by Pam Bishop
Bob Hopkins is now in his 80s and proudly continues a long and successful period of playing cricket to this day (Covid-19 permitting). Both his father, ‘a wonderful sportsman’, and his ‘cricket mad uncle’, first attracted him to the game. Ken “Slasher” McKay became the Australian cricketer he most admired because of the way he valued his wicket, something he would like to see more of with today’s players.
Bob played mainly at two cricket clubs. When he was 18, he had one year at the Carlton Cricket Club with legends Barney Jones and Bert Numa. He didn’t play again until 1964 when his brother Ian, who was playing in the Juniors, convinced him to have a game at the East Malvern Cricket Club where Bob ended up being the longest serving player over 53 seasons!
Bob started as an opening batsman who went on to take close to 800 wickets. He won the Third XI bowling average on fifteen occasions (all after turning 40) and has the bowling award named after him. In the Second XI, he won the bowling average in 1999/2000 at age of 60 with an average of 6 and, again, in 2000/01 with an average below 10. Fittingly, he was Club Champion in 2005/6 at the age of 66.
Apart from his bowling achievements, Bob’s most memorable game was the Third XI Semi-Final against McKinnon in 1975/76. Having faced a hat-trick delivery – and hitting it for four!! – Bob and his batting partner put on a club record ninth wicket partnership of 115 to win the game from 8/100. He still recalls the crowd of spectators from the First XI game on the main oval coming over to watch their partnership. Even better, the team then went on to win the Grand Final. Great memories indeed!
Beyond local cricket, Bob has represented the ACS in New Zealand (2015), played in ten State Carnivals and opened the bowling with the Victorian Over 70s for several seasons, including a tour to England in July 2015. In October later that same year, he represented the Australian Over 70s against England at the Alan Border Field.
Bob has loved the game, “because of the enjoyment of the contest and socialising with many great fellows whom you play with and against. He is grateful to friend, Ken Penaluna, for his influence to join the ACS. The ACS is grateful too!