Like father like son

DAVID and Tom Burley have the chance to grab a bit of Manning cricketing history this weekend.

It's understood they are the first father-and-son combination to play in a first grade grand final since Geoff and Duane Sheather lined up for Leagues against Wingham in 1983/84.

The Burleys will be in the starting XI for United against Wingham in the grand final to be played at Chatham Park.

They'll also be hoping for better luck than the Sheathers. Back in 83/84 Leagues lost by one wicket in a low scoring affair, Leagues making just 62 and Wingham replying with 9/64.

Tom, 15, made his first grade debut last season and he started in style when grabbing a hat-trick in his first game, so earning a Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week award. A bowling all-rounder, he's been a bit frustrated in recent first grade matches as he hasn't been required to bowl. But he's still played plenty of cricket this season with Chatham Cundle under 16s and the Manning under 16 representative team.

His dad, David, returned to first grade this season.

"At first Leagues-Wherrol Flat were struggling for players,'' the 44-year-old said.

"They formed United with Cundletown but they were still struggling a bit. Then Ricky Campbell, who is a good wicket keeper, wanted to bowl. I'd been keeping in third grade so I volunteered.''

He took on the keeping role initially by necessity. A fall off a ladder in 2006 left him with five broken vertebra in his back.

"I wasn't even sure if I was going to walk again, let alone play cricket,'' he said.

David spent six months in a full body brace. He underwent rehabilitation for a further 18 months. His mobility is restricted so he finds it easier to keep instead of having to try and run around in the field.

However, pain is a constant companion and this coupled with the crouching required to keep wickets takes a toll.

"Most Sundays after the game I can hardly walk,'' he explained.

"There was one game against Wingham when I kept for 70 overs and I knew all about it the next day. I was really struggling.''

He was eventually given the all clear to return to cricket. He was keen to play again as he was bringing a group of juniors players he'd coached into third grade.

David was a member of the Harrington sides that won a string of A-grade premierships in the late 1990s early 2000s. He admits if he wins a title this weekend with his son would be a good way to sign-off.

"But I love playing cricket,'' he said.

"I'll wait a see what happens next year and see what the makeup of the competition is. I hate seeing sides play short so if they don't have enough players I might have a game again.''

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