Premier Cricketer - Justin Farrow

Justin Farrow (Juzzy) never really stood a chance on where to play cricket.  The son of Life and VSCC Founding Member Jimmy Farrow, nephew of Belly and brother of Scud Farrow he was around the club when still in nappy’s.  A topic not forgotten by Bobby Hammer one warm Saturday evening when Juzzy made his first mark on the club (or Bobby).  His early years were spent under everyone’s feet down at Terrara Park the then home of the VSCC looking up to the likes of Jason and Troy Harbinson, Bobby Mudher, Ano and Milney who was his first U/12C Team Manager.  Or giving cheek to the founding members in Doug Milne, Laurie Lehman or Col Mitchell.

Juzzy was keen to get started on his cricketing career at the very fresh age of 9 yrs old back in 1985.  Jimmy giving him the green light to start early on, debuting in the U/12c’s along with other great club men such as Chris Meade who managed to run Juzzy out for a diamond duck on debut!  Juzzy was keen from day 1 to throw the wicket keeping gloves and pads on and with no rules to share the role around very quickly made it his own.  Of course he didn’t really have a say with Jimmy giving his first pair of Kookaburra Red keeping gloves for his birthday that season!  All through his junior and senior career at The Vultures he was a batsman wicket keeper, his wicket keeping skills showing through early and having him promoted up the junior age groups before his time.

Juzzy’s batting skills were slower to develop than his keeping and didn’t shine through until his 3rd season in U/14’s but he and Nathan Tovey formed a strong batting partnership for the remainder of their junior days through the U14A’s and then onto U16A’s where they had plenty of finals success without managing to take home the flag.

True to tradition Juzzy’s senior career started off very early and was playing both Juniors in the morning and Seniors in the afternoon from the time he as 14.  Debuting in the seniors with Jimmy in the 7ths as a young 13yr old.  Juzzy progressed quickly through the senior ranks playing in all but the 4th XI during his time at The Vultures.  This only due to a wash out that saw his only 4th XI selection and record washed away.

Playing in the 3rd XI under Kev Dawson he formed a formidable combination with his brother Scud keeping up to Scuds in swinging medium pacers and obtaining countless off-side and leg side stumpings that season.  The 3rd XI went on to win the Premiership against a very vocal and bullish Blackburn North with Juzzy playing a pivotal role beyond his 15yrs of age.  Coming to the wicket with The Vultures in trouble at 6/90 chasing 173 for victory early on Day 2 he formed an un-beaten 93 run partnership with Chris Matthews to guide the team home and hit the winning runs and 39* to his name.  He learnt a few new words off the Blackburn North opening bowler that day but left the opposition speechless as he sublimely dispatched the quick to the boundary on numerous occasions over square leg.

Juzzy’s batting went from strength to strength and it was the next season playing in the 2nd XI where he scored his maiden and only 100 for club.  This time against Mitcham Cricket Club, batting at #3 and coming in during the 1st over of the day when his premiership batting partner from the year before was dismissed 2nd ball of the day.  Juzzy settled in against the new ball before batting until after tea, scoring 113 runs before being dismissed.  It was that day that we started to see the trademark pull shot, definitely a favourite of his for years to come.

Captain Coach at the time Paul Mahon was quick to get Juzzy into the 1st XI after scoring that century and he was soon batting at #3 in the 1st XI before settling down into the middle order in later games with some dominant performances with the bat.  One memorable innings was alongside his junior team mate Nathan Tovey together posting an unbeaten 100 run partnership in the 2nd innings against Doncaster who at the time had the fastest bowler in the competition in Peter Muscat.  For whatever reason Captain Paul and V/C Milney decided the young kids should bat on past the optional 5pm innings end for the 2nd innings.  A decision Muscat did not agree with and with the light fading and the big man’s pace quickening once again Nathan and Juzzy learnt some new words that are yet to be forgotten.  But neither Nathan or Juzzy took a backward step.

