Thanks to Tyler Lewis for this week's article on the retiring Peter Dickson, who announced his decision after last weekend's game between Fitzroy Doncaster and Footscray at the Mervyn G Hughes Oval. Dickson, who started his career at Melbourne, retires with 10,045 runs at an average of 37.62, 200 wickets at 22.96 and 90 catches.
All great shows must come to an end.
On Saturday, the same day he recorded his 200th first XI wicket, Fitzroy Doncaster and Victorian Premier Cricket legend Peter Dickson, decided to call time on what has been a fine career.
With runs, wickets and premierships, Dickson will go down in the competitions history as one of the most statistically decorated players.
Starting his career for Melbourne, Dickson made the move to Fitzroy, a decision to re-locate for consistent opportunity as a youngster.
“I probably was in a bit of a rut, I had been at Melbourne for four or five years and hadn’t made the runs I could have,” he said.
“They had a lot of state players and I found myself batting in the middle order, I probably saw myself back then as an opening batsman.
“Fitzroy gave me the opportunity to open the batting and promised me they would give me a decent crack at it,” Dickson said.
As he spent long days out in the middle, it wasn’t enough to earn a spot for the Victorian shield side; but for Dickson, he claims his absence from the side was not due to poor selection.
“If I am brutally honest, my best years were in a period where I just wasn’t good enough for state cricket,” he said.
“There was guys in that Victorian side such as Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Cameron White, Andrew McDonald – the list goes on, more Australian players than Victorian.
“As a cricketer you always strive for something bigger and better, I would have loved to play a game for Victoria.
“The time I was playing my best cricket, there was a lot of guys at the peak of their careers and they were better players than me,” Dickson said.
Dickson held the elusive premiership cup aloft as skipper twice, and while two-time premiership captain rolls off the tongue with ease, he doubted his leadership in those early years.
“I don’t think I was a great captain when I first started,” he said.
“I was probably too hard on the players and tried to do everything myself.
“I think I discovered how to be a captain under Mick O’Sullivan, who was the greatest cricket mentor I have played under – where the best way to mentor and lead people was give others opportunities to lead.
“There is definitely times where the captain has to take the bull by the horns and be firm with the group, but I was also very privileged in my last three years as captain with the guys I had,” Dickson said.
A knock of 226 against Ringwood in the 2015/16 grand final highlighted a terrific record with the willow, an innings where Dickson had a specific plan for every ebb and flow the game had to offer.
“That night I went out with a pretty clear plan, and that was to try and be ahead of Ringwood’s score that night,” he said.
“(Ian) Holland wasn’t available that first night, he became available the next day after coming back from a shield final where he was 12th man.
“I felt I could get after Ringwood’s attack late on that first day, I did have some luck, a couple half chances went down.
“Once I got in, I felt set and then the next day my focus changed to trying to bat all day, but walking out to bat I wanted to score quickly and take the game away from Ringwood in that 25-30 overs before stumps.
“That was a different scenario for me, where it was one of the first times in my career where we just had to bat and if we kept batting we were going to win.
“In some ways there was no expectations to do anything too radical or too different – just bat,” Dickson said.
While retirement was on the cards the season prior, Dickson was slightly disappointed in his exit, albeit grateful for the memories created along the journey.
“I did it bowling (the injury), straight away I knew it wasn’t a one or two week injury,” he said.
“I had some time in the changerooms, my great mate and probably my best mate at the club Nat Vardi came in and he was pretty upset for me.
“It started to dawn on me that it would be my last game for the club, not a fairy-tale way to go out but there is no easy way to leave somewhere where you have fond memories.
“The biggest thing I walk away with is I am really happy with the friends that I have made – the guys in my wedding party were all Fitzroy Doncaster cricketers.
“Even though this year we haven’t had the year we would’ve liked, I leave on great terms of where I leave the club,” Dickson said.