Departing president Paul Sheahan, who now becomes national president, said he was delighted Tony had accepted the nomination and that it would herald a new era of close co-operation between the two bodies.
The Taverner’s could not have a more experienced administrator at the helm. After three seasons playing with Sussex, Tony honed his management skills as the MCC’s head of cricket before returning to Australia to become CEO of Western Australia. Three years later, he came home to run Cricket Victoria.
After accepting the presidency, he recounted the fascinating tale of how he was selected to play his first Test match, fittingly at the MCG on Boxing Day against New Zealand. But it was virtually a last minute decision that saw him stride proudly on to the ground with his new teammates.
Named in the Australian squad in case Merv Hughes could not play because of a nagging injury, Tony was trundling away in the nets with some spectators when he was tapped on the shoulder and told to get back to the dressing room “because you’re in”.
He went on to take 6/58 as well as scoring a half century batting at No. 9 – a unique feat. He played 10 Tests but, amazingly, his first four Tests were all against different countries. He paid tribute to the great Australian fast bowler Graham “Garth” McKenzie for the valuable coaching he gave him in the nets one afternoon at the WACA.
“Although he was long retired, he showed me where to consistently bowl the ball. He said most batsmen are dismissed on the offside. Keep the ball away from their pads because top batsmen will work you through the legside all day. I never forgot his advice.”
Another highlight of the AGM was an address by the president of the Victorian Blind Cricket Association, Rod Pritchard. The VBCA has long been a recipient of financial support from the Lord’s Taverners and Rod took the opportunity to not only express the gratitude of all blind cricketers but to reveal instances of the positive impact blind cricket has on the lives of its participants.
One example that brought gasps from the audience was that of a 13 year-old boy who travels weekly to Melbourne from northern Tasmania to play the game!