By Paul Pickering
“THEY’RE still coming out all right,” admits 47-year-old Devon Meadows bowler Peter Zauner.
The ageless seamer has taken 35 wickets at an average of just over 10 in the WGCA’s District Division this summer, so that’s probably an understatement.
Zauner, who joined the club in 1993 as captain-coach, is having one of the finest seasons of his career, highlighted by his best-ever figures of 8/31 in the first innings of the Panthers’ round five win over Kilcunda/Bass.
Known simply as “Zed” down at Cranbourne Racecourse Reserve, a fighting fit Zauner is now eyeing a half-century of sorts.
“I’d like to still be going around in the ones when I get to 50 – I reckon that’d be a good achievement,” he said last week.
And Devon Meadows president Mick Floyd has no doubt that the club’s very-own Peter Pan can get there.
“He’s just remarkable,” Floyd marvelled at the likeable boilermaker from Cranbourne.
“He’s one of those blokes who never seem to break down or even get sore during games.
“Some of the older blokes drop down and play in the lower grades, but he’s fiercely competitive and just wants to keep going.”
That’s a bonus for Floyd and the other Panthers pacemen, because most opposing batsmen are content to see the big fella off – he has an economy rate of 2.4 runs per over this season – and take some more risks against the rest of the bowlers.
It rarely works of course, with Zauner’s control, changes of pace and tactical nous proving too much for many of his younger opponents.
He says he’s become better at “working batsman out” in recent years and admits that he’s willing to engage in some psychological warfare at times.
“I might have a bit of an intimidation factor with the young blokes, because I play it pretty hard and make sure they know I’m around,” he laughs.
Zauner says there is no secret to his longevity, but reckons his body has responded well to a bit less net bowling during the summer and fewer beers during the winter.
That said, those who know him attest that Zauner is still capable of partying with the young blokes.
“He goes better than anyone,” Floyd said.
“He’s been on every trip away since we started having them. It’s like he turned 40 and stopped ageing – it’s freakish.”
For now though, Zauner is hoping to delay the post-season festivities by helping third-placed Devon Meadows secure a finals berth in the District Division.
By Paul Pickering