McMahon not ready to pull stumps
CRICKET: Sir David Attenborough would probably describe the natural habitat of Tim McMahon as the arc between first slip and leg slip.
The Harwood wicketkeeper and skipper has been honing his craft behind the stumps for almost five decades – and it shows.
McMahon’s knees scream with pain most Saturdays but still the veteran gloveman goes about his business with little fuss.
“Both my knees are buggered. I’ve had four arthroscopes on both knees and torn my cruciate in both,” McMahon said.
“I saw a specialist in June last year and he told me to keep playing while I can but eventually I’ll require knee replacements.”
McMahon is very much the keeper’s keeper.
Sound in technique and calm under pressure, he adds a touch of class to a generally unglamorous job.
When Harwood Cricket Club is mentioned, the first name that comes to mind is McMahon.
The Chatsworth Island cane farmer has been at the helm of the LowerClarence side since 1984 and has gained the reputation as being anastute reader of the game.
“I’ve always played for Harwood and I enjoy the captaincy. I playthe game hard and I guess I’ve got a competitive attitude,” he said.
“You don’t ask for any favours and you don’t give any. When the game’s finished, it’s finished ... you go and have a beer.”
McMahon holds a captaincy record which is unlikely to be equalled – in 1992 he skippered teams to five premierships.
“I was lucky enough to win five titles in one year with Harwood andLower Clarence. We won the Open Grade, Challenge Cup, North Coast,Cotton Shield and the night comp,” he said.
McMahon said apart from winning Harwood’s first Premier League titlein 2001, the development of the Harwood Cricket Ground was a highlightof his career.
“The Harwood Cricket Oval has made a huge difference for locals. Itbenefits cricketers and will be fantastic for young players for yearsto come,” he said.
Harwood are currently sitting in second place on the Premier Leaguetable, something McMahon is proud of but he said there has been agenuine decline in the playing standard in recent seasons.
“Premier League is nowhere near as strong as it was when it started in 1995/96,” he said.
“Bowling was a lot stronger than it is now. But in saying that Ithink there are some good kids coming through ... the hardest thing iskeeping them in the area.
“I know there is a lot of work put into junior cricket, a lot more work developing kids than in previous years, which is good.”
McMahon is a good judge of cricket talent and over the years has witnessed top-class players who he has played with and against.
“It’s hard to single out any player in particular but I playedagainst Mark Curry and John Frame, they were both outstanding bats,” hesaid.
“Mick Morris and Chris Adamson would be the pick of the bowlers. Asfar as who I played with, Warren Watkins was the best bowler but I mustmake mention of the current Harwood team ... they’re all very handy.”
McMahon has little time for relaxation, playing cricket and workingthe family farm takes most of his time. “I have plenty to keep meoccupied on the farm and in summer cricket is full-on as my three boys,Ben, Hayden and Jacob all play junior cricket for Harwood,” he said.
“I played league years ago and still like watching it on TV and also going to watch the Magpies (Lower Clarence) at Maclean.”
Over the years McMahon has slipped further and further down thebatting order; not because his batting has waned but because he isconcerned about running out his team-mates.
“I used to bat up the order but, because of my knees, runningbetween the wickets has become a problem. Turning for a quick second isalmost impossible and it’s not fair on the other batsmen. I seem toturn the other blokes twos into ones and threes into twos,” laughsMcMahon.
There is a famous cricket quote –‘wicketkeepers are born, not made’.
But unfortunately for McMahon someone forgot to make knees durable enough to withstand more than 30 years behind the stumps.
“I have plenty to keep me occupied on the farm and in summer cricket is full-on.”