Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recalling Dennis Lillee's Last Stand (for WA)

Ah, the memories. Do you recall where you were 25 years ago today? I do.

I was at the W.A.C.A. Ground in Perth, Western Australia, watching WA take on Victoria in the Sheffield Shield. It was about two weeks prior to my first and only appearances for the West Pilbara Cricket Association's assault on "D" Grade Country Week--and we won the Grand Final at Lilac Hill!

The 13-16 January, 1984 match was Dennis Lillee's last Shield game for WA (though he played briefly for Tasmania years after). I went to three days of the match. The highlight was the last day, easily. With about 280 to make, Victoria were starting to look good; then Lillee came on, from the River end (now the Lillee-Marsh Stand end).

In days reminiscent of the early 1970s, DK charged in, kicking off from the sightscreen--and bowled about as fast as he ever had--at least he looked that fearsome! He hit one batsman, then another, then... the stumps cart-wheeled out of the ground and the good-sized crowd erupted.

Only a week or so earlier, Lillee has played his last test for Australia, along with fellow-retirees, messr's Marsh and Chappell, G.S. They'd all finished on a high note with wickets, catches and a century, to boot!

Back to the W.A.C.A.... I dreamt of watching Lillee for seven years previously bowling and taking a '5-for' having marvelled at the ABC reception of the 1977 Centenary Test as a 10-year-old. Living in the Pilbara meant very little opportunity to see live sport of this quality.

Now I was there, and from the vantage point of the Test Stand, I could see Lillee in all his glory and feel soaked in the atmosphere of the big game.

History records Lillee as having taken five wickets in that last innings of Victoria's--winning the match for WA. And I was there all those years ago!

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