Emotional 'Richo' shares final thoughts on superb career
CRICKET: Having just played his final game for Brothers after 24 memorable seasons, David Richardson was clearly experiencing mixed emotions.
The retiring Brothers captain stood outside the dressing room watching as his team's wickets tumbled regularly before a fighting final stand of 40 runs between Mark Sharrad and Chris Smith delayed the inevitable.
As Brothers batted for pride late on the third day of the grand final, Richardson had time to ponder his 663 wickets achieved for Brothers (603) and Centrals (60) during a mighty cricket career.
"We bowled well this morning but just couldn't back it up with the bat,'' he said. "There's mixed emotions.''
Richardson's wonderful career started in the 1995 season.
The left-arm orthodox spinner was with Brothers for all but a short stint with Centrals in the late 1990s.
As he prepared to retire, the Ipswich accountant enjoyed his final moments chatting to loyal teammates and watching his four young children have fun wearing "Richo'' shirts.
"I'm 41 years old. I have to give it away sometime,'' he said, reaffirming his decision to call it a day.
"It's a long time and it's a big commitment.''
Richardson's final haul was 3/45 off 29 overs as Brothers dismissed Centrals for 171 in the second innings. That left Brothers needing 297 to win.
But as Centrals did in the first innings, they broke through Brothers top order quickly and finished the job in the 52nd over, just two balls after the final drinks break.
Brothers were bowled out for 138 a second time.
Richardson was happy to see his senior teammates like Luke Dixon, Mark Sharrad and Craig Mackay deciding to play on or delay their retirements until at least seeing what the off-season holds.
Opening batsman and former state indoor cricket representative Michael Ridgewell was keen to play on hoping to reach 5000 runs in the future.
However, he was planning to have a quiet off-season with his family to prolong his outdoor career.
"It's a shame Richo is going. He could have got to 1000 wickets,'' Ridgewell said with a grin. "He's awesome.''
Ridgewell said Brothers played their grand final in beating Laidley in the semi-final.
Brothers had scored 300 runs in their previous two matches, something they couldn't replicate against Centrals' nagging line and length.
"Their bowling has been amazing,'' Ridgewell said of the Centrals' attack led by Geoff Klease and Rhys O'Sullivan.
"You have to give credit where credit is due.''
Although he expects Brothers to remain a powerful side in the foreseeable future, Ridgewell said Centrals were setting up a possible dynasty now Laidley's decade of domination had ended.
Richardson agreed, saying players like Joel Hall and Cam Wood were good additions to Brothers as the club starts to find replacements for the seasoned stalwarts.
Fast bowler Chris Smith, who took 5/70 in Centrals' second innings, is another cricketer Richardson rates highly.
Asked for a highlight, Richardson said last season's grand final victory over Laidley was up there.
"It was probably the best,'' he said.
"I've won some good grand finals. Last year was good to come from behind all season and get there.''
As he reflected on all that, Richo said "playing with a good bunch of blokes'' was the most enjoyable time.