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Matt Mason Souvenir Brochure

101 first class appearances 318 first class wickets an average of 27.35 economy rate of 2.80 runs per over


Co-educational Boarding and Day (13 – 18)

An ‘Outstanding’ school – Ofsted 2010/11 IB & A levels in the Sixth Form Unrivalled sports facilities t: +44 (0)1684 581 515 e: registrar@malcol.org

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Contents

Contributors Mervyn King

5

Stuart Bailey

7

Matt Mason

8

Kellie Mason

11

Sue Mason

12

Simon Mason

13

Justin Langer

17

Tom Moody

19

Callum Thorp

21

Simon Katich

23

Daryl Mitchell

25

Ben Langley

27

Alistair Cook

29

Darren Lehmann

32

Vikram Solanki

33

Mike Hussey

35

Kevin Shine

36

Paul Nixon

37

Darren Veness

39

Alan Richardson

41

Dave Bradley

43

Mark Chilton

44

Paul Terry

45

Steve Rodhes

47

During the year Matt will also be helping to raise funds in support of his chosen charity the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign. The charity is very poignant for Matt and his wife Kellie as one of their very dear friends fought hard to overcome breast cancer and has now gone on too be a patron of the charity as Matt hopes to do.

Gordon Lord

49

Tim Clarke

50

Ben Smith

51

Matt Maynard

52

Matt has been and continues to be a very loyal servant to Worcestershire County Cricket Club and thoroughly deserves his Testimonial year in 2012.

Tim Packwood

53

Simon Hogg

54

Welcome

A

fter a decade of playing First Class Cricket for Worcestershire the club have great delight in awarding Matt Mason a Testimonial year in 2012.

Matt made his first class Debut for Western Australia in the 1996/97 season at the WACA ground in Perth. With limited opportunities over a frustrating few seasons Matt decided to pursue his first class career with Worcestershire at the suggestion of then Director of Cricket Tom Moody. Nearly ten seasons later his commitment to the club both on and off the field has been recognised not only by the club but the members and supporters as well. In 101 first class appearances Matt has taken 318 first class wickets at an average of 27.35 and at an outstanding economy rate of 2.80 runs per over. Matt’s career best bowling figures came against Gloucestershire at New Road where he returned 8/45. Although not known for his batting some valuable and entertaining innings were had and 5 first class 50’s and a highest score of 63 are testimony to that. His tireless work ethic and love for the game were plain to see every time Matt took the field. Always finding time to speak to everyone he came across Matt became a popular figure at New Road and around the grounds and many supporters from other clubs have already voiced their approval of Matt receiving his Testimonial year.

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Mervyn King

An honour to be the patron of Matt’s testimonial year

I

was sad to learn that Matt had decided to retire from playing the First-Class game. Throughout his time at Worcestershire, he was a wonderful bowler and a great servant to the Club. How much we enjoyed seeing Matt steaming in to bowl with his characteristic action exuding enthusiasm and commitment. It is remarkable now to think back to Matt’s initial hesitancy to come to county cricket. We must all be extremely grateful that, in 2002, Tom Moody persuaded him that it was the right move – something that I am certain all Worcestershire supporters would agree has since been proved many times over. Few batsmen will have enjoyed facing Matt, especially during the 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons when he was able to deliver so consistently. That carried on into 2006 when he returned career best figures of 8-45 against Gloucestershire.

Indeed, we as spectators were treated to many fine spells of bowling from Matt. Sadly, no more. But we need not be downbeat. Matt’s shoulder has earned a well-deserved rest. We can now hope Matt will be able to continue improving the other bowlers from the position of coach. It is an important role - there are many good young players at Worcestershire and, if the bowling can come good over the next couple of seasons, then the prospects are very bright. We are fortunate that Matt’s seamless transition to the position of bowling coach means Worcestershire will be able to benefit from his commitment and good humour for, I hope, many years to come. I am honoured to be the patron of Matt’s testimonial year. Mervyn King

How much we enjoyed seeing Matt steaming in to bowl with his characteristic action…

Matt Mason

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Stuart Bailey

A successful coaching career lies ahead

I

am really honoured to be the chairman of Matt’s testimonial committee. He is such a fantastic guy I hope the committee and I provide him with a hugely successful testimonial.

One of the reasons he asked me to be chairman is that we have so much in common. We’re both 37, married with two young children and we’re both fast bowlers. Obviously, Matt was a lot quicker than me and played at a much higher level - although I am fit enough to continue playing and have scored two more centuries than him! I only found out last season that Matt was the same age as me and I was stunned he was managing to bowl fast and, further still, open the bowling for Worcestershire. This is a fantastic achievement. Playing First-Class cricket at 37 is tough enough, but to open the bowling in Division One of the County Championship is truly amazing. Unfortunately, the many years of toiling away have taken their toll on Matt and he had no choice but to retire from cricket last summer due to his persistent shoulder injury. Many players would simply retire from county cricket and give it up all together. However, Worcestershire County Cricket Club recognised his coaching and leadership qualities and offered him a position on the staff, which he gladly accepted. I have got to know Matt really well over the last six months and he is genuinely a loving, kind family man. What people don’t know is that he is very articulate, astute and has the rare quality of listening to people. I have no doubt that Matt will be a success in his bowling coach position at Worcestershire CCC and would not be at all surprised if he becomes a director of cricket in the future. I am delighted Matt has decided to support the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign because I too have suffered a very close family loss due to this dreadful cancer. I really do hope we manage to give them a substantial donation. We have six cracking events for Matt’s testimonial and I truly hope you are able to offer support during the year. Best Wishes, Stuart Bailey

Matt Mason

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Matt Mason

The Art of Communication

I

have a feeling that early in my life my mum (Sue) and dad (Bill) were a little worried about my ability to talk. It was not what I said, but the fact that I never stopped. If my mouth ever stopped moving it was only for that split second it took to fill it with food. This ability to communicate was a cause for concern with my teachers as well. My formative years at Lesmurdie Primary School, which is nestled in the Darling Ranges just east of Perth, were spent largely in the principal’s office for talking in class. This was to become a theme that ran throughout most of the school reports that would follow me through life. Mum and dad decided I needed somewhere to release all of this excess energy and Kalamunda Junior Cricket Club seemed just the place. I was introduced to the coach, Bob Macarthur, who quickly decided that my height and volume lent themselves to me becoming a fast bowler. It wasn’t long before I had a run up that would have put Shoaib Akhtar to shame. I am sure I only had a long run up so I could fit in all the words I was shouting at the batsmen!

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Matt Mason

I fell in love with cricket at that club and it was the beginning of a childhood dream. My hero Dennis Lillee was always on the TV at home and the number of lights I broke in the hallway going through my bowling action was endless.

Mr Ricky Ponting. Isn’t he a batsman?

I am sure my sister Sarah’s dislike of sport came about from having to dodge many a projectile aimed at her head with a screech of “Howzzzattt!!!!!” ringing in her ears. Sorry Poo!

It wouldn’t last long, however, as I was to only enjoy one further season in the WA ranks and two more First-Class games. With several unanswered questions, I was cast out into the wilderness at the end of the 1997/98 season.

Many years of school and club cricket followed, but it was when I hit 17 that I really began to think of playing for Western Australia. I made my first grade debut for MidlandGuilford alongside the likes of Tom Moody, Jo Angel, Simon Katich, Brendan Julian and Tim Zoehrer. It was a fantastic experience playing alongside so many Test and First-Class players. After several years of plugging away in grade cricket, I finally got selected for Western Australia and made my limited overs debut against Tasmania in the summer of 1996/97. Although I bowled well and claimed Michael Di Venuto as my first victim, I found myself in the scorebook having been dismissed LBW by a

Not long after this I made my First-Class debut against Queensland at my home ground the WACA and the first step of my international dream was realised.

After getting over the initial shock and a couple of years in a ‘normal’ job, I decided I would have one last bit of fun with cricket. My brother Simon (a very good cricketer himself), our good friend Wes Robinson, who now opens the batting for Western Australia, and yours truly headed to the UK to spread our vast cricketing knowledge to the masses gathered in rural Lincolnshire. The beneficiaries of this wisdom were the players and supporters of Bracebridge Heath Cricket Club, just outside Lincoln. What was to follow was probably the most enjoyable year I have ever experienced at a cricket club.


