Vale Graham Best

Nunawading Cricket Club are saddened to report the recent passing of Life Member, Graham Best

Graham, along with his father Eric, are one of two father and son Life Member combinations along with Fred and George Thatcher.

Graham began with Nuna in 1952, as a result of an invitation from a tennis-friend who lived a couple of doors from the Silver Grove ground. After a wet October training night he was chosen for his first game but missed the first two after contracting Chicken Pox. He started in Round 3, in C grade. He was 15 years of age, batting at #10.

His father Eric joined the Club a year later. He played in the “ones”, then was appointed Captain of the D grade team, and the pair played together that season and won the Premiership. Eric had of course been Graham’s backyard coach, and ‘GB’ had been ‘banned’ from bowling fast there, possibly due to Eric’s hooking ability and the high cost of glass at the time. Although Eric, after an 8-year spell, was close to his mid-40s when he began with NCC, he continued for more than 10 years, chiefly as a left-arm medium-pacer allowing no “free hits”.

Graham’s first (of many) stints as captain occurred in the 60s, and immediately produced a premiership. It required a Captain’s knock when chasing 213, GB providing 64 at the crunch when coming from a long way back in the Final. The team was promoted but still managed Runners-up the following year.

Graham tells us he took 28 years to reach, or return to, the First X1, in the early 1980s. In the “unbeaten champions” season, GB batted with Graeme Torbitt and took the score from 9/120 to 9/213.

Whilst compiling a quiet 100 one day, Graham hit two consecutive 6s, the second of which was not noticed by the scorers. In a last-home-and-home match he played a significant role, but an overlooked permit caused a loss of the points PLUS a “doubling” penalty, so, from first on the table the team finished fifth (but won the subsequent teeth-grinding-championship!!).

Graham was a leg spin bowler and recorded bags of 8/30 and 8/35 vs St Davids, and a 7/27 vs Blackburn as among his “personal Bests’. He took almost 500 wickets in his career with 23 five-wicket hauls. He also posted three centuries and seven half centuries with the bat. In 1967-68, Graham captained the C1 team to a premiership and scored 533 runs at 33, including a century, in a great season.

He served the Club as Secretary, Asst Secretary, and Committeeman. He was many times a Captain, twice a BHRDCA representative player, and once kept wickets all season bar the finals.

Graham rated the transfer to Mahoneys Reserve, the growth it generated, and the Social Club’s arrival, as significant events during his time. He finished after season 1982/83, playing 28 seasons and 242 games.

Eric was made a Life Member in 1957 and Graham in 1977. Eric passed away in 2000.

Graham’s funeral will be held on Tuesday Sept 27 at 1.45pm in the Federation Chapel at Lilydale Memorial Park, 126-128 Victoria Road, Lilydale followed by refreshments in the Candelbark Function Room.

Graham’s contribution to our Club were significant both on and off the field and he is a very-deserved Life Member. The Club passes on our warmest regards to the Best family.

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