Colin Hurford says a genuine love and passion for the game has been at the forefront of his 65 years in Warrnambool cricket.
The 82-year-old was inducted alongside Port Fairy's Paul Ross as a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association legend this week, six decades since moving to the region as a 17-year-old.
Across a glittering career featuring more than 6000 runs, 550 wickets, six WDCA champion players awards and eight premierships, Hurford started out at East Warrnambool before eventually becoming one of the founding members of St Johns - now West Warrnambool - and has remained part of the fabric of the club ever since.
"I was there for one season (at East Warrnambool) and then I went and did my army training, and by the time I got back East had disbanded and so I went out to Allansford for a few years to play," he said.
"I met my future wife at that stage, she lived out at Ecklin so I was out there a fair bit so they asked me to play so I spent a few years and was lucky enough to play in a premiership.
"The proudest moments are always the premierships for sure - I was lucky enough to win in my first two years for St Johns and I was captain actually."
He said he was humbled by the honour but added his journey was only made possible through the many friendships along the way.
"I'd rather look at things from a club point of view than a personal point of view, that's the way I always will be," he said.
"I played cricket for the friendships mainly, naturally you play for premierships but they don't always come along."
Hurford said loyalty for the club and his community was a major part of his cricket journey, as well as enjoying watching the youngsters come through.
"I still love the club, I just love cricket," he said.
"I'm a loyal person, I don't believe in changing clubs - I've been at the Warrnambool footy club since I arrived in Warrnambool.
"It's the same at West Warrnambool. I've had chances to leave, but I've never considered it. My son is the same, he's played 350 games and nearly 10,000 runs.
"I'm just a proud member of the West Warrnambool Cricket Club."
Port Fairy and association great Paul Ross was also inducted as a legend of the WDCA this week, with the six-time club champion and country week representative 'shocked' to receive the honour.
"I'm totally shocked and surprised to receive this award," Ross said. "I'm honoured to get the award.
"I take it the Port Fairy Cricket Club must have nominated me on the back of them giving me life membership a few months ago.
"I've been very lucky to have picked up a few personal awards during my cricket career with Port Fairy but nothing beats the thrill of playing in a premiership team with your teammates which I was fortunate to do with Dennington.
"I was lucky to have played in a wonderful era for cricket in the WDCA. Each club in the association had very talented players including Terry Beks, Mick Rantall, John Houston, Leigh Johnson, Glen Skilbeck, Dale Mitchell and Bill Fary to mention a few."
The champion all-rounder played 123 WDCA games at Port Fairy, Merrivale and Dennington, winning a division one premiership with the latter in 2004-05. He scored almost 4000 runs and claimed 234 wickets, winning two A Grade/Division one cricketer of the year awards in 1996-97 and 2001-02.
Ross said to be a part of Port Fairy's rich history as a club was a rewarding experience.
"I played junior and senior cricket with Byaduk in the Hamilton Cricket Association before Gerard Gleeson encouraged me to join Port Fairy," he said.
"It turned out a great move. I've got fond memories of playing at Port Fairy's Avery's Paddock when I first joined the club. The ground was not the best back in the mid-1990s but now I consider Port Fairy's ground to be the best in the WDCA and one of the best in country Victoria.
"It's a marvellous facility and is a great reward for the people that have worked so hard for cricket in Port Fairy."
The 49-year-old said representing the association at Country Week was one of his fondest memories.
"I loved my time representing Warrnambool in County Week competitions going to Melbourne and playing on grounds including Windy Hill and Victoria Park were sensational," he said.
"The Country Week games gave me a chance to make friends with other local cricketers who were rivals on Saturday's but mates when we played in Melbourne. Country Week also gave me the chance to witness good players from other cricket associations from across the state."
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