By Justin Flynn
Marc Occhipinti will become the first player in Wallington Cricket Club’s history to play 300 senior games.
The right-handed opening batsman will reach the feat on December 12 when the Wallabies A2 Grade side travels to Newcomb.
During Occhipinti’s 298-game career, he has made an impressive 5997 runs with four centuries.
Occhipinti said playing for Wallington “happened by accident”.
“I had a mate that decided to play cricket for Wallington in 1996-97 and the D Grade was short that weekend so I did a mad dash for some whites on the Friday night and 24 years later still going,” he said.
Occhipinti admits his style as a batsman is “not textbook”.
“It took a long time to work it out, but I’ve tried to stick with the shots that make runs and block everything else out,” he said.
“By opening, you get to set the tone of an innings. It’s not necessarily the amount of runs you score, but time in the middle that helps the middle order stroke players to do their thing.”
Occhipinti is also Wallington’s president and said his most memorable moment was a B Grade semi-final in 2013-14 against Portarlington.
“Batting first we were 6/99, then 7/113 and finished on 9/241,” he said.
“The following day Port were like 0/106 off about 12 overs before rolling them for 164. It felt like we were out of the game twice, yet found a way to win.”
His most disappointing moment was playing in a B grade side that lost only one home and away game across two seasons, but didn’t win a premiership in either.
Occhipinti has been around long enough not to have any superstitions but admitted one unorthodox ritual that made him a better player during a lean spell with the bat.
“There was a season that was going so badly that after Christmas, I’d stop off at the Sporties, have two pots and a punt and then go to the ground,” he said.
“Worked a treat as that resulted in a ton and two fifties for the remaining portion of the season.”
In the meantime ‘Occhy’ will front up for game number 299 tomorrow (December 5) at home against Armstrong Creek.