From the peanut farm to Power House; that’s the motivating story of Jeff Scotland, one of the ACS’s champion south of the Yarra allrounders.
The quaintly-named ‘peanut farm’ is the home base for St Kilda City, Jeff’s first junior club, which is adjacent to Luna Park, one of Melbourne’s much loved and historic entertainment precincts.
Jeff played his junior cricket at St. Kilda City CC until his late teens before a season at Elwood CC and several more at East Malvern changed his entire sporting perspectives.
‘At Elwood, the Sri Lankan Ben Fernando taught me the art of cricket field placing – how to set up a batsman to get them out. He was a genius,’ he said. ‘My love for the art of cricket came from Ben; the polish came later from Sir Garfield Sobers (at East Malvern).’
Sobers coached the club for several years. ‘He was amazing,’ Jeff said. ‘He’d come into the nets in a suit and tie, no protective gear and face our opening bowlers left or right-handed just to show batsman what they needed to work on.’ ‘He could bowl any ball left or right-handed and swing it both ways. He was just a wonderful man!’
Equally adept at both cricket and football, Jeff was playing football at Power House when he and his brother, Mark, started up the Power House CC in 1988-89.
‘At the time I was still playing Saturday cricket at East Malvern, Mark and I reckoned we can’t all play together (in the same team) on Saturday, so we put a team into the YCW Sunday competition.’
The club now has four senior teams in the Mercantile Cricket Association.
In Power House’s very first season they made finals. As the Power House association had never had a cricket club before, 50 or 60 people from the footy club came to watch. ‘We got absolutely belted by a far superior team,’ said Jeff. ‘It was a really sunny day, as good as you get in Melbourne and that afternoon we sold that much beer that we made our funding budgets for the following year in alcohol sales alone!’
PHCC now has a dozen premierships through the grades.
Jeff loves being an allrounder as he can impact all aspects of the game.
A clean-hitting No.5, he also opens the bowling. He says he’s slower than he was, but then again, he’s not as young as he was!
His highest score of 163 came in a losing Grand Final. ‘After my dismissal, we lost 3-0 and ended up going down by seven runs.’
In another season he made 120 in the semi-final and shared a 180-run eighth wicket stand to help Power House into the Grand Final, which they won.
In all he has been a part of five PHCC premierships and won nine club champion awards. ‘Some of my most pleasurable seasons were spent in the lower grades playing with my sons Brett, Sean and Travis. In 2018-19 we were all part of the B grade flag which was a great experience.’
On Jeff’s 50th birthday, his older brother Mark flew from Denmark and Glenn his younger brother from Cairns to share in the celebrations. Five Scotland’s played together one day – and won.
‘There was a lot of bowled Scotland, caught Scotland that day,’ Jeff said.
Jeff was the initial president of Power House and captain of the A grade team in 1990-91 and 1991-92. He took a break when his children were born. However, in the year 2000 they put together a Gentlemen XI in C grade. Seven or eight of the original team were also playing. ‘We ended up beating South Yarra in the grand final. Gideon Haigh was writing a book about South Yarra’s season that very year. It made our win even more special.’
Jeff has been a member of Australian Cricket Society playing for the Wandering XI for 15 years and is soon to qualify for the Over 60s. ‘I can’t wait,’ he said.
Jeff has also played extensively overseas, with the Reds CC to the South Island of New Zealand and in 2015 a 12-match tour of England. ‘It was a magnificent experience, beautiful grounds in churchyards. At one ground the river was the boundary. They’d use this big net to fish out the ball, wipe it off with a towel and calmly carry on.’
In 2010, at the club’s Power House 21st year celebrations, Jeff was among five inaugural life members. ‘The club is going well. It’s very diverse. Lots of lads with Indian origins now play. it’s a great cultural melting pot.’