Never have three Aussies been so well received and it was the perfect way to help mend the hurt I had experienced back home. It was during this time I received a phone call from Tom Moody, who had heard I was in the UK and had been my captain for Western Australia. In his role as Director of Cricket for Worcestershire, he managed to get me to re-think my future and, after great thought and discussion with my family, I decided to accept his offer. The rest, as they say, is history. Not everyone is lucky enough to get a second chance in life and particularly a sporting career. When I read the news that I had been left out of the Western Australian squad back in 1998, I never thought for one moment I would be sitting down writing an article for my own testimonial. Worcestershire has been my life for the best part of a decade. To get here meant leaving behind my family and friends but what I have found on the other side of the world is the stuff dreams are made of. I met my beautiful English rose Kellie and we have two beautiful children, Evie and Josh. I had a cricket career I can be truly proud of at a club that I love. Along the way I have met so many people and made so many friends, both on and off the field, so to be awarded a testimonial year by the people of my club is the icing on the cake. Just think, all of this came about because my folks decided I talk too much. Me? Never!

My formative years‌ were spent largely in the principal’s office for talking in class.


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Kellie Mason

My husband

E

ight years ago on a balmy August bank holiday, eyes locked across a smokefilled bar.

To be honest, we were the two tallest people in there, so it wasn’t so much fate as genetics! Either way he was, I thought, just lovely. For two weeks, seeing Matt here and there in various bars (in the off season of course!) he smiled at me awkwardly from afar clearly not knowing what to do. Some of you may be surprised to think of Matt as shy but he was, until a good friend of mine took it upon herself (with a little shove from me) to get him to come and say hello. At last, with a shy face and tilted head, he approached. After our first date in a little country pub where Matt spoke and I listened, we hit it off and we moved in together shortly after and the rest, as they say, is history! When I discovered he was a cricketer, I had no idea what highs and lows we would face together. In my naivety and not being the sportiest person in the world, I thought cricket was “a bit like rounders”, which Matt found utterly hilarious. I am, of course, now fully conversed with the sport and loved nothing more than sitting on a warm summer’s day watching Matt take wickets - and he took enough!

Matt - as my husband, friend and a sportsman - is the most determined person I know. After major shoulder surgery, when I am sure a lot of people had written him off, Matt being Matt never gave up. He worked really hard on his rehab and went on to take 74 wickets in 2009 as well as landing the Dick Lygon Award for the second time. Not to mention, he was also helping out with our first baby despite wearing his sling nappy time was interesting in our house! Now, after a fantastic 10 years as a player at Worcestershire, Matt is turning his hand to coaching and doing a great job. I know he will use that same determination he displayed in his playing career to excel in his new role too. Matt doesn’t do anything by halves; if he says he is going to do something he does it, giving 100 per cent and always in good humour. I am so proud of him and all his many achievements in cricket and also in being the best dad to our two beautiful children, Eve and Joshua. I am proud to be his wife, mother of his children and his best friend. Here’s to a great testimonial year Matty, you deserve it. I love you very much. Kells xxxxxxxx

Matt Mason

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Sue Mason

A chance meeting that changed all our lives

A

s the parents of a highly-active eight-yearold boy, we started looking for a sport Matt could play that would provide him with friendships and the skills to work within a team. We also wanted something that would teach him the values of patience, which other fastermoving sports would not provide, and he was sadly lacking!

Playing with such a group in a grade cricket was a great opportunity to learn and this reinforced his determination to make cricket his career.

Passing Kostera Oval in Kalamunda one day and seeing a group of young boys training for cricket, Matt announced he would like to try that.

We were so proud when he played his first game for Western Australia and cheered loudly when he took his first wicket.

So began 29 years of a passion for a game that would provide many highs and some lows, all of which we are proud to say Matt dealt with in his own way ,with humour and hard work and only once did he falter in his desire to play at the highest level he could.

Of course there were some low points with injuries and a time when Matt faltered briefly in his belief that cricket was for him. But a chance meeting with Tom Moody changed all our lives, as Matt agreed to head to Worcestershire and play under Tom’s guidance.

From the day he met his first coach, Bob Macarthur, he never stopped talking and playing cricket. Our family got used to packing up the car and spending the day trying to find the shadiest spot in grounds all over Perth watching, scoring and cheering.

As a family, we have followed every game via the internet as well as having spent many wonderful days watching Matt playing at Worcester’s beautiful New Road ground, madly texting the rest of the family back home as he took wickets.

Every family occasion became an impromptu cricket match and we got used to the cries of howzat in the garden, cricket balls hanging from trees and veranda posts being used for batting practice. Wardrobe mirrors were used not for grooming, but shadow batting and I became adept at wiping finger marks from the tops of doors where Matt and his brother Simon would bowl their way through.

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Matt’s days at Midland-Guildford Cricket Club were his most formative, for he was surrounded by wonderful players such as Tom Moody, Brendan Julian, Jo Angel, Simon Katich and Tim Zoehrer.

Matt Mason

Matt not only achieved cricketing success in Worcester, but also met his lovely wife Kellie and is now the very proud father of two beautiful children. We are hugely proud of all that Matt has achieved, but one of the best rewards was that given to him by his peers when he not once but twice won the Dick Lygon Award. Now the honour of a testimonial is the ultimate recognition of his tireless commitment to WCCC.


Simon Mason

Memories of brotherversus-brother in the backyard Test matches

T

he pitch was of freshly cut grass, the perfect 22 yards in length, with a slight tilt from off to leg, reminiscent of Lord’s, the home of cricket. With a wicketkeeper and slip cordon comprised of a bin and three perfectly-placed deck chairs, a line of rose bushes defending the cover boundary and a less-than-intelligent boxer puppy patrolling the legside, the only scoring options were straight down the ground or a hook shot. I marked centre, took guard and looked down the length of the pitch to see my older brother at the top of his mark. As he steamed in off his long run, half-taped tennis ball in his hand, I began to realise that when you are 10-years-old, a six-year age gap in cricketing terms is relatively significant and I started to wish I’d won the toss and bowled! And so began yet another one of our epic brother-versus-brother backyard Test matches - a memory that goes back as far as I can remember. Fast forward over 20 years to August 2010, and my fiancé Katy and I were sitting at the beautiful New Road ground watching my big brother play in what turned out to be one of his last games for Worcestershire. Surprisingly enough, we ended up watching him hit a swashbuckling fifty. Surprising, because for the previous 20 years, I had often wondered if he knew which end of the bat to hold! Watching Matt walk off to a standing ovation and listening to the people around us talk about

him with genuine affection, I’d never been more proud of my big brother. To cap off the day we got to see him steam in off the long run and take yet another wicket – a classic Matt Mason away-swinger that took the edge of the bat up near the splice and was taken comfortably at second slip. Seeing the big fella charging down the wicket, waggling his finger in the air with a big grin on his face and getting swamped by his teammates, I couldn’t help but smile and reflect on what he had achieved over his long and distinguished career. Although I am completely biased, I know I’m not alone in thinking that Matt’s career in Australia was cut far too short. I often think of what might have been had the powers-that-be in Western Australia given Matt the same opportunities he received at Worcestershire. In saying that, having seen the life that Matt has carved out for himself I can honestly say being released from the WA team was one of the best things that could have happened to him. And although we miss Matt, Kellie, Eve and Josh terribly from the other side of the world, I’m ever so grateful my big brother was able to show his talents and prove his ability, courage, fortitude and genuine love and enjoyment for the game of cricket in a place as supportive as Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Congrats on a fantastic career Matty, I’m proud of you! Si

