By Sam Coulson, our ACS Literary Scholar
Our own Ken Piesse describes David Long as “a powerhouse in two camps” – at Elsternwick, where he is vice-president and at the Australian Cricket Society where he is Head of Cricket.
“Longy” grew up in Ashwood and loves cricket, playing and watching. Always has. Always will.
It all started as a young boy playing cricket in the backyard with his mates.
“Mum thought I was going nuts because I’d play endless games of cricket,” Long said. ‘When I wasn’t bowling my off-breaks I was batting. Non-stop. Each and every day. After school. Weekends, the lot.”
After several seasons with Ashburton, Long started with Prahran’s under 16s team in 1974 and played his first open-age game a year later, with the fourths.
A regular in the thirds and fourths with a handful of second XI games, his progress was steady rather than spectacular.
From 1982-85, Long played exclusively at second XI level and in 1985, was named for the first of his 12 Premier first XI matches.
Longy says he bowls basically straight-breaks. but he is being modest. He bats nicely and is this year’s winner of the Richard Elvins Memorial Award for being the ACS’s Over 60s Cricketer of the Year.
Asked his best performance for Prahran, and he opts for the time at Geelong’s Kardinia Park when he claimed five wickets.
It was a Saturday-Sunday match and he bowled 38 overs.
Long put it down to the “over confidence of the batsman rather than his skill” but to take a ‘Michelle’ (a ‘5-for’) as an off spinner is still outstanding.
Long finished at Prahran to assist Toorak Park Blues teammate Paul Morrey who’d just been named head coach at Elsternwick CC in the subbies.
It was a venture that lasted two seasons and he continued playing first XI cricket for ECC for another few seasons, finishing with 65 first XI matches.
Long reflected on a story about his 50th first class match; it was a milestone he shared with his mate Morrey in which they both had a day out with Morrey making an unbeaten century and Long taking seven wickets.
Long finished at ECC after the 2017-18 season. He’d played 357 games, a remarkable number, coupled with 150 at Prahran – and his service was to continue off the field too.
“I captained all four XIs (he “filled in” for some overs in the 1st XI and a couple of games of 2nds – ed.) including the 3rd and 4th XIs for 14 or 15 seasons.”
As well as coaching and playing, Long has also been a member of the committee since the mid-’90s with a stint as president from 2003-15. He has remained on the committee as vice president ever since.
“I was head of the playing committee for a couple of years and am currently acting treasurer.”
Since he stopped playing at ECC Long has been umpiring third and fourth XI matches.
“I’m very lucky to have a wife (Karen) who has encouraged my involvement in cricket.”
One of their daughters Emily played a season of juniors at ECC and son Will played for almost 20 years at ECC becoming a “very good first XI player” Longy stated.
A second daughter Grace is a nurse in Stawell. She was an excellent netballer.
As well as an avid player of this great game Long also enjoys watching cricket.
He’s an adaptor to the new changes in cricket such as the Decision Review System and also Twenty20 cricket but states he’d “like T20 more if it was just a three-hour game… the same with Test cricket, it takes too long to bowl an over.”
As an off spinner, Long’s favourite player is India’s Ravi Ashwin, taker of almost 675 wickets in 250 internationals across all three formats.
“It’s just amazing what he can do with a cricket ball,” Long said.
When asked about Ashwin’s recent “Mankading” of an opposing batsman backing up too soon, Long was firm. ‘If it’s in the rules, then it’s okay.”
“If a batsman was doing that to me, I’d do the same.”
As Long gets older – he’s in his early 60s now – his love for the social side of cricket has grown. “It’s a great sport to meet great people,” he said.
“Playing the sport you love and meeting good people – that’s a pretty good combo.”
Another regular supporter of Long’s love for cricket was his Dad, Neville, who attended almost every game he played at Prahran the majority of his games with the ‘Wicks.
When asked about his love for the ACS he mentioned it was his father that purchased him his original membership back in the ‘70s.
“He was probably keener than I was.”
Longy has had an excellent time as a player with ACS. ‘It’s one of the better moves I’ve made in my cricketing career.”
Among his old club teammates he still plays with now include Morrey, Terry “Tex” Allinson, Peter ‘Grubby’ Carmody and the ageless Mark “Mocca” Dunstan.
“He’s our Peter Pan,” said Long, smiling broadly. “Someone has got to check his birth certificate.”