A wicket away from 1000
Cricket ACT stalwart Peter Foley is on the cusp of claiming his 1000th career wicket for ANU this weekend. Photo: Melissa Adams
Peter Foley dismisses it as ''just another wicket'', but the Australian National University veteran is on the verge of achieving a feat most bowlers can only dream of - claiming his 1000th wicket.
It's taken almost 40 years of Cricket ACT service, almost 550 matches, two hat-tricks and countless dropped catches to be on the cusp of reaching the rare mark.
But unflustered and unfazed, the stalwart doesn't know how he'll celebrate if he can break through when he takes the ball as the second-change bowler with his ''slow-medium'' against Tuggeranong at Conder on Saturday.
''I guess not many people have done it for one club, so that's exciting,'' Foley said.
''When I got the 999th wicket [last weekend] I still had four overs to go and couldn't get it and that was frustrating.
''My wife was taking photos of every ball [to capture the moment] when I got to 999 … but I don't have anything planned.
''It was never really an aim to get 1000, it was just another milestone coming up that's a bit bigger than the others … it's just another wicket.''
Foley, a 54-year-old IT worker, started the season on 978 wickets.
He had a chance to reach 1000 last week, but a tough catch was dropped in the slips.
The majority of Foley's wickets are either bowled or leg before, but over the years his pace has slowed.
But he's no stranger to bowling achievements.
He's already claimed two hat-tricks, seven-wicket hauls, multiple premierships and, if ''my knees last'', there's no end in sight.
''[ACT captain] Ron Axelby keeps harassing me about when I'm going to be available to play in the over-60s, but that's a long way off if my body holds together,'' Foley said.
''I've played every season since I started. Because it's a uni club you meet lots of interesting people from all over the world and our team for the weekend will have seven or eight different nationalities. My aim has just been to play good cricket and contribute to the team and the club.
''But this has been building up for a year and a bit and it does add a bit of pressure with the guys saying, 'come on, get to 1000'.''
Foley began his career in 1975 as a teenager and has rotated through the majority of ANU's grade teams.
Most of his matches have been in fourth and fifth grade.
Making his achievement more impressive is that Foley began his career as a wicketkeeper.
But after cursing bowlers for wides and struggling to get wickets, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
''I got fed up with thinking I was a better bowler than the guys I was wicketkeeping to so I made the change,'' Foley laughed.
''I used to bat in the middle order, but I only bat when I'm needed now.''
Cricket prowess runs in the family. Foley's daughter Suzi plays for the women's team and was named Cricket ACT volunteer of the year.