Matt Mason

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IA SCHOLA

R EG

ORNIENSIS VIG

Independent co-education for ages 2 to 18 King’s is a thriving independent day school foundation consisting of three schools for boys and girls from the ages of 2 to 18. There are 940 pupils at the senior school and a further 520 in two Junior Schools – King’s St. Alban’s (next to the Senior School site, ages 4-11) and King’s Hawford (in a rural setting just north of the city, ages 2-11). It is one of the leading academic foundations in the West Midlands and offers an outstanding educational experience. The senior school has one of the finest settings of any city school in the country. It borders the River Severn in the heart of Worcester and looks across to the Malvern Hills. It is adjacent to the Cathedral in an oasis of calm, away from the sound and sight of traffic, and yet only two minutes’ walk from the pedestrianised city centre and within easy walking distance of train and bus stations. At King’s we constantly strive for excellence in the sporting arena and enjoy a national, and in some cases, international reputation. The students receive coaching to a very high standard whether that is from the King’s School staff or from external coaching. Students are expected to train hard on a

and above at the school who every week

over recent years have included Australia,

regular basis in preparation for weekend

take part in two training sessions and play

New Zealand and Fiji, South Africa and

fixtures.

at least one game. Presently, Year 9 pupils

Namibia, Canada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Spain,

Josh Tongue and Nick Hammond are

Jersey and Ireland. A cricket tour to Sri Lanka

In order to help our students achieve

members of the Worcestershire Junior

at Easter 2013 is in the planning stages.

their potential, we have excellent training

Academy. Cricket facilities at the school

facilities, including a refurbished fitness

fields include four grass wickets, two of

All three schools in the King’s foundation

suite and swimming pool. These facilities

which have the benefit of full-sized covers,

hold a variety of Open Events throughout

are used every morning in conjunction with

and eight grass and artificial nets. There

the year. Details are available on the

progressive Training Programmes to improve

are also indoor training nets in the school’s

website along with further information

the health and fitness of our students.

sports hall.

about each of the schools and a facility to

Cricket at King’s is very strong. There are a

We value the importance of offering a wide

the most recent inspection report for each

large number of county standard players

range of sports tours to our students. Tours

school.

R EG

ORNIENSIS VIG

IA SCHOLA

download various publications, including

Congratulations to Matt Mason in his Benefit Year


IA SCHOLA

R EG

ORNIENSIS VIG

Independent co-education for ages 2 to 18

’Academic excellence is only the beginning...’ Confidence in a changing world Tel: 01905 721742

www.ksw.org.uk


A fantastic bloke who competed hard on the field but smiled off it‌


Justin Langer

A smiling assassin – just like Curtly Ambrose

M

att Mason was one of those gentle giants on and off the cricket field. When he had a new ball in his hand he had something of a mean streak in him, but he was more likely to smile at you and shrug his shoulders than snarl and call you bad names. Behind the smiling assassin exterior, though, was a determined and skilful bowler, who I admired in Western Australia and as an opponent at Worcestershire. He was like a white West Indian fast bowler with his lumbering run up, high jump at the crease and loose wrist action at release. Because of the extra bounce he was able to generate, I always found him to be a handful to play against and I knew I had to be at my best to score runs against him. The legendary Curtly Ambrose had similar smiling assassin characteristics. If you played and missed, he would smile; if he hit you on the body he would smile; if you hit him for four he would smile and, of course, if he

got you out, he would clap his hands twice and then smile before he laughed. While I am sure Mase would have loved to have reached the incredible heights of the great Curtly, he should be proud that he was able to forge a long career in First-Class cricket in his adopted land and county. The game of cricket gives us an opportunity to meet many really good people; Matthew Mason is certainly in that category. A fantastic bloke who competed hard on the field but smiled off it, I certainly hope his testimonial year goes well. The benefit system, as I understand, is designed for good, hard-working county professionals like Matt and I wish him and his family the very best of luck during the year. In cricket, Justin Langer

Matt Mason

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Tom Moody

A great communicator and people’s person

W

ell, where does one begin when asked about Matt Mason? In fact, you are not used to talking at all, because he tends to do all of that!

My association with Matt goes way back to his formative years at Midland-Guildford Cricket Club in Perth, Western Australia in the early 90s.

company for that dressing room banter and an easy target of course! Always taking it in the right spirit, he provided that allimportant humour in the team environment, which was always carried off with that permanent smile.

Matt broke into a very strong side that boasted a number of internationals like Brendan Julian, Jo Angel, Simon Katich and Tim Zoehrer, along with a number of quality ‘A’ grade players.

When I became Director of Cricket at Worcestershire, I approached Matt to make the tough call to try and further his First-Class career overseas. I am sure he looks back on that as the best decision of his life, not only cricket wise but, more importantly, personally.

His early days were limited because of the strength and depth of the side, but what they did provide was an important grounding and education of what was required to become a consistent performer.

While Matt carved out a distinguished career, he fell for an English rose - I know how that can happen!

This is what Matt became renowned for throughout his distinguished career - the go-to bowler when wickets were required or your team needed to wrestle the momentum back off their opponents. Matt not only became reliable on the field, but he was a loyal and humorous character off it. Being never short of a word and always wanting to have the last say made him wonderful

It was pleasing to hear that Matt has stayed involved with the game as a coach because he has always had a true passion for it and, being such a good communicator and people’s person, he will make it a success I am sure. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Matt on a great career with the County and wish Kellie, Evie and Josh and Matt all the happiness and success in the future.

Matt Mason

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CATCH EVERY BALL

You can catch live coverage of Worcestershire CCC’s games on BBC Hereford & Worcester. Find out about different ways to listen, by looking online.

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2 1 R E I N D E E R C O U R T, W O R C E S T E R


Callum Thorp

Brilliant times together

W

ell, where does one begin when asked about Matt Mason? In fact, you are not used to talking at all, because he tends to do all of that!

I’d like to start by congratulating Matt on being awarded this testimonial. It’s a great reward for many years of consistent high performance and loyalty to Worcestershire County Cricket Club. I first crossed paths with Matt way back at under 19 state trials for Western Australia. Not knowing too much about him, he looked like a typical ‘Monkey Towner’ (nickname for MidlandGuildford players) back in those days; six foot plenty and bowled a nasty length in the nets. From then, our paths have taken a very similar line and along the way we have become great mates and have shared some brilliant times together, on and off the cricket field. One of my favourite stories of Mase happened when we were teammates at Wanneroo DCC, a move which he made from Midland-Guildford after a number of years of me putting pressure on him to come and be one of the Roos. He was batting against a spinner, and I’ll give him some credit, on his day he can hit a long ball. On this particular day though, to the amusement of all watching, except maybe the coach, he decided to advance down the track. After venturing a good couple of feet out of his crease, he decided the ball wasn’t quite in his zone, so shouldered arms and left it. The keeper almost fell over laughing before he could take the bails off. Apart from a couple of small glitches, most of his time spent on the cricket field has been of high standard and he has finished with a record that proves it. With his career now moving into coaching, I wish him every success and from someone who has known his as an opponent, a one day flag-winning teammate at the Roos, a housemate and a close friend; I’m sure he’ll achieve all that he sets his mind on. I look forward to sharing a beer or two with him over the course of his testimonial year. With the continuing support from his family and friends, both in England and Australia, I’m sure this year will be a fruitful one as well as the years to come. Good luck and all the best, mate. Callum

I’ll give him some credit, on his day he can hit a long ball.

Matt Mason

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Simon Katich

My inner thigh and outside edge were glad to see Mase move to Worcester

M

att Mason and I have been good mates for over 20 years - apart from the year when he dated my sister!

We first played together for Midland-Guildford in the under 17s before progressing to the first grade team and then to Western Australia. Unfortunately, Mase didn’t play as much cricket for WA as he should have due to injury and also due to the strength of our bowling attack at the time. While I enjoyed playing cricket with Mase, I certainly didn’t enjoy facing him in the nets.  He was the toughest bowler I ever faced in the nets during my career. Thankfully, for the sake of my inner thigh and outside edge, Mase moved to Worcester where he richly deserves his testimonial year. I wish Mase all the best in his new career as a bowling coach and look forward to celebrating his testimonial this year. Hopefully he has improved his drinking skills during his time at Worcester, because he wasn’t a stayer in his younger days!

