Special thanks to journalist Tyler Lewis for writing this article.
“If I was asked back in 2009/10 whether I’d play 200 First XI games, I probably would have said ‘no chance’, I never thought it was a possibility”
When Box Hill legend Dani Montague steps over the rope onto Princes Park on Sunday, she will etch herself deeper into Victorian Premier Cricket folklore by notching 200 First XI matches for her beloved Mustangs.
In her 199 matches, Montague has been a leader with the ball, collecting 172 wickets at a mighty average of 22.64.
While she has led the formidable Box Hill attack in almost all of her 200 matches, Montague begun her cricket journey rather differently than the way she plans to play her milestone match this Sunday.
“I remember first doing Milo Cricket when I was about six or seven with my brother at my junior club Knox Gardens Cricket Club,” she said.
“I then moved onto playing in the under-11s until under-15s with the boys.
“I actually started off as a wicket-keeper so most of my junior games I kept and didn’t start bowling full-time until I was in my second season at Box Hill,” Montague said.
In the last few seasons alone, the right-arm seamer has been remarkably consistent, claiming a victim in 36 of her last 52 innings with the ball.
Montague admits the signs of consistency come as a result of putting in the work at training and her drive to succeed for the teams benefit.
“To be seen as consistent over such a time frame is a real compliment,” she said.
“I don’t really know what I put the consistency down to, I train hard at trainings, (I am) constantly bowling so that has probably played a part in it.
“I love the club and the team aspect of the game so I just try my best every time I go out there,” Montague said.
In a career riddled with moments, it is often difficult to put a favourite moment. But the Mustangs superstar states she will never forget the success she has achieved with her club and how dealing with defeat meant the taste of victory was all the more sweater in her first premiership.
“There has definitely been a few memories, but the main one would be winning our first grand final, especially after losing the three in a row before that,” she said.
“To win any premiership is always a special moment, I’m lucky that I’ve been able to be a part of the four One-Day wins and two Twenty-20 premierships during these 200 games.
“Each of them that I’ve been involved in at Box Hill have been special in their own right. We never had the same team in any of those 4 wins so there were different players each year who had to stand up.
“To be able to share the wins with a different group of teammates each time has been good,” Montague said.
Like any champion of the game, Montague deflected the achievement, putting the milestone down to luck and the faith of others.
“I never set out to play that many,” she said.
“I’m just lucky that I’ve had the chance to be a part of a club that has allowed me to play and contribute for so long.
“I suppose it hasn’t really sunk in that I’ve played that many games. It will probably mean a lot once I’ve finished playing and I look back on it and what I’ve been able to achieve at Box Hill,” Montague said.
Montague will play her 200th First XI match this Sunday in the competitions first round after the Christmas break, but the milestones won’t stop there, as she is only a handful of games away from surpassing the clubs First XI games played record, currently held by fellow club legend Penelope Cleghorn.