It is with great sadness we advise that BTCC Life Member, Tony Stagg, passed away on Sunday 26th May 2019.
Fellow BTCC Life Member, John Cochrane, has put together the attached tribute detailing “Staggy’s” long involvement with BTCC.
Funeral Details are as follows:
Friday 31st May 2019 at 4pm
733 Boronia Road, Wantirna (next to Wantirna Hotel).
A BULLANT LEGEND
PASSED AWAY 26TH MAY 2019
First Played: 27/01/1979 v’s Nunawading (Under 14’s). Batting: 7 not out.
Final Game: 13/01/2019 v’s Doncaster (Veterans XI). Batting: 10 not out.
Games Played: 196
Batting: 197 Innings, 13 Not Outs, 3909 Runs, Average: 21.24
Highest Score: 137 v’s Eley Park 1986/87 (2nd XI)
Centuries: 129 v’s Koonung Heights 1982/83 Grand Final (3rd XI),
137 v’s Eley Park 1986/87 (2nd XI),
114 v’s Templestowe 1995/96 (1st XI).
Bowling: 468 Balls Bowled, 28 Maidens, 16 Wickets for 274 Runs. Average: 17.13
Best Bowling: 3/11 v’s Mitcham 1992/93 (2nd X)
Premierships: 1982/83 (3rd XI)
Team of the Century Member – Wicketkeeper/Batsman
Life Member: 1995/96
1st XI Captain: 1989/90
Won Batting Averages: 1994/95 (1st XI), 1981/82 (Under 16’s), 1979/80 (Under 14’s)
Won Junior Club Champion: 1981/82
Staggy was a fiercely determined and loyal clubman throughout his 196 games with the club. In his first full season of senior cricket back in 1982/83, he was working as an apprentice butcher at the Preston Market during the week and on Saturday mornings. When he knocked off work on Saturday around midday, he would catch a taxi to whichever ground he was playing at. The cost of the taxi fare would’ve cost a lot of his morning’s wages, but that didn’t worry Staggy; as he just wanted to play cricket.
During the 1982/83 3rd XI Grand Final, the team had batted first and were in a bit of trouble at 2/24. Staggy only had time to get changed into his cricket whites, put the pads on and go out to bat. On the sidelines were some Blackburn South supporters, who were still smarting over their unexpected defeat by the 3rd XI in the semi final. They targeted a young Staggy (who was only 16 at the time) as he came out to bat and gave him an absolute earful of abuse.
As captain, I was horrified at what these supporters were doing, and wouldn’t have been surprised if Staggy had’ve been dismissed for a low score. However, the abuse didn’t faze Staggy one bit and he proceeded to hit the Koonung Heights bowlers to all parts of the ground. If anything, it seemed to fire him up; a bit like Steve Waugh when he was sledged. Such was the power of his innings that day; that the Blackburn South supporters packed up and left the ground.
In the end, Staggy was dismissed for a sublime 129. It was his innings that destroyed the will of the Koonung Heights’ players and it also allowed the lower order to smash some easy runs near the end of the first day. If there was a Man-of-the-Match Award given out back then, Staggy would’ve been a certainty to have won it. The 3rd XI won the premiership by 140 runs.
His determination saw him play a lot of his career with some sort of injury, in particular his knees gave him plenty of grief. Ironically, it was how he found out that he had liver cancer; as he finally wanted to have an operation on one of his knees. Leading up to the operation, there were some tests carried out that caused the specialist some concerns. Further tests were carried out, which revealed that he had liver cancer.
One of Staggy’s last wishes was to play one final game of cricket. His family contacted the club and arrangements were made for him to play in the Veteran’s XI against Doncaster on 13/01/2019. Half way through Doncaster’s innings, he took over as wicket keeper. Looking on from the sidelines, you wouldn’t have thought it was 15 years since he last played and he didn’t concede any byes.
Chasing 135 for victory, the Veterans were on track to win the match; however with the compulsory retirement of 2 batsmen, the game was in the balance. Captain Craig McMahon gave the order for Staggy to pad up and when he went out to bat, there was still some work to be done.
As usual, Staggy wasn’t fazed with the situation and apart from one or two misses, there was some vintage shots of his on display. Fittingly, he hit the winning runs; a glorious shot through mid-wicket for 4 and he ended up with 10 not out. The beers were flowing after the game as we celebrated Staggy’s final game.
I was silently hoping that the spread of his cancer might have delayed itself so Staggy would be still alive when we celebrate our 50th season. Unfortunately, that’s not to be. He was one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever come across and it was a privilege to have played in the same team as Staggy.
John (Frizzle) Cochrane