From the topsoil and mowed pitch of the backyard to Wade Park, Max, Jack and Ed Dodds take their cricket very seriously.
Together, they’ve spent thousands of hours chasing balls around the backyard but on Wednesday night the three brothers will don the same kit for just the second time in an official match as Centrals’ re-scheduled Royal Hotel Cup game against Lithgow finally hits the field.
Wicketkeeper-batter Max is the oldest at 24, and despite living in Sydney is Centrals’ marquee player for the shorter format, with Jack at 21 the “forgotten” – his word for middle – child, with Ed at 18 playing his first season in first grade.
While Jack is excited to get the old backyard cricket band back together, he’s hoping the game goes slightly better than the first time the three of them took the field together for the first time in round two of the Royal Hotel Cup this year, where they lost by 19 runs to Orange City.
Like most Centrals batters, Jack hasn’t made the inroads with the bat he’d have liked to this season, hitting 20s and 30s before being dismissed.
We run pretty hard and we’re pretty competitive with each other so there’s a pretty good chance of a run out.Jack Dodds on playing with his brothers
He said it was more of a “mental thing”, but had a good feeling Wednesday night would be the night.
“We’ve got a win in us,” he said.
A lot of the hope for a win is resting on the bowling attack, with Fletcher Rose, Mitch Harvey and the younger Dodds proving a potent attack.
Like all brothers, Jack takes credit for Ed's leggies coming into their own this season after he and Max generously offered to make the sacrifice bat all afternoon in the backyard.
“He got a lot of time to hone his craft,” Jack said laughing.
As to which of them was the undisputed king of the backyard pitch?
“It depends on what the pitch was doing, how much topsoil there was,” Jack said before admitting Max probably had the wood on his two younger brothers.
He’s also given Wednesday night’s rivals Lithgow Lightning a free hint, warning there’ll be plenty of chances for a run-out if two brothers find themselves at the crease at the same time.
“Last time Max and I batted together, I’ve never run so hard in my life,” Jack said.
“We run pretty hard and we’re pretty competitive with each other so there’s a pretty good chance of a run out.”
However, the biggest winners from having all three boys on the field at once are their parents, having spent years ferrying the trio around to different games – where Jack said without fail they managed to watch the only child who made a duck while the other two excelled.
“We just need to make sure one of us does well for them,” Jack said.
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