The Diary of the 17th Man is the brain child of Sydney-based authors Dave Cornford and Jeremy Pooley. All work is © Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley 2013.
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I was a stodgy but reliable opening bat in the lower grades. My SS Jumbo was too heavy to manoeuver towards the leg side, but my off-side driving was fearsome. Over my career I tried my hand at bowling everything that wasn’t fast, with no real success. My greatest moment on field came at the end of a long year of floggings. We were chasing 88 in the second dig to win our only outright of the year. I opened and we were soon 2 for 10, our long suffering Captain despairing. With 33 no (my highest score) and a partnership of 80 for the third wicket, we brought it home for an 8 wicket triumph. At the end of that season, I moved to Sydney and played a couple of seasons before retiring.
I now spend a lot of time watching my teenage sons play junior cricket – one a fast bowling all-rounder with a straight bat and quick feet, the other an off-spinning all-rounder whose batting often results in the ball “staying hit.”
The rest of the time I work as a consultant with a small tech start up company, and write and self-publish fiction.
I’ve been in the corporate environment advising the great and the good for over 20 years about how to optimise the corporate machine, and as an entrepreneur. My LinkedIn profile is up to date, finally. I was a ‘sometimes’ cricketer, a much better cover fielder than left-arm seamer or right hand (sometimes good for 25) bat. My worst defeat. Lost a game on a final ball run out because my partner held onto his box instead of diving into the crease. My best victory. Coming from behind playing backyard cricket, 9 down, 1 to bowl, and 3 to get. Smashed a window for 6 on the last ball to win. Hid in the garage until it was safe to come out.
Corporate life and cricket (test or backyard) have so much in common. Strategy is executed every day, team work is paramount, yet the uniqueness of the individual always shines through whatever the rules of engagement. The parallels are so rich and raw material so plentiful, and so regularly refreshed, that Dave Cornford and I decided to chronicle them as the 17th Man.
I like nothing better than to turn on the box, turn up the radio, or tune in to ESPN, and relax for a few overs with whatever child is at hand, especially if rain has stopped play in the backyard.
It is a sad but inescapable fact that Jock never achieved cricket greatness.
Despite growing up in the West Indies, and being privately coached in batting by the great Sir Learie Constantine, Jock was never selected to play for the West Indies, or England or Australia. Or even the school team. Some followers attribute this to his complete lack of talent. Can’t bowl, can’t bat, can’t run, can’t catch.
Jock can however draw cartoons, and he ekes out a living as a subsistence illustrator in the leafy hills of Warrandyte, near Melbourne. He follows the Aussie cricket team’s considerable efforts with passion, and their passions with considerable effort. Jock has established a special bond with the 17th man, and frequently illustrates the insightful diary jottings with irreverent cartoon scratchings.
Jock also manages a boutique consultancy in corporate communications, which can be useful when running between wickets. You can check out some of the other mischief that he gets up to at www.StrategicImages.com.au