PROLIFIC off-spinner Jim Martin has become just the second player in history to take 500 wickets for the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club.
Martin notched up the milestone with a four-wicket haul in Queanbeyan’s fifth grade win over the North Canberra Golden Eagles at Keith Tournier Memorial Oval last Saturday.
The 61-year-old joins Mark Lynch as one of only two bowlers to have achieved the feat.
Martin’s efforts however, are all the more remarkable when one considers the fact that the former Penrith district player didn’t play his first game for Queanbeyan until his early 40s.
Prior to that, the retired teacher played for more than two decades in the Sydney grade competition and in the Shoalhaven where he estimates he accumulated somewhere upwards of 800 additional wickets.
“I’ve been playing non-stop since I was 15 or 16 so if you tallied them all up it’d probably be about 1300 wickets total,” Martin says. “I’ve actually still got a little medallion for taking 200 wickets that I got back in 1982 so I’ve been going around awhile.
“The only thing is, being a school teacher you do move around a bit so I would have liked to play with Queanbeyan for my whole life.
“Probably one of my only regrets is that I never played first grade with Queanbeyan; I was too old and hopeless by the time I got here,” he adds with a laugh.
Martin joined Queanbeyan for the 1992/93 season and has been a stalwart in the club’s lower grades ever since. But he was quick to downplay the 500-wicket milestone.
“Lynchy’s a legend of the club who also played a lot of first and second grade here so I’d say a lot of his wickets were of a higher quality than mine,” Martin says.
“The last few years I’ve only been playing fourth and fifth grade so it’s not as if I’ve taken 500 first grade wickets. But it’s still a nice little milestone.”
This season has seen Martin claim 12 wickets in eight games at an average of 16 to help Queanbeyan produce an unbeaten run of seven straight games to begin its fifth grade campaign.
And far from slowing down, Martin said a recent operation on his left knee to clear up tears in the cartilage have left him playing without injury for the first time in four or five years.
“I’m still not moving at 100 per cent these days but I’m moving a lot better than I was,” he says.
Martin also said he was currently weighing up whether to make himself available for selection for the Australian over-60s side’s tour of England next year.