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Famous Players

Mark WALSH - Overseas player 1997

Mark was an explosive batsman from Western Australia who was probably the best wicketkeeper ever seen at the club although he preferred to bowl off spin whilst playing for us. He scored 153 not out against Silsden which is the second highest recorded score by an Illingworth batsman in the first team. On his return to Australia he actually made his debut as wicketkeeper/batsman for the Western Australia State side. His Australian cric info profile is below.

Afflicted as he has been by the problem of finding himself in the wrong places at the wrong times - the eternal curse of wicketkeepers - Mark Walsh has not received anything more than an extremely brief taste of interstate cricket to this stage of his career. Born and raised in Townsville, Walsh's talent as a gloveman was considered sufficiently pronounced to earn him selection in Queensland's team for the Australian country championships of 1994, and he also won a place in an Australian Country XI for a one-off match at the tournament's conclusion. But, with Ian Healy and Wade Seccombe maintaining positions ahead of him, his chances of winning a call-up to Sheffield Shield or Mercantile Mutual Cup level remained particularly remote. Walsh therefore made the pragmatic decision to relocate to Western Australia later the same year. The bid for higher honours has, however, come to be compromised by two further problems. One was the simultaneous arrival in the State of the multi-talented Adam Gilchrist, whose brilliant prowess with both bat and gloves rendered him a more obvious candidate to replace the ageing Tim Zoehrer. The other has been the continuing all-round improvement of Ryan Campbell - a regular in the State team as a batsman anyway - as a back-up option behind the stumps. It was not until early 1999 that Walsh's first real window of opportunity came; Gilchrist's one-day international commitments and Campbell's selection in an Australia 'A' team paving the way for his first class debut. Only a handful of other matches have followed. Nonetheless, it should be said that there at last exists the sense that more chances may come in forthcoming summers. In light of Gilchrist's elevation to Test honours and the Western Australian selectors' reluctance to turn Campbell into virtually a permanent wicketkeeper, Walsh's long awaited chance to showcase his defiant batting and acrobatic glovework may finally have dawned. (John Polack, July 2000)

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