Former first-class cricketer to coach and play for his new home.CHALPAT SONTI March 13, 2014 4:57am
New Tallarook cricket coach John Taylor is flanked by club president Wayne Tarran and captain Paul Arandt.
It hasn’t particularly been a season to remember for Tallarook Cricket Club, but the club which prides itself on punching well above its weight has done it again.
In what must rank as the biggest local cricket news for a long time, Tallarook has signed former first-class cricketer John Taylor as its coach for next season. The former Western Australian representative moved to the town from Melbourne about six months ago and has decided to make the cricketing move as well.
His friendship with former Essendon team-mate and Seymour District Cricket Association star Paul ‘‘Subba’’ Arandt was a key to his decision. Arandt had been sounding Taylor out for some time, and the latter — who had been scouting for somewhere for his young family to live — finally agreed.
The 34-year-old all-rounder is a Victorian native who headed west in the early 2000s — his performances in Sandgroper colours highlighted by a 50 against NSW in 2004 and 4-70 against Victoria the previous year. After returning to his home state in 2004, he played for a Victorian Invitational XI against the touring New Zealanders.
He has played club cricket in Melbourne since, firstly with Airport West, then Essendon and lately Aberfeldie.
And Taylor is keen to make his mark locally, especially in encouraging cricketers to Tallarook. The club, like most others in the SDCA, has been battling for numbers in recent seasons — even after winning the two-day title in 2011-12 — and knows it has to do something different to turn that around.
‘‘For me, it’s the perfect time to be coaching,’’ Taylor said.
‘‘Hopefully what you learn from cricket you can put back in. This is obviously a proud club which has struggled a bit this year. We also hope we can sign a few players, and it’ll be an ideal world if we can.’’
Taylor has watched a few SDCA games — another team-mate at Essendon was Alexandra skipper Marcus Hill — and has also been an assistant coach for the past six years.
A modest man when it comes to his own achievements, he offers seniors — and juniors — a rare opportunity to learn from someone who has been there and done that at the highest levels domestically.
And for Arandt, apart from the culmination of a long-term plan, there’s another bonus. Taylor’s presence in the side will give opposition teams another headache.
‘‘I think it’ll be better for my cricket too,’’ he said.
‘‘It’ll also work well at training. We’ve missed that, because I’ve been here for a few years now, we’ve just got into a bit of a rut. I probably find it hard to go crook at them if they’re not pulling their weight at training, and a new person from outside the club is I think the best thing.’’
He’s also hopeful Taylor’s signing will boost numbers to combat a long-held problem.
‘‘Even when we won the flag there was just a few blokes there the whole year. It would be good to have more numbers and juniors as well. This year we’re just filling two sides but now we’re also hoping to lure a couple of former players back who’d lost interest, and there’s already a lot of talk about this, so it’s definitely positive.
‘‘Getting the deal done now means we can already plan for next season. If anyone’s even contemplating playing, they know where we’re up to.’’
Club president Wayne Tarran has had to fill in for A-grade at times, and he is definitely relishing the chance to step off that field.
‘‘The club’s pretty buoyant about John’s appointment,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not every day you get a bloke who’s played first class cricket coming into your town and it’s great he’s decided to come on board.’’
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