By Tyler Lewis
It’s not just on the football fields or the netball courts where volunteers play such a special place in club life, with the Dandenong Cricket Club the beneficiary of the tireless work and dedication of its first lady – Liz Williamson.
Like most volunteers Liz does not seek recognition, which is what makes her such a reliable figure and brilliant acquisition for her club.
Her work between the walls of the Panthers is what keeps the club ticking.
Reflecting on where it all started, Williamson remembers who it was that got her in the door.
“Steve Chapman asked me to run and start up the academy, which is now called the Pattinson Academy,” she said.
“Then I started as admin manager, and I have just finished my ninth season as admin manager, so that was 10 years ago.
“I knew Michael Finlay (previous Dandenong coach) through family so I had a long association with him prior to Dandenong.”
When something needs to be done off field, it’s a ‘call Liz’ job.
Besides opening the batting and bowling, Williamson makes things happen.
“I organise the Pattinson Academy, not the coaching side of things of course,” she said.
“I make sure the emails go out to all the players for the academy, (I organise) all the merchandise and the apparel for the club; including the academies, both Molineux and Pattinson.
“I do the afternoon tea and lunches when we have it, or when we can have it.
“Anything else anyone wants done, I am always there to help.
“They don’t call on me for that, I would be happy to blow a whistle, wave my arms around and tell people where to go though,” Williamson joked about playing or coaching.
Now being at the club for over a decade, Williamson didn’t have to have a hard think about what makes Shepley Oval so special.
“It is a sense of belonging,” she said.
“Being a part of a club; I always played sport as a junior.
“Growing up, seven days a week, I was on a tennis court and have never not been involved in sporting clubs.
“As far as Dandenong goes: great people, great culture and basically just love being around sport in general.
Williamson is a driving force in the annual Pink Stumps Day at Shepley Oval, organising the brilliantly vibrant pink playing tops and all the other work that needs to be done to make such a sensational day proceed.
“I just think it is fantastic the way cricket itself has embraced a charity,” she said.
“Being with Glenn McGrath and having that relationship, I think it is fantastic that cricket and people involved in cricket embrace a charity.
“I just think it’s something people involved in cricket can do to give back.
“It has always been something close to my heart. It was such a shame we couldn’t have it last season but hopefully this season we can and raise some more money,” Williamson said.
As for her favourite player on field, Williamson shrieked at the question at first, but the heart gave in.
“Oh no,” she cried.
“You aren’t allowed to have favourites; I always tell them (the players) that.
“The First XI is equally as important as the Fourth XI, Third XI and Second XI.
“But I have always had a soft spot for Tom Donnell and James Nanopoulos, they’re two of my favourites.
“They have always been a bit special to me; I shouldn’t have favourites but anyway.“