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The 2001 Crockett Shield Match - The Tale of a Little Bottle of Vaseline Hair Tonic
The Crockett Shield is the match played every two years between Victoria’s VCAUSA and South Australia’s SACUSA.
The match has been hotly contested 38 times and the current score is 19-18 in favour of the VCAUSA with one draw.
The match has been played in every odd numbered year from 1947 and on three occasions before the war beginning in 1936.
The 38th meeting is scheduled for 2015 in Melbourne.
The competition is named after R.M. “Bob” Crockett who officiated as a first class and Test umpire in both Victoria and South Australia.
After SACUSA defeated VCAUSA at Scotch College, Adelaide in 2001, South Australian Andy Collins discovered a bottle of Vaseline hair tonic in one of the open lockers in the members’ change room at the Mount Lofty Golf Club, where the Saturday evening dinner dance was held. Andy decided to present the bottle to his friend and the Victorian captain Ashley Barrow as a gesture to show that the South Australians appreciated the Victorians. The comical part was that hair tonic meant nothing for Ash as he was bald! Those present at the Saturday evening dinner dance had a great laugh – little did they know that the little bottle of Vaseline hair tonic would re-appear two years later.
In 2003 South Australia played a large copper named Wayne Overmeyer who had performed particularly well for SACUSA (42 not out) – and Ash thought that the bottle of Vaseline hair tonic would be good for a laugh as Detective Inspector Overmeyer was also bald! Subsequently, that little bottle has been passed between bald headed players from each State including Rod McKinnon (VCAUSA), Mick Seager (SACUSA), Tom Hill (SACUSA) and the current VCAUSA “bald” holder, Stephen Pitts. It changed its form in 2007 when it somehow metamorphosed into a legendary cricket bat. Someone like Rod has suggested that the “bald” award should have a proper name, and since last Easter it has been affectionately known as "The Skull".
An anonymous submission has already been received from someone named Chris Allan. Chris played in what he describes as that infamous Crockett Shield match of 2001, and was the last Victorian wicket to fall. Chris has suggested that the “bald” award should be named to honour the infamous umpires who officiated in that match. Chris has written, fondly remembering the match with a degree of irritation: “Ash thought that he should accept the Vaseline as a token to show that we were not bitter for our unfortunate demise, even though he was given out LBW whilst playing the ball 15 feet down the wicket! Or something like that.” One can picture Chris at the strikers end now, looking strangely towards South Australian Test umpire Peter Cronin who was officiating at square leg, saying “How can you possibly give me out stumped when you were looking down at your counter? You didn’t see anything!"
We eagerly await the next Easter Exchange to see who will be the next recipient of this coveted 'Bald" award.
The VCAUSA would like to hear from any reader who has a story, true or otherwise, about any Crockett Shield incident or Easter event episode that they would like to recount to enlighten other readers. Be sure to add your name, or someone else’s name, so that we can acknowledge contributions. We always acknowledge contributions, even the anonymous ones. Thank you Bill Ellemor, Rodney McKinnon and Chris Allan.
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