Rex Hollioake became the first Ballarat Cricket Association Hall of Fame member to be elevated to legend status at this year’s presentation night.
Hollioake was humbled to receive the plaque at his home, unfortunately he could not attend the night due to his health.
But the man referred to as “Mr Cricket” in Ken Piesse and Alf Wilson's book, Bradmans of the Bush, drew comparisons to the great Jeff Thomson in his prime and was also a more than capable batsmen. Following his playing career with Mt Clear, he was the president of the BCA for 27 years, was made a life member in 1997-98 while his involvement with cricket in Ballarat began in 1945.
The label of “Mr Cricket” does not sit well with Hollioake, preferring to acknowledge the people that helped him to make such a significant contribution the Ballarat Cricket Association and cricket in general.
“I don’t know about that, it’s a team game...that rests heavily on my shoulders,” Hollioake said.
“It’s a reflection on all my teammates, it’s reward for them as well as me.
“I had great support, particularly from my opponents, I respect them greatly. I always told our players to remain humble in victory.
“All I want to say is thanks for the friendships and the opponents in particular. It’s been so marvelous to be involved with cricket, it’s a great team game.”
Hollioake said he was very pleased with what he achieved in the game, but felt he was simply one of the lucky ones to have the ability to be able to play at such a high level.
“I am very pleased with what I was able to achieve. The fact that I was able to do what I did was good, but a lot of people unfortunately can’t do these things - I have empathy for them.
“Very humbled. You always remain humble. What about the poor chaps that haven’t got the natural ability and they just can’t perform, I feel for those people…I was extremely fortunate to participate as long as I did and have a long-time involvement.”
Some of Hollioake’s fondest memories are having success with his teammates and the challenging encounters he had with his opponents.
He recalls the day he took 5-0 in the first over against Warrnambool, yet did not register a hat-trick, Hollioake quick to point out the eight-ball overs at that time. However, he did claim a hat-trick through his time.
He also nearly claimed the wicket of English cricketing great Len Hutton, but he was put down second ball.