|Another player who started their senior career in the Wimmera joined the First-Class cricket ranks when South Australia took on Victoria last weekend.
After a ‘false start’ when the first Sheffield Shield game he was selected for was abandoned without a ball being bowled in mid-March, former Jeparit and Blackheath-Dimboola cricketer Samuel Kerber made his debut for South Australia at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Easter Saturday.
This followed his ‘List A’ debut late last month against Queensland in Brisbane in the state-level One-Day competition.
His call up to the state squad came after a stellar year in South Australian Premier Cricket where he plays for the Adelaide University club.
The accolades he earned included the South Australian Cricket Association’s top personal honour, the Bradman Medal, after he scored 757 runs at an average of 94.63 and took 21 wickets with his left-arm orthodox spin.
Kerber was also named in the 2020/21 Premier Cricket Men’s Team of the Year, received the Fred Godson Medal as the One Day Cup Player of the Series, and Talbot Smith Fielding Trophy.
Although his first Sheffield Shield match finished in a draw, Kerber made an impact with a half-century of 55 in his first innings, which he followed with 33 in the second innings.
He came to the bowling crease as the first-change bowler in Victoria’s first innings and finished with 3 for 92 from 29.3 overs. His first wicket was fellow-debutant James Seymour, and his other two included Todd Murphy and Australian Test player Jon Holland.
His first game for a South Australian senior team came on March 28 in the Redbacks’ loss to the Queensland Bulls in a ‘List A’ One-Day match, where he had a low-key debut that yielded three runs and 0 for 66 from ten overs with the ball.
Earlier this week in his second One Day game Kerber took one wicket as one of three bowlers to complete their ten overs in Victoria’s innings of 7 for 333. In South Australia’s reply, he scored 22 runs at the end of the innings when they were chasing quick runs as the target run rate rose to over two runs per ball. Ultimately they fell 21 runs short when dismissed for 312 in the last over of their innings.
Kerber began his senior cricket career for Jeparit in 2006/07 season and also played for Blackheath-Dimboola before moving from the district.
His journey to becoming a First Class cricketer saw him play in various regional representative teams before being selected to play for Victoria at the 2011/12 National Under 19 Championships in Adelaide, where he made 199 runs, including 104 against New South Wales, and took two wickets.
Whilst living in Melbourne, he played Victorian Premier Cricket for the Monash Tigers with some success before moving to South Australia, where he still plays for Adelaide University in that state’s premier competition.
During the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, he played several games for South Australia in the Cricket Australia Second XI Competition, also known as the Futures League and the grade just below the Sheffield Shield, in both the Twenty20 and the longer four-day formats.
Kerber has become the second player to have represented the Jeparit Cricket Club and played First-Class cricket, joining Benjamin Nicholls, who played in the 1890s as a big-hitting right-hand batsman and slow bowler.
Before immigrating from England to Australia around 1890 to take up farming in the Jeparit area, Nicholls played First-Class cricket for County team Sussex and for Oxford University.
During his ten years living in the northern Wimmera, he played cricket for Jeparit, and like Kerber, also played some games for Dimboola, which was one of the most successful clubs in the district at the time. He also earned selection in a district team that took on the touring English Test team in 1898.
Upon returning to England in 1898, Nicholls played one more First-Class game for the famous Marylebone Cricket Club in London. In total, he played 16 matches at this level, scoring 192 runs and took 31 wickets.
A new book, Knights of the Willow, has recently been released covering the history of the Jeparit Cricket Club from its origins in the early 1890s to their last premiership before it disbanded in 2018.
Wangara Consulting publishes both this book and the Dimboola Courier.