Month: November 2008

Russell Mitchell is a cricket legend

EIGHT premierships, more than 8000 runs, 300 games and life membership have secured Russell Mitchell’s rightful place as a Newtown & Chilwell legend.

Mitchell is in the middle of his 300th match for the Two Blues and remained confident his team could defend a modest total against St Joseph’s seconds tomorrow.

The 44-year-old scored six as Newtown crawled to 139 on a low and slow wicket last Saturday, but believed the Joeys would need to bat the majority of the day to spoil his party.

He conceded he had not had the best year with the bat so far but he still loved playing and planned to continue for many years to come.
“I plan to play for a long time,” Mitchell said.
“Whether I end up playing in the fifths or sixths … doesn’t matter. I’ll keep playing until I can’t run anymore.”

Mitchell is revered by all at Newtown, where he started his playing career as an 11-year-old in 1975 under the guidance of then under-13s coach Don Royce, who has become a lifelong friend.

He played his first senior match in the Two Blues’ fifths as a 14-year-old and received club life membership earlier this year.

But, Mitchell means much more to the club than his longevity. He was a gun player and an integral part of the Newtown teams that dominated Geelong cricket in the 1980s.

Mitchell is the only player to have made two double centuries for the club, with a highest score of 213 not out in the firsts against Geelong West in 1985.

He played in four first XI premierships and has added three second XI triumphs and one in thirds for good measure.

Mitchell said those heady days were built on a core of brilliant players and a belief the team could win from any position.

“The thing about it was, no matter what we did with bat or ball, we believed we were going to win. We always thought we would win and most times we did,” he said.

In between those cricket triumphs, Mitchell enjoyed a brief league football career with Geelong.

He played two senior matches and “about 10 reserves games” for the Cats in 1985 and 1986, receiving a call up after the infamous Leigh Matthews-Neville Bruns clash.

“I got called down from Bell Post Hill because they were short,” he said. “I played three games in the reserves, got a call up to the seniors and played in the first round of 1986. I also played a night match against Hawthorn.”

by Daniel Breen, courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser

Glam rocker no one-hit wonder

Grant WhitesideGRANT Whiteside’s teammates will have to deliver a glittering day two performance to ensure the Newtown and Chilwell veteran celebrates his 300th game with a win.

Day one of Whiteside’s milestone match did not go according to plan, as the Two Blues fourths surrendered first innings points to South Barwon.

The 42-year-old made 17 in a disappointing total of 97. South Barwon ended the day on 7/108 but Whiteside believes his side still has a chance to press for a reverse outright.

“It’s not quite the fairytale you’d want for your 300th but you never know what could happen this weekend,” he said.
Regardless of the result, Whiteside’s standing as a club legend is unquestioned. The part-time glam rocker, who is the lead singer of `70s cover band The Glitter Gang, has played his entire career with Newtown and Chilwell.
He started as a 10-year-old with the Two Blues juniors in 1978/79 and progressed to senior ranks in 1982/83.
Since then, the durable wicket keeper/batsman has taken a club record 285 catches and made four centuries, with a highest score of 162 in the fifths.

Whiteside has also played in four premierships, one in the thirds and three in the fifths. And he is far from finished.
“I’m probably keeping better now than I did five or six years ago. The body is holding out pretty well, except on the really long days,” he said.

“I figure that I’m feeling good about the keeping, so I reckon I can do that for a few more years and then just become a batsman and get seven or eight more years out of myself.”

Whiteside, a club life member, has served as a treasurer and committee member over the years. His musical talents have also made him an easy target for social committees wanting to set up club functions.

He will again be the star of the show tomorrow night, when he takes the lead role in Newtown’s Singing Bee.

MILESTONE: Grant Whiteside will play his 300th game for the Two Blues during the day and then turn into a rock star at night for a club Singing Bee tomorrow.

by Daniel Breen, courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser