Numbers crunched by one club man Christie

MILESTONE: Steve Christie (right), pictured with former Test player Trevor Chappell in 2013, will mark his 500th game for beloved Waratah-Mayfield District Cricket Club on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.Last week Steve Christie was giving out advice to young players for bowling on wet decks,not all that long ago the veteranreturned to skipper a depleted top grade team in Waratah-Mayfield’shour of need andlater this month he will once again hosttheirannual trivia night.
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It’s the mark of a man, more affectionately known as Crunch, who playsgame 500 for his beloved cricket club on Saturday.

“It’s guys like Crunch who you build local sporting clubs around,” Waratah-Mayfield’s current first grade captain Scott Mackenzie said.

“Not just from a playing point of view, and he is rightly recognised as a very good cricketer, but the majority of his work at the club is done behind the scenes.That sort of thing is invaluable.”

The Mayfield 53-year-oldwill notchup the remarkable milestone when he leads the club’s fourth grade side onto Waratah Oval No.3against Cardiff-Boolaroo.

It’sbelieved Christie will becomethe fourth person to reach thatnumber for one club in Newcastle District Cricket Association history, which includes a second Waratah playerIan Liddell.

Andhe couldn’t imagine donning the whites anywhere else.

LONGEVITY: Steve Christie in action for Waratah-Mayfield in 2012. Picture: Dean Osland.

“I’m just born and bred local,” Christie said.

“I used to live close to the ground and I remember going down there as a kid watching all these guys playing cricket. You wonder what’s going on and then you start your junior career.

“Then all your mates are going to play seniors for your local club andI was lucky enough to play with guys like Steve Hatherell, Stuart Webster and Greg Arms among many others, who were superstars when I was 13 or 14.

“Itall just progressed from thereand I’ve never really though about going anywhere else.”

The left-armer made his first XI debut for Waratah in 1981-1982 and outside a two-season break, forced by a near-death experience at work aged around 25, he has barely missed a summer since.

“You reassess things then [after the accident] and wonder why you’re playing,” the former club presidentsaid.

“It put things into perspective pretty quickly, but I missed it a lot and thought what else would I be doing. I realised youplayfor the competitiveness and the comradeship. It pushes you on and I just kept going. I just the love the game, that’s what it comes down to.”

The Newcastle and NSW Country representative has taken a club record 1075 wickets, including best figures of 8-14, and has scored 5561 runs. There have also been 117 catches.

The upcoming two-day fixture will see Christiereunited out in the middle withbrother Murray and former teammates Liddell and Martin Francis.

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