Only four people have been inducted into the Grampians Cricket Association hall of fame in more than 50 years – Peter Homden is one of those people.
Mr Homden was honoured with the induction back in 2013.
“To be put up on the board with names like Chuck Fleetwood-Smith, Henry Gunstone and Ron Maddocks was very humbling,” he said.
“It was unbelievable to be put in the same category of the two major influences in my cricket career as a kid in Henry and Ron.”
As a junior cricketer, Mr Homden remembers Mr Maddocks as a very hard but fair man.
“His favourite saying was ‘pain never kills’,” he chuckled.
“I have to thank him for everything. He was the force behind the Youth Club as a junior.”
Mr Homden can remember a time when he performed well and Maddocks still asked for more.
“I was batting down at Central Park and I made about 120,” he said.
“I was pleased with my effort and after I was out I went up into the grandstand and sat with Ron.
“All he said to me was ‘you know you threw 200 away’.”
Mr Homden played with Youth Club for his whole cricket career within the Grampians Cricket Association.
“I remember cricket being your whole week,” he said.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t have had a beer before I was about 18. In those days we used to live cricket and football.
“Many years ago I remember training harder for cricket than I did for football.”
Mr Homden recalls the strict regime set in place as a junior cricketer.
“We did the crossroads in the Ironbarks on a Mondays, Youth Club training on Tuesdays, Jike Jones’ running group on Wednesdays which included sprint work, train Thursdays and roll the wicket on Fridays.
“Rolling the wicket on a Friday took six of us to roll the wicket with a concrete roller.
“We had a great core group of people who were all heavily involved who enjoyed what they did.”
Mr Homden said those mateships created is something he cherishes.
“It wasn’t just within your own club,” he said. “All your mates you played against on a Saturday you teamed up with on Sunday in the shield sides.
“I catch up regularly with ex-cricketers at the Melbourne test every year and it’s a great time.
“Cricket has been really good to me – as a younger player, Ballarat and Melbourne Country Weeks were an exciting time.
“One year we had a crackerjack side and made it into a final a Punt Road. We didn’t win it but I played with some really great cricketers.”
Mr Homden said one of his most honourable memories was when he was picked to play for Vic Country against India in Portland.
“That was my first game against an international side,” he said.
“We weren’t able to win a match but by no means were we disgraced – it was tough to compete as a Victorian Country cricket side against large international teams."
In total Mr Homden played against six matches against international teams including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
The international matches weren’t the only highlight of Mr Homden’s career, also cherishing the finals he contested within the region.
“Over the years we played in a lot of finals – and probably didn’t win as many as we should,” he said.
Mr Homden reflects upon a time during the ’80s the competition was strong among the eight or nine clubs within the competition.
“Any of the sides could have made finals most years,” he said. “Teams had to ensure they won matches before Christmas to be able to make the finals the following year.
“It was always very competitive on the field, but off the field is where your mateships were formed.”
From early years right until the end of his career Mr Homden said he always loved the family atmosphere around the club.
“My wife Linda would always bring our kids down to Central Park and it would be a great afternoon,” he said.
“My boys played for Youth Club and it was good to see the club through the period when us older players mentored a group of cricketers still playing today.”
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