What are your memories of the Division 2 premiership back in 2008-09?
We defeated Woodford. We batted first and made about 250 runs.
I shared a partnership with Justin Caveny. I ended up making 25 runs and got a couple of catches as wicketkeeper.
Woodford could only manage 170 runs. Michael Darmody bowled sensationally, picking up seven wickets for us.
We had some very good players including Justin Caveny, Ben Walsh, Jonathon Gleeson and Michael Darmody.
Woodford was the best side during the year, but we just put it altogether on grand final day.
We had a 10-year reunion just before Christmas to celebrate the occasion.
The boys had a great night remembering the victory.
Sam, I take it you started your junior cricket career with Koroit. Is that right?
Yes, I played in the under 13s, under 15s and then the under 17s before playing in the seniors.
We were in Division 1 before being relegated to Division 2.
Koroit has had some wonderful cricketers over the years.
Des Douglas was a sensational batsman. I can remember when I was playing in the juniors the young blokes would all want to go watch Des Douglas bat in the seniors on Saturday afternoons.
Des would often belt the ball all over the ground.
I was very lucky because Neale Dobson was there to help my cricket.
Neale was always happy to give advice and support to the junior players that were coming through the ranks.
Your cricket had a change in direction in 2012-13 when you left Koroit and joined Wesley CBC. Was it a tough decision to leave Koroit?
It was a very difficult decision. I had all my mates at Koroit and was still living at home with my parents.
I fronted the Koroit committee and told them the reason I wanted to leave was because I wanted to play Division 1 cricket.
Koroit’s Division 1 side had dropped back to Division 2 for the 2012-13 season. I’m grateful that Koroit was so supportive and understanding in allowing me to switch to Wesley CBC.
Why did you make the decision to join Wesley CBC and not another Division 1 club?
I was studying commence out at Deakin University and a few of the blokes I was studying with were already playing with Wesley, so it was not a really hard decision to join them.
Andrew Cheeseman was the captain-coach of Wesley in 2012-13.
We had a very young side. Personally, my season started off good but tapered off towards the end.
We needed to win the last game of the 2013-14 season with an outright to make the finals, but we failed to do so.
I had a fair season with the bat.
Neville Billington took over as the coach for the 2014-15 season.
I ended up making 350 runs for the season.
I got 73 runs not out against Port Fairy. We missed the finals and did the same in 2015-16 when Neville was in his last season as coach.
I was appointed co-coach with Joe Higgins for the 2016-17 season.
We had a pretty good season coming from last on the ladder to making the top four.
We lost the first semi-final against Russells Creek.
I took over as the senior coach for the 2017-18 season.
We just missed the finals, which was very disappointing, and then this season we’ve lost a couple of close games which has not helped our cause.
We’ve still got a faint hope of making the finals this year, but we’re relying on other results going our way and we’ve got to keep on winning.
Sam, in your opinion, who is the best side in the senior division of cricket this season as we’re heading into the finals?
I would have to say Woodford. They have beaten us both times.
They bat and bowl very well. Russells Creek and Brierly are very good sides on their day.
Have you represented Warrnambool in Country Week cricket in Melbourne?
No, I’ve never been asked to play at the senior level.
I did represent the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association under 17 competition against sides like Grassmere, Portland, Hamilton and Mount Gambier.
Are you going to be captain-coach of Wesley for the 2019-20 season?
No, I’ll be standing down from the job for next season.
I’ll still be playing for Wesley CBC but it’s time after three years to get a new voice with fresh ideas to give directions to the players.
We’ve got some very good young players coming through the ranks and it’s a great club.
I don’t think we’re very far away from senior success.
Away from the cricket, have you played much footy?
Yes, It was obvious that I would play footy for Koroit.
My dad David was a former player at the club and president for four years.
Lots of club stalwarts love to tell me how good of a player dad was in his heyday. His career came to a screaming halt when he was only 22 years old because of knee injuries to both legs after playing 50 games.
I came through the junior ranks and was lucky enough to play in Koroit’s reserves premiership side in 2010.
We defeated South Warrnambool. Chris Keane was the coach and we had some very talented players including Mark Bowman, Damien Dobson and Simon Lenehan.
We were known as “Dads Army” as we had some old-time players in the side.
My footy career was cut short as I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2011.
I have the arthritis in my right wrist and my left knee.
I’ve learnt to live with it. I was forced to hang up my footy boots in 2012 because of the complaint.