AN UNWAVERING, lifelong passion for one sport has resulted in the ultimate Australia Day honour for Silverleaves resident William ‘Bill’ Pewtress.
Retiring to Phillip Island a few years ago after holidaying in Silverleaves for most of his life, Bill was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) this past weekend for his decades of dedication to cricket.
Bill first picked up a bat when he was a teenager, playing for the Clarendon Cricket Club in the 1940s.
Around 70 years on, he holds Life Member status at no less than three Victorian clubs, along with the Victorian Turf Cricket Association, where he served as president for 14 years.
To top it off, he was inducted into Hampton Cricket Club’s Hall of Fame in 2012, which was the icing on the cake for a momentous career on and off the field.
As a dedicated captain and coach at clubs in Middle Park, South Melbourne, Carnegie and Hampton between the 1940s and 1990s, Bill, an all-rounder, notched up five premierships.
“I learned a hell of a lot along the line,” he mused.
“In fact, I’m still learning.”
While he officially finished up all cricket-related duties a few years ago, Bill remains an avid follower of the game.
“It’s a lifetime passion,” he admitted.
After watching cricket evolve during the last half century, Bill admits he isn’t too keen on the Twenty20 format, but he understands its popularity.
“I guess it’s exciting and it does interest me somewhat,” he said.
“But I don’t think you can ever beat the Test standard.”
“I think it gets more spectators interested who maybe don’t have the same depth of passion for cricket as others.”
Named ‘Coach of the Century’ by the Hampton CC in 2008, Bill has trained countless blokes, young and old, over the years.
And while he still holds great hope for Australia’s cricketing future, he does worry about the commitment of some younger players.
“If the majority of young kids don’t find immediate success they’re inclined to forego cricket and get into something easier,” he said.
“It doesn’t seem to present the same challenge (as it once did).”
Bill’s wife, Margaret Pewtress, a former president of Netball Australia and board member of the Australian Sports Commission, was awarded the Order of Australia back in 1989 for her incredible contributions to women’s sport.
She has since passed away and has a sports commission memorial award named in her honour.
Bill says he received a letter in the mail indicating he’d been nominated for an OAM award and he was looking forward to his family finding out when it was announced in newspapers last Sunday.
“I’m quite humbled and very proud,” he said with a smile.