Peter Cox was a fine, competitive all-rounder for four Premier Clubs between 1971/72 and 1996/97. A capable left-hand bat good enough to score 6 VCA centuries, he also bowled left-arm orthodox spin, taking 363 wickets @ 26.55 in his career. Cox is one of only ten players to reach the 300-game milestone in Premier Cricket.
Cox played 10 first class matches for Victoria between 1977/78 and 1982/83, scoring 385 runs @ 32.08 and taking 22 wickets @ 30.14.
A feisty, combative all-rounder lured from North Melbourne in 1983-84 with the promise of good times ahead, Peter Cox added fibre and grit to the first XI, taking the club from last to fifth to first in his first two seasons. He won the club championship in 1984-85, captained the 1984-85 premiership team and playing in the 1985-86 flag-winning team.
A high-order left-hand bat and a left-arm finger spinner with a fast bowler's attitude, Cox moved to the city from Redcliffs as a 16-year-old batsman, immediately impressing with his fierce desire and passion. His bowling developed at the encouragement of ex-Test batsman Paul Sheahan, then coaching at Arden St. "I wanted to prove a point I could play and get amongst them", Cox said. "I wanted to be successful and put myself on the line. At times I'd get pretty aggressive."
Cox initially played for more than a decade with North Melbourne and had 10 state appearances as spinning understudy to Ray Bright. I'd been keen to lead for some time and the job at St Kilda sounded pretty good, especially when 'Graffy' (Shaun Graf) told me that (John) Emburey was coming back. Guys were running the lake each Thursday night and stopping and having a beer afterwards. There was a real buzz about the place. I'd never known any club to start so early. Then Graffy told me he was going to Western Australia, Emburey decided to put more diamonds in his golden shoes in South Africa rather than playing with us and suddenly we were back to kids again! Funnily enough, though, it turned out to be the most satisfying season I'd ever played. We finished fifth and beat eventual premiers Prahran in the last round. We also came second in the overall club championship."
Competitive and cantankerous on the field, Cox was mellow and good-humored off it, teammates well-remembering one motivational speech which ended with the one liner" "And boys....don't forget....get yer hams from me at Christmas!"
Few built superior club records, Cox's 317 game tally including 79 in five of his best seasons with St Kilda.
"While I hadn't been a leader before I'd been around a long time and listened and observed," he said. "A guy like Keith Stackpole, for example, was tough, but everything was aimed around team things. He made players sit together and be totally team oriented. I enjoyed watching what he did and how he went about it. When he sledged he put thoughts into a batsman's mind.
"When I was able to do it in a way I wanted to and win a few games, too, it was very exciting. I would have liked to have done it for a longer time, but we'd moved down to Torquay and with all my work, I was only able to train one night a week. Standing down (for Gary Cosier, in 1985) was the right thing to do. There probably would have been an argument if I'd of been still living in town though!"
Cox's long time deputy Andrew Lynch said Cox's example was invariably inspirational. "Whether he was batting or bowling he'd never give in. He didn't have as much natural ability as some but he used it all. He was one of the toughest players and probably the best captain I played under, too. He led us in the first Grand Final against Carlton and then stood down to help retain ‘Coze' the following year. Part of the deal was that he wanted to captain. That was a big thing to do for the club."
After four seasons with the Saints, Cox played at North Melbourne-Geelong and Werribee - where he won a sub-district championship - before returning to the Junction for a final season in 1990-91. He also played at South Melbourne and had his last competitive season at 44 in senior Geelong club ranks.
From “DOWN AT THE JUNCTION THERE'S A CRICKET GROUND” by Ken Piesse
(c) Ken Piesse 2005. Reproduced with the kind permission of the author.