This giant and popular fast bowler made a huge impact on Premier, Victorian and international cricket. And to show their appreciation, Footscray Edgewater honoured him by naming their home ground the Mervyn G Hughes Oval.“It was a huge honour, a shock and a surprise when they asked if they could use my name. When you think of the calibre of player to come out of Footscray over all those years, it was a really humbling feeling.”However that was a just reward for Hughes, the most recognisable player the club has produced at all levels of cricket. The highlight for Hughes was the 1979/80 premiership, the only success in the club’s Premier cricket history.He joined Footscray as a 17 year old fast bowler from Werribee the previous season and began with 8/35 to move up from the thirds to the seconds. He spearheaded the club’s attack in its premiership season, when the Dogs defeated St Kilda.“They were great days. It was just an honour to play with Ray Bright, who was an Australian player, and Ken Eastwood and Lindsay James and Ron Gaunt, who convinced me to cut down my long run-up.“The premiership year was so special. Barry Watson won the Ryder Medal and we won the premiership. We certainly celebrated.“It is interesting that I played only 158 games for the club over a 21 year period, but that is how it pans out when you begin first-class cricket. I always enjoyed it. It was tough, uncompromising. Players fought hard for their teams and there were some intense rivalries. Certainly there was between us and Melbourne. We didn’t have much joy at the Albert Ground but we gave them a pasting whenever they came to the Whitten Oval.“One of the great things was the friendships you made. I was lucky in that I was in the state squad at an early age, so I got to meet and know a lot of the players. It was far easier to have a beer and chat with them after a game if you knew them.“And there were some great characters. Ian Callen of Carlton had a wicked sense of humour. Every club had a character.”Despite his prolonged absences from Premier cricket between 1979/80 and 1999/2000 because of his first-class escapades, Hughes still took 306 wickets at the excellent average of 18.86, with 6/20 the best of his 16 five wicket hauls. He also scored 1287 runs with two half centuries.Hughes began his first-class career at 20, replacing Max Walker in the team that played South Australia at Geelong in January 1982. He was an outstanding personality and character of the scene, with his broad moustache and warm-up exercises that made him a folk hero.He enjoyed a fine opening four games in 1985/86 and made his Test debut against India at Adelaide Oval. He was an outstanding contributor to Australia regaining the Ashes in 1989 in England.Hughes played two seasons with Footscray Edgewater seconds as skipper after his retirement to help develop youngsters until 2000/01. He now is a national selector.In first-class cricket Hughes played 165 games, taking 593 wickets at 29.39 with 8/87 the best of his hauls of 10 wickets in a match five times and five wickets in an innings 21 times.He played at Test level 53 times, capturing 212 wickets at 28.38. He captured 8/87 against the West Indies, including a hat-trick, in match figures of 13/217. That was the only occasion he captured 10 or more wickets in a Test, but he also captured five or more in an innings on seven occasions.