Matt Mason

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Daryl Mitchell

Sightscreen Head keeps Rawalpindi Express out of WCCC dream team

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Steve Davies (wk): Worcestershire academy product that went on to play one-dayers for England. Stylish batter and wicketkeeper.

Should I go down the route of Mase having the biggest head in cricket - physically that is, not in terms of ego?

Andy Bichel: Played in 2001, 2002 and 2004. A great bloke, a great overseas pro and a great all-rounder for Australia and Worcestershire.

How about nationality? The Irish Aussie who became an English cricket fan during the 2005 and 2009 Ashes, although he reverted back to his roots in 2007 - can’t think why…!

Zaheer Khan: He took 78 First-Class wickets at 29.07 for Worcestershire in 2006 including 9-138 at Chelmsford.

hen Big Moose asked me to write an article for his testimonial year brochure, I thought what angle should I take?

Or finally, that through hours spent on the treatment table, he has become best of friends with all of the physios that have worked for WCCC during his time as a player. Alas, I’m sure all of these areas will be covered somewhere in this brochure so I’ll leave those for someone else. I joined the full time staff at Worcester the year after Mase, so I was still in the academy when he arrived. Together we have seen numerous comings and goings of players over the whole of Mase’s career at New Road, so I’m going to pick a Worcestershire “dream team” since Moose arrived in 2002. It would be interesting to see how his would be different. Phil Jaques: Jaquesy has had 3 stints with us in 2006, 2007 and 2010, the highlight being his eight First-Class games in 2006 when he scored 1,148 runs at 88.30. Chris Gayle: Probably the hardest-hitting batsman, and definitely the coolest bloke in world cricket. Played for Worcestershire in 2005. Graeme Hick: Worcestershire legend, 136 centuries, 41,112 FC runs at 52.23. Sanath Jayasuriya: The Sri Lankan master played for Worcs in 2010, dashing batsman, left-arm spinner and an MP. He really has done it all. Vikram Solanki (c): Our captain for six years, great leader and, on his day, the best batsman to watch in county cricket.

Saeed Ajmal: A spin genius who produced some amazing spells of bowling in all forms of cricket during Mase’s final season, 2011. MATT MASON: Mr Consistent - a miserly swing bowler, who makes the batsman work for every run. A captain’s dream, somebody who will run in all day and hit a great area, the top of off! He really did practice what he preached when combining a playing and bowling coach role. Showed great determination both on the field and off when coming back from some serious injuries. A great guy to have in the dressing room and at the centre of most of the banter. A real pleasure to play with. Alan Richardson: Alongside Mase and Damien Wright, Richo was one third of our “Dads Army” seam attack in 2011 taking 73 Division One wickets at 24.42. Twelfth man: Shoaib Akhtar: The fastest bowler in the world at one point put his best performance in for us (6-16) after originally being left out of the side for a one-dayer against Gloucestershire. If Mase breaks down in the warm up, Shoaib’s in! Mase, it has been brilliant playing with you and great to still have you around as bowling coach. I’m looking forward to you turning me into a fast and nasty quick bowler. Best of luck with your testimonial year, you deserve it. Mitch

Matt Mason

25


Ben Langley

Matt Mason: My Mission Impossible!

U

pon arriving at New Road in March of 2008, I was given two major challenges as the new physiotherapist at the Club.

Steve Rhodes wanted two bowlers fit for the start of the coming season: Simon Jones (of course I’d heard of him) and Matt Mason (who the heck is that?).

Names like Stubbings and Powell are bandied around as his main rivals, but Mase always felt he was being vilified and claimed he was not even the owner of the biggest bonce at Worcester. At a pre-season tour to Potchefstroom, the argument had to be settled at our Club. Now, weight, skinfolds etc, they’re easy enough to measure, but noggin size?!

Mase turned out to be a mongrel cricketer of Anglo-Irish-Australian decent...and my Mission Impossible! He was recovering from serious shoulder surgery and fought tooth-and-nail to finally be fit for the remaining five Championship matches of the season. He rejoined us (bowling a 72mph effort ball!) and helped Worcestershire force their way back in to Division One.

After much debate, we settled on the simple method of measuring the volume of water displaced from a bin as being the only accurate method - though it did take a while to find a receptacle large enough! As expected, there was only one winner in the inaugural ‘head-off’.

Over the years, I have spent many hours with Mase on the ‘slab’. Hours of explaining what he needed to do to get himself right.

In all honesty, the fact that Matt was able to play at the top level again, taking 74 Championship wickets over the 2009-10 season is testimony to his hunger and desire to play cricket for the Pears.

Just when I thought we were both reading from the same page, he’d turn up the next day with a new idea having consulted ‘Dr Google’ overnight or having chatted to an old-age pensioner over the seedlings at the local Homebase!

Well done Mase, it’s time to put your feet up, rest those tired joints and look back on your career with great pride.

Mase’s name features regularly in conversation on the County Cricket circuit. Not for his ‘hit a dinner plate’ bowling or for his lusty, tail-ender willow-wielding, but for his healthy-sized cranium.

Good luck in your new role as a bowling coach and I’m sure you’ll achieve great success in this ambition too. NB - I’m always available for demonstrations of the perfect ‘net-bowlers’ action! I wish Matt, Kellie and his beautiful children the best, not only during his deserved testimonial year, but in to the years to come.

Matt Mason

27


He’s had the sort of career that many cricketers would envy…


Alastair Cook

Finally, Mase won’t be able to get me out anymore

M

y lasting memory of Matt Mason’s career will be of an outstanding cricketer that used to always get me out!

He’s had the sort of career that many cricketers would envy and I greatly admired him as a cricketer over a long period of time. With Matt’s move into coaching, I’m just glad I won’t have to face him again when playing for Essex and I sincerely hope he doesn’t teach the Worcestershire bowlers to bowl like he did, otherwise I’m in trouble! Matt thoroughly deserves this benefit recognition and I know he’ll make a seamless transition into the world of coaching in his new role. All the best for the future and good luck. Cheers, Alastair Cook

Matt Mason

29


Cricket is a game that loves its stats and traditions Matt Mason sent down the small matter of 18,618 balls

to think more carefully about what I said, second, to be

in the county’s cause, yet he’ll be remembered for much

less selfish and third, when out, not to look for excuses

more than the bare stats. RGS Worcester is a school

– a salutary lesson. The dressing room was also a place

whose stats give it a pretty impressive tradition dating

when, with time on our hands, we would pick XI’s, the

back to 1291 and beyond. In cricket terms, it can boast

tall, short, large and other politically less correct XI’s.

a First Class XI (plus Twelfth Man) of former pupils since the Second World War with Neil Pinner the ninth RGS

So, personify those desirable characteristics and pick

pupil to represent the county in that time. (Can you

your XI. This is who would be in mine and opening up

name the others?!)

would have to be Discipline and Teamwork, followed in no particular order by Leadership, Resilience,

But traditions are built of something more than statistics

Commitment, Selflessness, Persistence, Hard Work,

and schools do not play sport simply to boast of their

Courage, Tolerance, Respect and Twelfth Man bringing

alumni. In Ancient Greece, the Olympics evolved to

on the drinks and cheering everyone up, Humour.

celebrate and promote the balance of physical and intellectual faculties. The Renaissance period celebrated

As I look out at our recent alumni and their involvement

again the idea of the all-rounder. In more recent times

in sport – Jonny Arr rugby for Warriors, Ben Radley

cricket has given us examples of such Renaissance

rugby for Burundi; Briony Raine pole vaulting for

men - Lord David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool,

Wales, Biddy Briggs 1st team lacrosse at Durham;

Mike Brearley and, most recently, Ed Smith, men who

Tom Clark rowing for GB U23, Tom Dyson coaching

embodied the idea that sport could foster mind, spirit

the GB Paralympic rowing squad – I would like to think

and body. As CLR James famously wrote, “What do they

that they embody the qualities that make sport so

know of cricket who only cricket know?�

important to us all.

