Against All Odds, signed by the old stars

The Australian Cricket Society co-ordinated a reunion of the 1966-67 Victorian Sheffield Shield team which against all odds won the Sheffield Shield, despite having five of its Test stars absent.

Aa celebration limited edition booklet was issued (signed by the players present).The story of Victoria’s 1966-67 Sheffield Shield triumph is a soft back and limited to 221 copies of which only 200 are available to collectors.

The autographs included Paul Sheahan, Alan Connolly, Ken Eastwood, John Grant and hopefully Les Joslin — among nine or 10.

Potter has completed a a foreword in which in part he says:

“Sitting in on the Victorian selection committee for the first time was eye opening. To my great surprise and pleasure, ‘The King’, Jack Ryder, asked me who I wanted in my team. It threw me a little as I hardly knew or had seen little of most of the younger players in contention.

“I nominated five or six as ‘automatics’: Connolly, Grant and Bitmead as bowlers, Eastwood and Sheahan as batsmen and Raymond Clarence ‘Slug’ Jordon as the ‘keeper. The rest of the team I left to the committee to select. They then asked me an interesting question. With only three bowlers how did I expect us to dismiss opposition teams in four-day cricket? I suggested to them that I would tie up one end with Bitmead (who they hadn’t heard of) and I would alternate Connolly and Grant at the other. Connolly could also bowl off his short run and tie up the other end while Grant rested after opening the bowling.

“They were underwhelmed — to say the least. Teams at that level were supposed to have five batsmen, four bowlers, a ‘keeper and an all-rounder. ..”

From rank outsiders to Shield champions, it is a fascinating story — the original signatures adding lustre to a lovely limited edition, the latest in my ‘Nostalgia Series’.