People often ask me why do what I do. It's easy, I love it. I love seeing boys and girls succeed at cricket and life and sharing a part of their journey with them.
I learnt about the joy of being part of people’s lives through my grandparents, who took me in their care. Ray Sutton was another great influence in my life.
I went to Prospect Cricket Club as baggage boy at 13. I did this job for a while. Once the sixth eleven were short and asked me to make up the numbers. I had no success in the first or second year and this is the year I began being known as Swan after making 7 ducks in row.
Sutton never gave up on me. I would go to training at 3pm and leave at 8pm and he would drive me home and on Sundays. I would walk 6 kms to Sutton’s house where he would do throw downs for two hours.
I started to improve and things started to fall into place. I never turned down the chance to play in games. I just wanted a First XI cap. I did not think I would ever get it, but I just kept going.
I worked at Gray Nicolls in the UK in 1970 and this experience was life changing, they taught me so much about the industry and life in general. I also had the tremendous experience of working with the great John Newbery. Another remarkable man.
Another man who helped me a great deal was Colin Burrett. He taught me a work ethic and the way to do things. A long way from running with the gangs in Kilburn.
Barry Jarman the former Australian wicket keeper took me under his wing when I was 12. He was a great man and gave me a job at Rowe & Jarman.
After developing a true affection for cricket they paid for me to go to the UK in 1970. I had high hopes of playing cricket in the UK however, this didn’t eventuate. But with help from Len Newbury ,Bill Gray and John Gray after Returning to Australia, I was in great form and made the Second XI at Prospect. Then one Tuesday I was told I had made the First XI, my dream was coming true. Unfortunately I had an accident, a fractured skull left me in hospital for six weeks and then a further two recovering at home. After getting my health back I returned to the Seconds. I played my best innings of 49 not out opening. The next match I was picked to open for the First XI, my dream had come true.
I had to leave Prospect with great sadness for Woodville CC after moving out of the zone. I enjoyed great success with the ball in the Firsts, however the feeling wasn’t never the same. I really did love Prospect, it meant everything to me.
I then got an opportunity to help Gray Nicolls set up their Australian operation. I worked with Kookaburra who had a 47% share in it. Bruce and Jim Thompson of Kookaburra become firm friends and mentors. Playing cricket had turned into making cricket bats, another of my trues loves. Cricket became my business.
The message is, don’t give up. Respect people. Take help and offer help. Many people have helped me and so I enjoy helping others.
Enjoy yourself and be good to each other.