James’ aphorism applies to sport in general and is

Qualities that I see in Matt Mason since he arrived in

vital to the role sport plays within a school: lose sight

Worcester to play for us in 2002. He embraced the

of this balance and you forget your role as educators.

game in a way that reflects all those qualities I have

Recent research in America has shifted the educational

mentioned. I know he’ll be passing on not just his

focus away from purely academic learning to consider

technical knowledge to our young cricketers, but also

the importance of educating for character. This has

his love of the game and all it embodies.

led to seven desirable characteristics being identified: self-control, grit, zest, social intelligence, optimism, gratitude and curiosity. How many of these can be developed through sport? It seems to me they all can and perhaps, most of all, within a team social intelligence is enhanced. The dressing room is certainly a learning environment. Having received an end of season award for “being out to the most number of unplayable balls� I learned first,

RGS

W Tim Curtis, Director of Sport, RGS


Darren Lehmann

The odd half-volley would have been nice mate!

T

he first time I laid eyes on the big man was in Australia in a oneday game and straight away I thought what a good bowler he was.

Mase has a great personality and the big benefactors of his career have been Worcestershire as he had the ability to play higher and should have done so.

He managed to destroy me when I was playing for Yorkshire many years ago and his bounce and seam was always difficult to combat. I never saw him bowl a half-volley, which is a great trait, although as a batsman I wouldn’t have minded one! I can’t think of a player who deserves a testimonial more for his services to one club than Matt and I and the whole of my family wish him all the best for the future. Enjoy a beer or many for me throughout the year Matt and look forward to catching next time I’m in the UK. Your mate always, Boof

32

Matt Mason

He managed to destroy me when I was playing for Yorkshire…


Vikram Solanki

An entirely different animal with ball in hand

I

t is a pleasure to be able to contribute to Matt Mason’s testimonial brochure. I’m certain this publication will have numerous testimonies commending his affable and considerate nature, qualities which have endeared him to players and supporters alike.

been a huge asset to our relatively young dressing room. Having fulfilled the dual role of player and bowling coach, it was inevitable that Matt would progress to the role of full-time bowling coach.

With cricket ball in hand, however, he is an entirely different animal; just ask any of his 318 First-Class wickets, taken at an average of 27. Suffice to say, I am grateful he has been a Worcestershire player for the entirety of his English career.

A role in which I’m pleased to say, even in such a short space of time, he has thrived and is well respected within the county game.

Such career statistics go some way toward illustrating the contribution Matt has made to Worcestershire cricket since he joined the club in 2001. The unfortunate injuries Matt has suffered throughout his career make these figures all the more impressive, he has fought back time and again from the drawback of injury to lead our bowling group by setting the example for all to follow. Matt’s contributions to Worcestershire CCC go way beyond his performances on the field. His infectious personality and sense of humour often see him at the centre of any team socialising. His vast experience and knowledge of the game has

Matt, I wish you well as you continue to make the transition from player to full-time coach and also in your well-deserved testimonial year. The granting of a testimonial is an opportunity for all those involved with a club to recognise and show appreciation for a player that has given a great deal of himself to the club. Matt Mason has been a great servant to Worcestershire as well as the game of cricket in general and as such I would implore you to do all you can to support him in 2012. Vikram

Matt Mason

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Supported by

REAL PEOPLE REAL PLACES REAL NEEDS The Benevolent Fund is part of the PCA’s ongoing commitment to help current and former players and their dependants in times of hardship, upheaval or to readjust to the world beyond the game. Few vocations carry so much uncertainty as that of a professional cricketer. The demands of playing any sport for a living leaves little time to consider and plan for possible disasters or upheavals in the future. A significant amount of money is set aside from PCA fundraising for this purpose. Benevolent issues are those that pull at everyone’s heart strings and emphasise the important work the PCA does in generating vital funds. It can also help current and past players who may have fallen on hard times or are in need of specialist advice or assistance.

Every donation helps. Please give today www.thepca.co.uk/benevolent_fund

Acting Actingtotosafeguard safeguard the therights rightsofofpresent, present, past and future past and futurefirst first class classcricketers. cricketers.


Mike Hussey

It was a treat to stand at first slip and watch Mase terrorise batsmen

W

hen I think of Matt Mason, I think about probably the biggest ‘cheesey’ grin I have ever seen. In the dressingroom of the Western Australian team, Mase was always given plenty of stick for his big smile and chubby cheeks. In fact, some of the boys thought he was storing berries and nuts in those cheeks for when he got a little hungry while fielding down at fine leg! There are a lot of bowlers around Australia that are very hard to face in the middle, but being on the same team as Mase in WA meant I only had to face him in the nets. However, I have to say he is in the top five hardest bowlers to face in the nets. That’s down to his nagging line and length, the steep bounce and always hitting the seam - not to mention being at least a metre over the front line! My inner thigh has a permanent bruise thanks to Mase. I was also lucky enough to play with big Mase in club cricket for the Wanneroo Districts Cricket Club in the WACA competition. Standing at first slip, watching him terrorise these poor club batsmen was a treat to watch Our club, ‘The Roos’, have only ever won one ‘A’ grade premiership and it is something that I am very proud to have been part of. Big Mase and Durham’s Callum Thorp led the attack magnificently all season as we defended sub-standard totals regularly. Mase was always too good to be just a club cricketer and, after a few injuries and limited opportunities for Western Australia, I think he made a great decision to join Worcestershire. A very shrewd signing by the club, it has to be said, as they signed a class bowler and a quality bloke. He has shown great skill, character, longevity and loyalty and I am very pleased that Worcestershire have repaid that loyalty by offering Mase a testimonial year. Big fella, thanks for the great memories, enjoy your testimonial, you deserve it! I look forward to enjoying a cold beer and maybe some berries and nuts from those chubby cheeks with you soon. Keep smiling mate, Huss

Matt Mason

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Kevin Shine

Matt Mason - the coaching sponge

36

Matt Mason

s coach of Somerset, we would come up against Mase often when playing Worcestershire and I have to say he was a real thorn in our side.

A

he was still playing. He has worked hard to help his bowling unit close down their margins and be as precise as they can possibly be.

He used to thunder up and just put the ball on a dinner plate, giving nothing away and trying to do the same thing over and over again.

He is also never shy of seeking advice or trying new methods - all signs of a quality coach developing quickly and really enjoying his role.

When Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) invited me to do some work at Worcestershire a couple of years ago, Mase had picked up a pretty serious injury and was trying to make a comeback and it would be fair to say that he was overtaking the ball in his follow through, which was tough for him to take.

I have no doubt he has the attributes to be a fine international bowling coach, he leaves no stone unturned and will give everything he has to his young charges to ensure that they have the right environment and best chance to succeed. One other thing, he’s a seriously good bloke too.

In between his painful rehab overs, he would come and spend time talking with me and watching my methods. What struck me about him was his thirst for detail and a real passion for coaching.

Mase - testimonials are for solid, hardworking, conscientious pros like you mate and I hope you do well. Looking forward to working with you in the future.

It was a really shrewd move by Bumpy to offer Mase a coaching role even while

Cheers, Shiney ECB lead fast bowling coach


Paul Nixon

‘Moose’ was so often our scourge with the bat

T

o be awarded a testimonial year is an honour and also a scary mission into the unknown.

Most cricketers who reach the testimonial year have great personal pride, passion and a deep sense to win for themselves and the team. Big Moose is no different. Every time I played for Leicestershire or Kent against Worcestershire, the big man would roar in and put the ball on a sixpence with regularity. I never got frustrated against his bowling, as we knew he was a quality bowler. My massive frustration was when we had Worcestershire eight or nine wickets down and Moose would walk in all smiling and happy and I’d basically be saying ‘not long now lads we will be out of here soon’. He would even bat in his huge bowling boots with his pads half way up his shins! Still, I lost count of how many 50, 60 or 70-run last wicket partnerships he was involved in and how many straight sixes he hit our bowlers for. All of the time with his big wide grin! An old Hindu proverb says ‘there is no virtue in being better than a weaker opponent, only in being better than your previous self’. Cricketers shouldn’t measure success on the amount of games you have played or how many caps you’ve won for your country. It is about the respect gained from your peers and Matt ‘the Moose’ Mason has mine 100 per cent and I am sure the people of Worcester will also show him the respect he is due. All good wishes, Nico  

…the big man would roar in and put the ball on a sixpence with regularity.

