Premier Cricketer - Ross Hammerton
Ross came down to the Vultures as a 1st year U16 player with a school friend Stephen Plumridge after returning from living in Darwin for 6yrs. He started in the 16Bs batting at number 8 in his first 2 games. He was feeling dejected at that time as he felt he wasn’t getting a ‘descent go’ and should be batting in the top order. His Vulture career could have ended right there! But, he was shortly promoted to the 16A team and his fate was sealed. In his 2nd U16 year he established himself as opening batsmen and with his fellow opening partner Shaun Thompson scored a junior club record opening partnership of 193 against a highly rated Nunawading side. On 98 and with his first 100 one ball away, he was given out LBW – Yes it still hurts. It was many years later until he finally made his first 100. We eventually lost the Grand Final that season to Eley Park. Fellow future district players Justin Farrow and Mark Arnot also played in that U16 team.
Ross started his senior VSCC career in the 2nds, but was quickly dropped to the 3rds…which was a great thing as he had a very successful season opening the batting in 3rds and learnt the craft of senior cricket, culminating in the 3rd XI Premiership. The following season he started in the 2nds and then after two 50s in the first two games he was selected to debut in the 1sts. He was also told he would be opening the batting – he was very nervous that week. Ross made 8 in his first game after being run-out! This 8 included a hook shot for 6. He remember not seeing the ball, swinging the bat and top edging it. Their opening bowler wasn’t impressed.
From that point, he never looked back and when Graeme Matthews arrived at the club as captain-coach, his cricket went from strength to strength. In Graeme’s 1st season of being coach, he scored over 400 runs and we won the 1st XI premiership. This season performance and with Graeme’s advice and influence, he had the confidence and was prepared to give District/Premier cricket a go. He was 20 at the time, with 2 senior premierships in 3 seasons, so cricket life was good. But, that 1st XI was the last premiership he have ever won in cricket. Don’t take Premiership wins for granted!Graeme was a Hawthorn/Waverley CC legend and there were already fellow Vultures playing at Haw/Waverley CC namely David Scott and Justin Farrow, so this made the transition a bit easier. From the first day, he arrived at Haw/Waverley CC, he noticed district cricket was step up in class and to be successful you did have to work on your game, both in fitness and skills. This however he came to enjoy and was in a good position to give District a good go. For his district career, he predominantly played in the 2nds and 3rds winning the 3rd XI batting award twice. A highlight being 156no in a 3rd XI semi final against Melbourne CC captained by soon to become a VSCC Captain-Coach Scott Cunningham. That innings was by far his best ever and was in the middle of a hot streak, averaging 112 in the last 4 games of that season. Another highlight, was sharing in a 100+ run partnership with then Haw/Wav CC coach Simon Helmot to win a 2nd XI game. Simon went on to coach the Victoria T20 team and then the Melbourne Renegades. Playing district cricket also lead Ross to having the opportunity to play cricket in England where he played for Backworth CC in Newcastle Upon Tyne – It was a fantastic experience and one he enjoyed immensely
Ross loved his time at HWCC, unfortunately not playing a 1st XI game, but he has absolutely no regrets and thoroughly enjoyed his 5 seasons in district cricket and still remain friends with people he met at Hawthorn/Waverley CC to this day.
When ‘advised’ his time was over at HWCC it was a no brainer to come back to VSCC. Graeme Matthews was still coach and he fitted straight back in – as if he never left. Soon after, his old foe Scott Cunningham came to coach the Vultures and then after Scott was fellow U16 teammate Mark Arnot. Under Mark with his great bowling skill, we had our best run in the McIntosh Shield, regularly making the semi-finals, but only getting to the big dance once, unfortunately losing to Vermont CC in a rain affected game. In that season’s semi-final, he hit the winning runs against Bulleen-Templestowe and it was his proudest moment ever as a Vulture - making 45no in an intense, hardly fought game and sending the team/club into their first McIntosh Shield Grand Final. A moment he will never forget.
A few seasons later he felt it was our destiny to win the McIntosh shield GF. We went through the H&A season undefeated and made 250 against Box Hill North CC in the semifinal. We had beaten BHN easily in the H&A season and expected to win defending 250 in a semifinal. In reply, BHN were 3/30 but found a way to chase the runs down to pull off an unlikely win. To lose that Semi Final was the lowest of lows and it still hurts to think about it…
Another highlight during his time was with his long time opening partner Stephen Staddon. One sunny day against Mitcham, they put on 200 for the opening stand. He knew the club record opening partnership was 220 and he advised Stadds this was our target. Unfortunately, Stadds was dismissed the next over and it was not to be, but still, it was a highlight of his career with both Stadds and he making 100s that day.Soon after Ross ‘retired’ due to family commitments, but after a couple years out, he was lured back to the Vultures to co-captain the 1st XI with Steve Staddon by then coach Scott Cunningham. The following 3 years of being captain was some of his most enjoyable at the club. He thoroughly enjoyed the honour and challenge of being the VSCC 1st XI captain. We made the semi-finals in 2 of those years, but still couldn’t get to the GF and win another premiership. Ross stepped down as captain and played 1 more season under Ryan Punton and again we made the semi-finals but went no further.
Ross also served on the committee for 7 years, 5 of those as Treasurer. He is now heavily involved in the VSCC juniors as his two sons are now young Vultures coming through. In 2000, he was named as 12th man in the VSCC Team of the Century – 1977-1999. In 2014, he was awarded Life Membership of VSCC and played his 200th game in Jan 2016. These achievements he will cherish for all time.
Ross is a legend of the VSCC in all ways. His contribution is far from over, and we look forward to many more years of Ross’ involvement at the club.