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Solway recalls a legend

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Peter Solway bats during the 1993 PM's XI match against South Africa.

Peter Solway bats during the 1993 PM's XI match against South Africa. Photo: GRAHAM TIDY

WHEN Queanbeyan's Peter Solway stood behind Ricky Ponting for the 1993 Prime Minister's XI team photo, he'd only heard predictions of how good the then-18-year-old batsman from Tasmania would be.

In fact, Tom Moody was the only established Australian representative player in a '93 team that would produce seven Test players and a total 1135 matches, 52,814 runs, 282 wickets and 702 catches for Australia.

The bulk of those statistics came from a top three in the batting order, comprising Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Ponting.

''At the time in '93 none of them were established, they were all up-and-comers,'' Solway, the leading scorer in the history of ACT club cricket, says.

''I'm pretty sure they were all just trying to make their mark.

''I've got the team photo at home with my cap and jumper from the game. Looking back at the photo it's awesome.

''You look at a young Ponting, he's finished his career as one of Australia's best and and I shared a changeroom with the bloke for a fleeting moment … it's pretty cool.

''The occasion was very special but in terms of the players I guess it's all a bit of a lottery with how they progress in their cricketing journey. I look back now and there's some fantastic names in that team.

''You don't know whether the PM's team they pick this year could be the same in 20-odd years' time, there could be some household names in that lot too. That's what's good about the PM's game.''

Solway admits the 1993 game is now a ''blur''. He scored 15, coming in late at number six.

He has no recollections of the specifics. That the match was reduced to 42 overs a side because of persistent rain.

That Ponting scored 36 in a small Prime Minister's XI total of 156, but was then directly responsible for two of the four run outs as South Africa was bundled out for 152.

The South African team was the first to tour Australia in 30 years following an international ban because of apartheid. It included Kepler Wessels, Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes.

But it is Ponting that Solway will go back to Manuka to watch on Tuesday, this time through different eyes.

''The ACT used to play the Institute of Sport every year so we played against [Ponting] a couple of times at Manuka when he was a kid and we knew he had big raps on him. He was definitely earmarked at a young age to go on and succeed,'' he said.

Solway's only vivid memory of playing against Ponting was a domestic one-day match when the ACT Comets played the Tassie Tigers in the late 1990s.

''It was in between overs and he walked past and gave me just some friendly advice on how to bat,'' Solway says, laughing. ''That's probably the best way to put it.''

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