Matt Mason

37


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Darren Veness

Without doubt, one of the best county cricketers of the modern era

W

here do you start when you’re talking about Mase? It’s harder than you think you know.

Do you focus on his boyish good looks? The fact is, Mase doesn’t look any different now compared to when Steve Rhodes had brown hair and Ben Smith had hair full stop. One look at Ben Langley tells you how much damage a decade of county cricket can do to a man, but Matt has cruised his way through that much and plenty more with barely a crease in his 45-year-old forehead (I know, I didn’t believe it either). Do you focus on his physique? ‘Robust’ is a good term for Matt’s overall structure. His 1998 ‘For the Ladies’ calendar went down an absolute storm with the middle-aged women of Worcester, with the flannel he wore for most of the ‘artistic’ shots fetching a tidy sum at auction. It never seemed to catch one outside of his adopted home and the reasons for this are lost to me to be honest. Maybe his injury history would crop up? The boy himself would struggle to deny he’s had a few. He’s had as much radiation as Bruce Banner, more bandage than Tutankhamun and, at one time, was allegedly BUPA’s public enemy number one! Personally, I’d probably end up mentioning most of those points listed above, but possibly from a slightly different perspective.

The bottom line is that Matt Mason is without doubt one of the best county cricketers of the modern era. Here is a man who knows exactly who he is, and more importantly, what he is capable of - which happened to be quite a bit. He was always one of the most feared bowlers in the attack - quicker than he looked, with a steady short ball, accurate and simply relentless. Over, after over, after over. The word ‘workhorse’ often springs to mind, in the best possible way, simply because you could always depend on Mase. He was, quite simply, a captain’s dream - at least that’s how it looked to us anyway! If he had a niggle, he’d still be on the park bowling. If he picked up an injury, he’d be back on the park in the shortest possible time. The only thing that mattered was delivering for Worcestershire. So, as you can probably guess, I’m over the moon that the big fella has been given a testimonial this year. Anyone who gives so much to their chosen county should be rewarded and Matt thoroughly deserves this opportunity. Well done mate, good luck and I’m looking forward to spending some quality coffee time on the balcony with you too! Daz

Matt Mason

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Mr Andrew Pearse MB ChB MRCS (Ed) FRCS (Orth)

Honorary Orthopaedic Surgeon to Worcestershire County Cricket Club congratulates Matt Mason on his Testimonial.

Years of hard knocks can take their toll on your knees. Based at the Spire South Bank Hospital, Andrew specialises in knee surgery and knee replacements to repair injuries arising from:

Sport Arthritis Cartilage and ligament damage Impact/falls

To arrange an appointment, please call Kim Parkes on Tel: 01905 362284 (quoting ref. 99NotOut)

Aedos Cricket Limited are pleased to support Matt during his testimonial year

www.aedoscricket.co.uk


Alan Richardson

The warmest of welcomes when I signed for Worcestershire

W

hen I signed for Worcestershire in September 2009, before the ink had dried on my contract, I received a text from a number I did not recognise. This usually means someone is trying to sell me some dodgy insurance, but on this occasion it was a very friendly welcome note from a certain Matthew Mason. Now, I had played a few times against Matt, but we’d never formally met or even had a cross word on the pitch, but here I was being told how great it was to have me aboard. My instant thought was ‘how short of friends is this man?’ but it was only after spending some quality time with him that I realised this is the norm and Matt might just be one of the friendliest blokes I now know.

Our relationship, like many, has had its ups and downs, but if he can’t forgive me for pushing his three-year-old daughter off a swing or for running him out within one run of his highest First-Class score, then maybe he is not the great bloke he keeps telling me he is! What I do know, is that the Club have kept hold of a good man. The loss of Matt as a player is now compensated by the input he will have as a coach. His knowledge and enthusiasm cannot fail to rub off on everyone he deals with. It was a sad day when he announced his retirement - not least because it now makes me the oldest player in the squad - but he will still be a huge influence and that can only be a good thing.

I can’t think of anyone more worthy of a testimonial than Matt. He played more than a hundred games and took over 300 First-Class wickets for Worcestershire, Worcestershire is widely known as battled through injuries, won games and a friendly club and, for me, Matt is a always gave everything he could. It’s massive factor behind that reputation. only right that all of his efforts, skill and Since then we have been inseparable - well loyalty have been recognised. I can’t shake him off – and a bonding built Mate, It’s been a pleasure playing over aches, pains, bowling into the wind alongside you, now it’s time to test your and hatred of training really blossomed. patience as a coach! This ‘bromance’ continued as we became Your fellow Dino, dressing room neighbours, training Richo partners and resident grumpy old men.

…now it’s time to test your patience as a coach!

Matt Mason

41


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Dave Bradley

Always a fans’ favourite down at New Road

W

I always think Glen McGrath was a great example - superb on the field, gave everything, could be somewhat abrasive at times, but always had time to chat with the crowd.

I always think he maybe has a slightly different outlook to some players and coaches because he came a little later into the First-Class game and wasn’t a full-time professional his entire career.

When he got an ovation going back to his fielding position he always, somewhat shyly it seemed, put his thumb up to the crowd.

Maybe not so much in cricket as in other sports, but there will be people whose only job in life will have been playing their chosen sport and, to an extent, it is a bit of a cosseted environment just playing and training.

I think Mase comes into that category and, with all due respect, I am sure he will not consider himself as being in quite the same class as the great McGrath, but I always thought he had an empathy with the crowd as a player.

For those who have never done anything else, it can be tough to give up the game and have to find some other employment.

I’m one of those that like to get to the ground early - can’t stand wandering in late - and Matt is often around as well. He always has time for a natter with supporters and whoever might be wandering about.

hat to say or write about Mase that will not have been written elsewhere in this publication?

Don’t get me wrong it can be a very hard slog through a First-Class cricket season and, in recent years having followed the Worcestershire lads around the country, I have come to realise it can be a long old summer. Although those lads who have done ‘proper’ jobs maybe enjoy the life a little more, they certainly don’t give any less to the cause; they feel the same elation and disappointment as the rest when they win or lose, but they are maybe a little more philosophical about the game. I often wonder what makes some players more popular with the supporters than others, what makes the crowd take to them, get behind them and maybe give them a bit less stick if things go wrong? Effort is one thing and there are very few examples I can think of where players don’t appear to give their all to the cause.

He has, at times, wandered up and joined us in the radio box and it’s very rare he hasn’t got a smile on his face. I guess ‘affable’ is a good word to sum him up. On the field, I remember the day at Old Trafford when he came on and took seven wickets in 12 overs including wickets in five consecutive overs, if my memory serves me well. Think he might have been a better batsman than he sometimes made out as well and those of us who saw his career best-equalling score of 63 against Yorkshire last summer certainly enjoyed the event. Good luck to Mase in his testimonial year. Whatever happens, I am sure it’ll be fun.

Matt Mason

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Mark Chilton

Players like Mase are a captain’s dream

I

t is always a pleasure to be asked to write a benefit article, so when Mase dropped me a note to see if I would contribute to this brochure I was only too happy to oblige.

I guess Worcester will now have a special place in my cricketing memories as it was the venue for my last FirstClass fixture and it was the other old stager, Al Richardson, who dismissed me that day! Mase and I have had a number of battles over the years despite having different skills on a cricket field we were fairly similar in approach and attitude. Good cricket is all about doing the simple things very, very well and Mase adopted this method with great success – if you put the ball in good areas for a long enough period of time, you get your rewards. Add to that Matt’s ability to swing the ball both ways plus a ‘slow’ bouncer, you almost got the complete package! I can imagine Mase was a captain’s dream - someone who never shirked responsibility and just got on with the job in hand. That kind of attitude is so valuable in a professional set up. There are often lots of big egos flying around in professional sport and players who turn up, are low maintenance and churn out solid performances, day in day out, are worth their weight in gold.

