AFTER 17 years, over 7000 runs and 11 centuries in Premier Cricket, Matthew Chasemore’s desire for personal excellence and team success have not wilted in the slightest.
“I’ve only ever played cricket for two reasons — to play state cricket and to win premierships,” Chasemore said.
Turning out for Victoria’s Second XI as recently as October last year, Chasemore was told by state selectors that although he was close, they were going down a different path with age.
“I ticked all the boxes but maybe just wasn’t quite good enough,” he said.
Though he did not crack Victoria’s First XI, Chasemore can be content that he did all he could to sway the selectors.
“I was happy to hear the truth,” he said.
In his last season in Premier Cricket, Chasemore won St Kilda’s club championship, finished runner-up in the Ryder Medal and was named captain of the Premier Cricket team of the year on the back of hammering 649 runs at 40.6 and snaring 30 wickets at 12.5.
His second place in the Ryder Medal was his fourth consecutive top-three finish and he departs Premier Cricket as one of the competition’s elite.
Having pursued his state aspirations, the star all-rounder felt the time was right to return to the club he left as a teenager nearly two decades ago, and found it hard to say no when then-club president Shaun Petrie came calling.
“When I finished he (Petrie) was going to get first crack,” he said.
The goal now for Chasemore is to lead Cranbourne to their second Turf 1 premiership and first since 1989/90.
And the peninsula local is certainly up for the fight.
“To play 17 years, lose two grand finals and get dropped for two grand finals would be pretty disappointing … it certainly does drive you,” he said.
The 33-year-old has maintained his work ethic in his first pre-season back at Cranbourne, not budging from the standards that saw him rise to the pinnacle of Premier Cricket.
“I’m training hard, making sure I hit my 1000 balls a week — I’m just a cricket nerd,” he said.
The veteran also hopes to assist the development of Cranbourne’s younger brigade as one of the club’s leaders.
“I’m big on giving the young blokes a chance to learn and get better,” he said.
“A main focus will be teaching the kids to express themselves and try to enjoy it.
“I like to see blokes get better.”
Cranbourne suffered a disappointing semi-final defeat to HSD last season, after ending the year top of the table.
But Chasemore believes the atmosphere at the club is positive.
“I see blokes ready to play and have a crack at winning the title,” he said.
Chasemore will anchor the top order with four-time Wookey Medalist Steve Spoljaric as Cranbourne look to erase the demons of their poor batting performance in last year’s semi-final.
And he can’t wait to hit the pitch in his first hit out for Cranbourne against Lyndale at Barry Powell Reserve tomorrow.
“I’ve played my best cricket in one day cricket,” he said.
“The earlier I get in the better.”
The Eagles will be hoping whenever he gets in, he stays there for a long time.