Juzzy, along with Nathan and others were founding members of the VSCC JDS Squad and grabbed the attention of the Hawthorn Waverley Cricket club during a Sunday practice match against their own development squad.  Wicketkeeping well and building a good innings with the bat he was invited to come down and play the last few games with the club that season.

But it wasn’t until the end of his 2nd season in the 1st XI where the club competed and were defeated in the semi-finals that through some encouragement of Paul Mahon that Juzzy decided to move on to have a crack at District Cricket.  Having represented Box Hill Cricket Club during U/14 Hatch and then Fitzroy Doncaster for U/16 Dowling Shield competitions he was yet to decide where he would play but it was that big fast bowler from VSCC in Scotty that encouraged him over to Hawthorn Waverley.

Debuting in the 2nd XI at Hawthorn Waverley with Scotty the following year Juzzy plied his trade for a while amongst the lower grades but also formed some strong friendships that tied him to the club for years to come.  With some administration and coaching changes at the club Juzzy around 1997 he found his rhythm once more and made the 2nd XI keeping spot his own not long after.  Unfortunately he had little chance of pushing further up the grades with the Victorian Representative Peter Roach captaining and keeping in the 1st XI.   He did manage to force himself into the 1st XI as a specialist batsman during a Premiership winning season with the club.  A season tally of over 500 runs at an average of 40+ batting at number 6 in the 2nd XI he debuted in the 1st XI late that same season.  He went onto play a handful of games when Roachy was interstate on Victorian duties over the next few seasons.

Playing 2nd fiddle to ‘Roachy’ didn’t seem to phase Juzzy even as offers from other Premier clubs came in, he found plenty of success with both bat and gloves in the 2nd XI playing alongside other VSCC greats in Mark Arnot and Jon Finch.  The three of them played together in a gut wrenching 2nd XI Grand Final loss that also included Australian representative Dirk Nannes at the time.  I certainly wouldn’t have liked to have been a batsman facing that bowling attack!

Not long after that season Juzzy became captain of the 2nd XI and had some more successful seasons with HWMUCC as captain for another 4 seasons.  Going on to play over 150 Premier Cricket matches in a 10yr career with well over 100 of these at the 2nd XI level.  
He had a highest score of 144 during his time at Hawthorn and a career average of 30+.

Once his time at Hawthorn came to an end Juzzy followed some of his good friends over to Box Hill Cricket Club in the VSDCA.  Here he helped steer the club to some of its greatest years over 4 seasons where they club was represented in finals each year.  He played a pivotal role in their first 1st XI premiership in 25 years, opening the batting and blasting 70 runs before tea in a rain interrupted first day.   The season before that Juzzy had been awarded the 1st XI Batting trophy with total of 338 runs and an average of 48 batting at number 7.

Surprisingly this wasn’t Juzzy’s best season with the club, he waited for his last for that.  Amassing 522 runs at an average of 37 and a highest score of 108. During the season he also combined with another Box Hill batsman in Andrew Goldsmith for a record breaking 226 run partnership.  These efforts saw him rewarded with selection in the VSDCA Team of the Season, opening the batting and wicket keeping which until then had been unheard of at that selection table.  The season before that saw 422 runs and a highest score against Noble Park of 117*, some say he found a very late calling as an opening batsman, punishing the hard ball with the field up.

It’s fair to say that Juzzy Farrow is one of the greatest keeper batsman developed by The Vultures but one we never saw the best of.  Juzzy does drop by the club occasionally when he has the time and we hope to see this more often as his family grows older.  There has always been the rumour that Juzzy isn’t finished with his VSCC playing days and he’s just waiting for the right moment to re-appear in the club nets and get his name on the honour board next his father and brother.   Who knows there could be a new great generation of Farrows at the club soon with the offspring of Juzzy and Scud just starting their cricketing careers that may just lure him back.