RICHARD Murphy will create a new piece of Strathdale-Maristians Cricket Club history this Saturday when he breaks the record for the most games at the Suns.
He's not sure yet if it will be in the Bendigo District Cricket Association's second XI or third XI, but game 372 against Kangaroo Flat will surpass the previous Suns' record of 371 held by Kevin Crawford.
While it’s a record-breaking day, Murphy’s mindset leading into the match is to treat it as “just another game”.
“At the moment it just feels like another game of cricket... it's when you retire, which is not in the picture at this point in time, that you look back on things like this," Murphy said on Wednesday.
Murphy first played with the Suns in the 1981-82 season in what was the old C grade under-18 competition and apart from a recent two-year stint away when he moved to the Northern Territory, has been at the club since.
He has played the bulk of his cricket in the first (117 games) and second XI (216) as a moustached bowler, taking 574 wickets at an average of 19.32, with best figures of 8-57 against Sandhurst and 18 bags of at least five wickets.
His tally of games also includes 38 in the thirds.
Now aged 49, Murphy still loves the game as much as when he first pulled on the Suns’ blue cap as a teenager 34 years ago.
“I’m still fairly fit and I love the game and over the journey at the club I’ve certainly made a lot of friends,” Murphy said.
“Having played so long, it has been great to see a lot young players develop and mature into top-class first XI cricketers.”
Premiership success has been hard to come by for Murphy, who in his 30-plus year career with the Suns has just the one flag.
That was in 2009-10 when the Suns’ second XI defeated Bendigo United.
As well as his feats on the field to break the Suns’ games record, Murphy has also been a tireless worker behind the scenes for Strathdale-Maristians dating back to 1986 when he first joined the committee.
Murphy - awarded life membership of the Suns in the early ’90s - has had stints as president, secretary and vice-president.
It’s the work of Murphy and many others off the field at the Suns that have helped establish the club as a dominant force in the BDCA.
The Suns have won three of the past four first XI premierships - are favourite to win another again this season - as well as second XI and third XI flags (two) in the past six years.
“Having been involved on and off the field, one of my highlights has been seeing the success of the club on and off the field,” Murphy said.
“The club was only young when it moved to Strathdale back in the early ’80s and to help build it to the club it is today has been great to be part of.”
Murphy played the early part of his career alongside the man whose record he will break this week - Crawford.
“Kevin is one of the greats of the BDCA and for sheer elegance, there probably isn’t any one better,” Murphy said.
“The way he played some of his shots, particularly his cover drive, was very elegant and methodical... that’s probably the best way to sum up Kevin.”
As well as Murphy breaking the record, the Suns also have Sean McCann playing his 200th club game this week.