Q1: James Ratcliffe and Cameron Russell, welcome back to Newtown and Chilwell Cricket Club, you’ve never been far away, but tell us why this year you’ve chosen to play with the Two Blues again?
A1: (Cam and James): After a lengthy spell in the wilderness it now seems the perfect time to come home to the Two Blues. It’s easy to see that success is just around the corner with the young playing group starting to come into their own. Seeing as though we’re both on the wrong side of 30 we believe a couple more experienced old heads around the club could help with the development of some of the younger guys. Hopefully we can be a part of something memorable over the next couple of years.
Q2: When did you play your first games for Newtown and Chilwell?
A2: (Cam and James): We started playing in the under 12’s. With Greenie as our coach we learned a few new words that we were able to share around the schoolyard.
Q3: You came to the club as schoolboys then, what are you both up to now?
A3: (Cam): We’ve both done our time in Melbourne but are now back living and working in Geelong. Rat is running his dry-cleaning business/sweat shop and I’m working in the agriculture industry.
Q4: James, you might be at least one up on Cam in the premiership department. No doubt you’d like to win one together now?
A4: (James): Yes, winning a flag for Newtown was a massive highlight. It is always good to have one up on Cam but obviously we’d love to win one together.
Q5: You’re both highly accomplished bowlers, but who claims to be the better batsmen?
Q5: (James and Cam): The jury is still out. We’ll let you know at the end of the season.
Q6: Queens Park is regarded as the best ground on which to play cricket in Geelong, the wicket, the outfield and the setting and following the recent renovations the downstairs facilities are first- class, in every sense, would you recommend what we have here to anyone thinking of joining Newtown and Chilwell?
Q6: (James and Cam): There’s no competition for the Two Blues when it comes to facilities and the club as a whole. The junior program is the most important aspect of any club and nobody does it as well as Newtown and Chilwell. The culture of the club and the people involved (on and off the field) are unrivalled. So yes, is the answer, with no hesitation.
Q7: You’re the closest of friends, when you see James you know Cam is not far away, and vice versa, what has made your friendship special over the years.
A7: (James and Cam): Yes, it’s been a hard tag to shake. We started at school together when we were sixyears-old so it’s all we’ve ever known. We’ve played cricket together ever since then so we’re looking forward to keeping that going.
Q8: You’ve both played across the grades, who are the special characters you’ve discovered about the place?
A8: (James and Cam): We’ve been fortunate enough to play with some champions of the club over a number of different grades. As teenagers coming through the ranks it was a treat to learn the craft from guys like Dev Royce, Russ Mitchell and Frank Tuskes. Also, we played juniors all those years ago with Yves “Shiv” Roussety who definitely deserves a mention!
Q9: Who is the best cricketer you’ve played alongside in your time at the club?
A9: (James and Cam): It’s hard to go past Ben Neville when it came to ability and leadership. On the field he could do the unimaginable and off field he was a massive help for us as youngsters. Hopefully someone will pop up this year and take the mantle as the best we’ve played with!
Q10: And now the big one, everyone has a Russell Mitchell story, what are yours?
A10: (James and Cam): We can’t stitch up the great man. Russ was huge for us when we started playing in the seniors. His booming voice and witty one-liners could be heard from all corners of Queens Park. It was always nice running in to bowl knowing he was standing in the slips and already well and truly in the head of batsman. Not only that, he had a great deal of faith in us and gave us the encouragement we needed as teenagers coming up against older/experienced opposition. Truly a great of the club!