Words and pic Anthony Smith
Levi Shouldice’s fifth wicket, on his last ball, in Byron Bay’s win against Terranora two weeks ago, put him on a hat trick but gave him his 300th wicket for the club.
The feat made Levi the leading wicket taker in the Coastal League this season at age 47, after narrowly missing out on the title last year when Byron won the competition.
Levi has 21 wickets so far this season at 15.6.
Levi started his cricket career at 36 after taking himself to the nets most days of summer, for years, to practice his bowling.
While he didn’t play junior cricket, his love for the game drew him to join Byron Bay fourth grade in 2009.
It only took a few years for Levi to find his rhythm and start to regularly knock over sides, winning the bowling trophy for the competition before taking over the captaincy and winning the premiership title.
Levi challenged himself by moving up into third grade where again, he continued what has been a remarkable run of eight consecutive final’s series. He captained the Byron thirds to the premership title and took home the most wickets trophy for that grade as well.
When he was 45, Levi decided to take another challenge and moved up into the Coastal League, drawn by the higher standard and the prospect of playing every week on turf.
Levi changed his style from an opening pace bowler to bowling slow seamers, to fill a need for his team.
The style has been incredibly successful for Levi in the higher grade with a bag of wickets helping drive Byron to the top of the table.
But Levi is prouder of his key role in bringing through many juniors at the club who have been successful in the higher grades.
Levi’s dedication has seen him take home the clubman of the year award, on a number of occasions.
Levi’s message is the old adage that hard work and practise pay off, and that it is never too late to enjoy the game.
Levi will have a chance to claim his hat trick this weekend.