OCTOBER 22, 1998, was a very good day in the life of teenage cricketer-on-the-rise Jon Shaw from Nottinghamshire.
CAPTION: Bowling all-rounder: Jon Shaw. Picture: Wangaratta Chronicle
His Aussie mates were introducing him to the delights of Rutherglen's Star Hotel when he saw wife-to-be Belinda across the main bar.
It started a love affair with the Australian bush that now sees him living and working full-time in Rutherglen. He and Belinda have an 18-month-old son, William.
Shaw has been the outstanding cricketer in Wangaratta and District ranks for a decade, invariably the first picked at representative level.
A bowling all-rounder with four or five eight-fors to his credit, Shaw backs his brisk medium pace with frontline contributions in the top four.
Having already appeared in five Country Weeks in Melbourne and three in Bendigo, he is juggling first-year coaching duties of Wangaratta City Soccer Club with occasional appearances alongside close mate, local legend Rod "Rocket" Lane, at Corowa CC.
"It's my first year in the job and we are training pre-season three nights a week, which conflicts with cricket," he says. "In October we also took Will over to the UK to introduce him to all of the rellies."
He hopes to soon return to full-time cricket as his happiest sporting days have been spent in and around Rutherglen, with Wangaratta Sunday Association mates like Craig Startin, Ian Dinsdale and Mark Higgs with whom he played in a Division One Bendigo Week premiership in 2002.
"There are so many characters around here. I was into my run-in at Barkley Park (Rutherglen) one day about to bowl to Whorouley's Rod Newton, a real stalwart, when he put up his hand to stop me and calmly walked down the pitch and banged a snake on the head. Now that wouldn't happen back home!"
England's improved cricket fortunes of late have seen his own respect levels rise.
"In the first few years I'd get stick all the time on how pathetic England was and how my own game wasn't much better. Now I'm older and England is doing well, there's a healthier allround respect."
Shaw loves his sport 12 months of the year and even had several years of local footy with Rutherglen before playing soccer with City in the winter of 2011.
He'd played at senior level for Nottinghamshire County, without breaking into the championship side.
- Ken Piesse's latest book is Football Legends of the Bush, from cricketbooks.com.au