44

what a valuable role he will play in this department in years to come. He is a clear and concise communicator and will be a great resource for all the up-and-coming bowlers at Worcestershire. His knowledge of the game and, in particular, the fine art of bowling is exceptional and he has a real passion and desire to help people. It’s an exciting time for both of us. The end of professional cricketers’ careers can be a daunting time, but the elite coaching course is a fantastic opportunity to develop personally and use the experience and knowledge that has been built up over years of playing. I look forward to getting to know Mase much better over the coming months and chewing the fat in the bar after a day of getting our brains frazzled. I’ll leave the funny anecdotes to his teammates at Worcestershire and would just like to wish Mase well for his testimonial year. He was a tough competitor who played the game the way it should be played and gained a lot of respect from his opponents.

They often get overlooked because they are not interested in seeking the limelight but should never be taken for granted.

Testimonials are a reward for loyal service – it’s proof that you have committed to a cause and I hope the Worcestershire faithful show their appreciation and get behind Mase throughout the year. My one bit of advice would be to enjoy it!

Both Mase and I have recently embarked on the level four elite coaching program and it is clear to see already

All the best, Chilly

Matt Mason


Paul Terry

A similar approach to batting as Viv Richards!

A

few years back I was given a role as a batting mentor to some of the Western Warriors, a position I was really looking forward to as it gave me the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s best talent. Justin Langer, Damien Martyn and Michael Hussey spring to mind as players I was looking forward to working with. When I got my schedule, the names were familiar but not necessarily what I had been expecting. Stuart Karpinnen, Brad Oldroyd and Matt Mason didn’t exactly fly off the list of batters that I was expecting to work with but, never mind, I consoled myself in thinking that if I could work wonders with these guys then my stocks as a batting coach would sky rocket. The first few hits I had with Matt opened my eyes into how bowlers thought about batting. The only player that I had ever played against who never wore a helmet was the great Viv Richards. Some players occasionally take the helmets off if pitches are slow and the slower bowlers come on. Not Matt. He thought he was Viv Richards. He had a lot of similarities in his batting style to Viv, the closest comparison being that most of his shots ended up on the leg side! The other close tie he had with Viv is that he loved being aggressive and taking on the short ball. Unlike Viv, who got inside the line and could play the pull and hook with wrists that snapped and snarled at the bowler, Matt

preferred a style that opened out the leg side and created a position in which his hands could launch fearlessly at the ball without troubling his head with all the technical stuff of getting in line! Now and again Matt has had his batting successes and no-one enjoyed making runs quite as much as he did. After a while, we had to scratch terms such as balance and technique. Did I succeed in my coaching role? Not quite sure. Stuart Karpinnen is now the fitness coach for the Australian Test team, Brad Oldroyd could be anywhere right now and Matt is bowling coach at Worcestershire. So probably not, but it was great fun trying. I hated facing Matt as an opening bat, although I could never divulge this at the time. He would race into the crease and deliver with an action I could never pick up. Back in the days before a few injuries crept in, he had good pace and, but for the injuries, would have played a lot more First-Class cricket in Australia. Fortunately for Matt and Worcestershire, he has forged an excellent career in England and I have no doubt, with his enthusiasm and communication skills, he will become an excellent coach if he is not already. I had great enjoyment attempting to groove Matt into a batter. He’s one of the good guys, I really wish him well in his testimonial year and hope he gets the support he thoroughly deserves. Good luck mate.

Matt Mason

45


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8056_MASON TESTIMONIAL AD_190x131.indd 1

09/02/2012 15:21


Steve Rhodes

Stick to the basics - a recipe for success!

B

ig ‘Moose’ Mason was once a tearaway fast bowler from Western Australia. In his early days, he was focused on bowling as fast as he could although the end result wasn’t always what he wanted. He wasn’t alone in that, though, as world-class international bowlers Richard Hadlee and Dennis Lillee also started on their career paths with the same thoughts regarding fast bowling. But, at some stage, the penny dropped and they quickly realised that they had to change tactically to improve. So, if they kept up their pace, bowled a tight off stump line and a nasty nagging length (to hit the top of the off), they would be bowling the kind of line and length that batsmen hate! Add to this just a bit of movement - either in the air with swing, or off the pitch with nip - and you have a chance to be one of the best in the world. Just ask Glen McGrath. If the game-plan is simple and we are prepared to stick with it and not get bored and if we can handle the pressure of playing in front of a crowd, TV cameras and quality opposition, then we are almost that perfect bowler. But how can we become good enough to do this every ball? Lewis Hamilton with karting, David Beckham with a football, Tiger Woods hitting golf balls, the tennis-playing Williams sisters and from our own sport the great Sir Don Bradman all had one thing in common. They all started very young and developed their skills by doing what they felt was simply having fun. Bradman’s fun was to throw a golf ball at a wall and hit it on its return with a cricket stump. The hand to eye coordination was developed to a high level and he repeated this ‘bit of fun’ for hours on end. He probably did not realise it, but he was putting in hours of practice perfecting his skills.

The best bowler I ever kept wicket to was Glen McGrath and this is not being disrespectful to the many other terrific bowlers I was lucky enough to play alongside. He had the best control of line and length and with his height and nip he had the tools to be world number one. How did he become such a consistent line and length bowler? Glen was brought up in rural New South Wales and his way of entertaining himself was to bowl at painted stumps on a metal shed for hours on end because this was fun! He aimed for the top of the off stump time after time and, when he eventually came to the city for trials, nobody could believe the skills he had developed for one so young and in no time was taking wickets for Australia. Glen’s thoughts to hit the top of off stump stayed with him to the day he retired and served him well alongside the hours of practice bowling at that tin shed! Mase has been a terrific bowler over his time at New Road. He has put in some sterling work with his controlled, pacy swing bowling. He too believes in the coaching philosophy that repeating good skills often enough eventually produces consistent quality in your performance. His career has gone from tearaway fast bowler to now a role in professional coaching and he is the ideal person to teach young and old the recipe for consistent success. Let’s hope they listen! Good luck this year Moose but, most of all, enjoy it. Bumpy, Steve Rhodes, Director of Cricket, Worcestershire CCC

Matt Mason

47


Scrapbook page


Gordon Lord

The coaching gene

I

t’s been fascinating to watch Mase make the transition from player to coach.

Many of the characteristics that contributed to him having a long and successful career as a quick bowler have transferred apparently effortlessly into his coaching career. His commitment, competitiveness, appropriate selflessness and determination are all attributes that are essentials. EMO The Old Rectory, Vicarage Lane, Highworth, Wiltshire SN6 7AD 01793 767300 Jaguar

Qualities that are less common among players. His ability to connect with players of any age, to instinctively recognise an opportunity for learning and knowing when to challenge and when to support are rare indeed. Nature or nurture? Who knows! What I do know is that the things that set Mase apart as a coach are part of who he is. Congratulations to Worcestershire CCC for recognising very early ‘super coach’ and best wishes to Mase for PMS PMS C M a Y potential K a well-earned testimonial. Account: David

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There however, many other, deep-seated qualities that Size: are, 131x190 Studio: MC have also contributed to his success as a coach. Mod. date: February 1, 2012 4:18 PM Version: 1 Creative:

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Ben Smith

More like a number eight!

F

irstly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Matt on another fine spell for Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Those of you who follow Worcestershire will know that Matt, Gareth (Batty), Stephen (Peters) and I all joined the county at the beginning of the 2002 season. I had come across ‘Bats’ and ‘Geezer’ before in county cricket, however I had never met Mase so where better place to start this article than right back at the beginning. The players were told by Tom Moody, Worcestershire’s head coach, that Mase was a 6ft 5ins fast bowler from Australia who he had known for a while from Shield cricket in Perth and, although he was carrying a sore shoulder and had dropped a little pace in recent years, he had the ability to swing it both ways and that within our batting line up he would make a very handy number 11. Now I had played in Perth the previous March and had come across the Western Australian bowlers - Brad Williams, Brendan Julian and Joe Angel to name a few - and they were ‘mean and lean’ and very hostile, so I was actually looking forward to having Matt Mason on my side and not having to face him! The day came during March 2002 when we all reported to New Road and I was introduced to Mase. Tom was right he was 6ft 5ins and he was from Perth and he did have an Irish passport.

