When Tom Donnell crosses the boundary tomorrow, he will start his 250th match in Premier first eleven cricket according to records held, although if we could find the 05-06 books, there may well be a few more. In that time Tom has invariably led us out to bat, almost exclusively with his great partner, Brett Forsyth. In 2008-09 they combined to open the innings with a club record score for the first wicket of 241 against Hawthorn Monash
Tom has made 12 centuries and 45 half centuries, compiling 8,168 runs, leading the all time aggregate for Dandenong. In both 2011-12 (881) and 2012-13 (945) he passed the standard of 880 runs in a season and made the Cricket Victoria team of the season on 3 occasions. He has been a key part in our three Premiership wins as well as our success in the white ball forms. As an aside, his dancing skills displayed after the first two, definitely helped him to best on ground status in the celebrations. In the last few seasons, Tom has taken on the Captaincy of the Club and flourished in the role with a 2 day Premiership and inaugural winner of the Super Slam.
Former Secretary of Carlton John McConville remembers taking him away to Adelaide in the Victorian Under 17 team captained by Aaron Finch. They made it to , and won the final with Tom a key member of the side. Tom always managed to find his best for Carlton and John reckons he had a fondness for their ground with the extra bounce playing into his great game square of the wicket.
Our longest follower and first coach of Tom at Dandenong, Brendan McArdle believes he is one of the premier batsmen of the last 20 years and with Brett forms the best opening batting partnership he has seen in the game at our level. Brendan says that he is a much loved and respected person not just at Dandenong but throughout the competition. He has been a good leader and set standards for others to follow both in the way he trains and the way he interracts with others.
Gary Davidson muses on the sublime talent of a man who leads by example an an easygoing manner. He has admired his resilience and acknowledges the fact that he is a great club man but a lousy golfer.
Throughout his career with us he has always given of his best. The regard he has for his teammates and and our volunteers has been a guiding light for both his mates and those coming into the Club for the first time. Good luck against Melbourne and we hope to celebrate 300 in good time.