AN opportunity to play cricket alongside his youngest son turned into a "fairytale" result for Steve Blacker.
Steve and Nick, 16, starred for Wesley-CBC in division two on Saturday, putting on a match-defining 132-run opening-wicket stand.
"A mate of mine who was watching said it was just like watching twins," the proud dad said.
"It was nice from my point of view to sit up the other end and watch him up close and talk to him each over."
Steve made 75 and Nick carried his bat to finish unbeaten on 72 as the Beavers scored a 70-run win over Warrnambool and District Cricket Association rival Port Fairy.
The special father-son moment was "an opportunity too good to refuse".
Steve, who is based in Horsham and working in harness racing circles, was in Mildura on Thursday night when Nick called him.
"I had a message from Nick saying 'can you call me please as soon as you can?'," he recalled.
"I've gone 'I'm pretty sure he's got dropped from A grade'."
But what "started out as a counselling session" soon turned into a potential memorable moment.
"He rang and said 'two things - I got dropped' and I said 'fair enough, you're going to get dropped at some stage', and then he said 'we're playing twos at Port Fairy on Saturday, can you play?'," Steve said.
Steve, who doesn't expect to play often this season due to work commitments, was still aligned to Allansford-Panmure.
But the Gators cleared him in time for Saturday's clash.
"To be able to open the batting with Nick (was great) and the rest is a bit of a fairytale," he said.
"Hopefully Nick gets back in the ones. I am at that point where I am happy to watch rather than play but it's one of those things where everything fell into place."
Nick said making a half-century alongside his dad was an added bonus.
"It was great batting with him. I was pretty nervous when we were 0-70 - I really wanted to get that 100 partnership," he said.
"To play a proper game where we both got to open the batting and put on some runs was really good."
Nick, who surpassed his previous best of 60 runs, said his dad took the honours in one area.
"He ended up getting more runs than me so I was a bit dirty on that, even though I faced a few more balls," he joked.
The Emmanuel College student said Steve was "by far the biggest influence on my career".
"He's kind of coached me from the start and taught me everything I know," Nick said.
"We both like to take our time and play pretty straight. We're not the type of blokes who take the big shot, although he did hit a couple over the in-field."
Steve, a father-of-three - he also has son Charlie, 19, and daughter Lucy, 14, - said he was content watching his children play.
"Charlie and Nick have gone past me as players now," Steve said.
"I played with Charlie and Nick when they were a lot littler. We had a year playing in division three or four at Allansford but that was six years ago.
"Nick was only a little kid and I think I got to bat with Charlie once; not for many overs, I think I went out.
"That (Saturday) was the first time I have been able to bat with Nick."
Steve said his sons were "solid bats probably more suited to two-day cricket than one-day cricket".
"Nick is a bit of a cricket nut that I have to take a fair bit of responsibility for," he laughed.
Steve was also pleased to play alongside some other junior players he'd mentored during winter including Blake Rouse, Harry Black, Archie Bolden and Matt Sinnott.
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