50

Matt Mason

However, I think Mase had taken full advantage of his three-month break with his shoulder injury to get stuck in to some Big Ben pies and a few pints of XXXX because Big Mase resembled more of a first XV number eight than a cricketing number 11! Seriously, though, on his day Matt could swing the ball both ways to devastating effect. Again, those of you who follow Worcestershire will remember his ‘eight-fer’ against Gloucestershire - a great spell which bowled us to victory. As captain, I could always guarantee control of the innings, at least from one end, when Matt had the ball in his hand, not to mention the ‘icing on the cake’ he brought at times with the bat. As I recall, Mase hit the biggest six I have ever seen - out of the ground and on to the neighbouring roundabout against Essex at Chelmsford - with an old bat of mine which I thought was a plank! Matt epitomised a player who was first-class at consistently producing what he did best, no more, no less, and backed that up with a quiet determination on and off the field. We have both had some fantastic times together on the field for Worcestershire and I wish Matt, Kellie and their family much success during a well-earned testimonial year. Good luck ‘Moose’ Smudge


Tim Clarke

The perfect columnist - plenty to say for himself!

I

t is a great privilege to be able to pay tribute to Matt in what I hope will be an enormously successful testimonial year.

I can think of few sportsmen I have come to like and respect more than Mase and none more deserving of this honour after nearly a decade of straining every sinew for Worcestershire. Having not shared a dressing room with Matt, I don’t have too much dirt to dish on him and so have left the potentially libellous material to his teammates, who I’m certain won’t have wasted the opportunity! What I will do though, as both a sports writer and Worcestershire supporter, is pay tribute to a player and coach who has given so much to this Club. There are few things supporters value more than a player’s loyalty and commitment to the cause and Matt has always offered both in abundance. Matt’s love for Worcestershire was obvious right from when I first spoke to him back in 2007 after I’d approached the Club about the possibility of a player doing a weekly column for us. I told Worcestershire we needed someone who had plenty to say for themselves and the club didn’t hesitate in suggesting Matt! Almost five years later, thanks to Matt’s generosity, his weekly commentary on the fortunes of Worcestershire remains the honest and insightful voice of our cricket coverage.

Unfortunately the sporting gods have not always been so generous to Matt during that time. Only weeks into our first season doing the column he was hit with a shoulder injury, which kept him out for the remainder of the season and sidelined him for much of 2008. There was surgery, a slow and frustrating rehab and the great disappointment of missing out on being part of the team to lift the Pro40 title. But Matt approached his rehabilitation with the same whole-hearted determination that has always characterised his bowling. He dug deep, fought his way back and in 2009 showed great heart to carry the County’s attack through a difficult summer and finish as leading wicket-taker. For me, one of the most disappointing aspects of Matt’s retirement last summer was that it denied us, as supporters, the opportunity to give him the send-off his playing career deserved. Thankfully, we can now put that right by ensuring his testimonial year is an unrivalled success. By doing so we’ll not only be showing our appreciation of Matt, but also supporting a great cause in the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign. So here’s to you Matt – thanks for 10 memorable years. Tim Clarke Editor, The Worcester Standard

Matt Mason

51


Matt Maynard

Scores of victims frustrated back to the pavilion

I

doubt that at any stage his nickname has been ‘Mase the Pace’, but what Matt Mason has been, for the entirety of his career in the UK, is accurate. He has followed a fine tradition of Australian bowlers in hardly ever missing the good areas.

containing the batsmen and helping his colleagues at the other end. Mase has been an excellent addition to the Worcestershire set-up, initially as a player and more recently as a player/coach.

As a batsman, facing Mase on a flat one was bloody frustrating. He gave you nothing - nothing to drive, nothing to pull. One had to make do by scrapping singles and twos off him.

I haven’t had too many discussions with Mase about the technical aspects of bowling, but I’m pretty sure he keeps the game simple (most Aussies have to!).Now he has hung up his boots I’m sure he will continue to excel in his role as bowling coach with the Pears.

Many batsmen have lost their wicket trying to hit Mase, looking for balls that aren’t there to hit - I should know, he got me a few times; as I said bloody frustrating!

Mase, I can’t say it was ever a pleasure to play against you, but it was always a pleasure to have a beer or two with you at the end of a day’s play!

Facing Mase on a wicket that helped him - and let’s be honest, only Hicky made New Road seem flat! - was a different prospect.

You have been a credit to the game of cricket and I sincerely hope you have a bumper testimonial. Winter well and catch you in the summer.

As a batsman, you had to have your wits about you. Again, nothing to drive or pull just deliveries at you, making you play time and time again. More often than not, that ended up with the batsman on his way back to the pavilion. As Mase’s record would suggest, if the wicket was helpful to him he would get ‘a bag’, if not he was miserly,

All the best, Matt Matt Maynard Nashua Titans head coach

As a batsman, facing Mase on a flat one was bloody frustrating.

52

Matt Mason


Tim Packwood

I

Demolition of Gloucestershire was beautiful to watch

t gives me great pleasure to be asked to write an article for one of the most respected and hard-working cricketers/coaches on the circuit.

I remember being told back in 2002 that Worcestershire had just signed a 6ft 5ins Australian with an Irish passport - a combination I had not come across before! But, as time progressed, it proved to be the perfect package for Worcestershire. Mase is one of the friendliest and down to earth people you could meet and his cricketing skills are not too bad either! My best memory of Mase bowling at Worcester is from July 2006 in the second innings of the four day game against Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire required 227 to win on a pitch that was starting to show signs of uneven bounce. Mase bowled a beautiful line and length to exploit the conditions and ended up with career best figures of 8 for 45 to earn Worcestershire a comfortable victory by 58 runs.

Matt was a groundsman’s dream when bowling. His front foot always landed a good six to eight inches behind the front line therefore not adding to the big foot holes where other bowlers came down. I thought he did this to avoid bowling no balls but when I asked him he said that the pitches in England are a lot softer than in Australia so if he bowled a little bit further back it would hopefully prevent any unwanted injuries from landing in anybody else’s foot holes. A good theory, I thought, but I think Mase could still be playing now if he bowled that little bit closer to the front line as the ball would probably still reach the keepers gloves! I would like to wish both Matt and Kellie all the best for a well-deserved testimonial year. Tim Packwood, Head Groundsman WCCC, New Road

Matt was a groundsman’s dream when bowling.

Matt Mason

53


Simon Hogg

W

An action somewhere between a flying windmill and a helicopter crash!

hen I arrived at Worcestershire in 2005 to take on the position as the club physiotherapist, one of my first tasks was to familiarise myself with the players and support staff.

When Mase was described to me as a fast bowler with an action somewhere between a flying windmill and a helicopter crash, I had a feeling that we would end up spending a lot of time together! Sure enough, it wasn’t long before the Matt Mason Memorial Treatment Table was unveiled, in recognition of his frequent attendance for treatment and rehabilitation sessions. But it was through these sessions that I was privileged enough to see the genuine strength of character that Mase has – as well as the passion and competitive desire he has for not just the game of cricket, but for Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Matt endured a fairly torrid string of injuries during my first couple of years at the club, none more serious, or potentially career-threatening, than the recurrent injuries to his bowling arm. He required surgery on his shoulder several times, physio was frequently very painful and progress agonisingly slow. There were some gloomy times where I thought we had reached Matt’s limit and it was time to call it a day, but it is often at your lowest ebb that your true character shows. Although largely hidden from the public eye, it was during this period that Mase showed genuine courage and bloody-minded determination in his fight to regain match fitness and get back to the team and his mates. He loved bowling, he loved the club and he refused to let this adversity get in his way. Matt’s commitment to the club, on and off the field as a player and now coach, is unquestionable and he thoroughly deserves a prosperous testimonial year. I’m proud to have played a small part in his career and wish him every success in his ongoing role with Worcestershire. Simon Hogg, Club Physiotherapist (2005-2008)

54

Matt Mason


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