wonderful way to finish. Brendan threw it up, Smokie moved quckly in and to his left from deep square to take it cleanly in front of his shins. A few other blokes younger than him on the team that wouldn’t have stood a chance.

    Just don’t ask him about the first ball of their innings.

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