HE joined the Bendigo District Cricket Association as the son of a legend, but over the course of 199 games, Shane Taylor has carved out a name for himself.
Taylor – the son of BDCA legend Max Taylor – will play his 200th first XI game this weekend when he lines up for Eaglehawk against Golden Square at MyJet Oval.
Taylor’s path to the 200-game milestone began in the 1990-91 season at White Hills, where he played the first 127 games of his career.
He debuted as a 20-year-old against Strathfieldsaye in January of 1991 in a one-dayer when he was bowled by the Jets’ Terry Scullie for a duck.
However, Taylor took the first of what is now 243 first XI wickets in that game when he had the Jets’ Damian Vendy caught by his dad, Max.
Having had a taste of first XI cricket in 1990-91, Taylor became a permanent member of the team the next season – and the timing couldn’t have been better as the Demons were about to embark on a two-year golden period.
In Taylor’s first full season in 1991-92, the Demons defeated Eaglehawk in the grand final, while the following season, they beat Golden Square in a rain-affected decider to complete back-to-back premierships.
Both premierships were captained by Max.
“That was a huge thrill to play in a premiership with my old man,” Taylor said yesterday.
“Being the legend of Bendigo cricket that dad is, I suppose there was a bit of extra pressure, but I never set out to be as good as him, which is just as well, because he’s got a fair bit on me.
“Not a lot of people get to play with their old man, especially in a couple of flags, so I was very fortunate.
“When we were playing together and he was coaching there was a bit of pressure to contribute and hold my spot.”
One of Taylor’s most remembered contributions early in his career was the 1992-93 semi-final against Eaglehawk.
Chasing he Hawks’ 238, the Demons were on the ropes at 7-131, before an unbroken stand of 108 for the eighth wicket between Taylor (52 n.o.) and Leon Grose (64 n.o.) propelled White Hills into the grand final.
Apart from a three-year stint in Perth in the late ’90s, Taylor played with the Demons until the 2005-06 season, and did it all at Scott Street.
As well as the two premierships, Taylor, who has scored about 2800 runs in his career, was a five-time club champion, won six bowling awards, one batting award and captain-coached the club for two years.
He also won a BDCA league bowling aggregate award in 2000-01 when he claimed 32 wickets.
The only achievement missing from Taylor’s impressive resume is a century, with his highest first XI score being 94 against Bendigo United in the final round of the 2004-05 season.
Since leaving White Hills, Taylor is now in his seventh season at Eaglehawk, where he is averaging 47 with the bat and taken six wickets at an average of 12.5 with the ball.
“I’ve gathered a few injuries at Eaglehawk, which hasn’t helped, but it took a little bit of time to really find my role after going there,” Taylor, 42, said.
“But probably this season, as much as any other, it has been the best for that.
“I can come in a bit higher up the order if needed, and I’ve been able to take a few wickets without bowling a whole lot.
“I thought I would probably be playing B-grade all season, but I did all the pre-season and got a game in the A-grade first up.
“I didn’t get a bowl or bat in the first game and dropped a catch, so the next week against Kangaroo Flat, I was basically treating it as my last chance.
“I got 42 not out and took three wickets that game, so it has turned out OK.”