Fifteen year-old Touk Miller almost created history over the weekend when he made his 1st XI debut at the Junction Oval.
The promising wicketkeeper replaced the injured Tim Robertson for a T20 match last Tuesday, and held his spot for the two-day fixture against Prahran.
A quick check of the records by club scorer, Tony Chapman, revealed that only Dick Maddocks played his first senior match at a younger age. Dick, who went on to represent Victoria, and also kept wicket for North Melbourne, was 15 years and 169 days when he debuted against Port Melbourne in 1944.
Touk was 15 years and 291 days. Another man who first appeared as a gloveman, Ron Evans, was 16 years and 149 days when he filled in for Test ‘keeper, Len Maddocks, in 1955.
Touk was recruited from St Mary’s, Maribyrnong, by Gary Robertson in October last year. He had only taken up wicketkeeping late the previous season.
“I was finding fielding a bit boring. With ‘keeping, you’re in the game most of the time.”
Touk’s exotic moniker is “a made-up name”, but he inherited his swarthy appearance from father, Wylie, an African-American who hails from Ohio.
Touk represented Victoria at the Under 15 carnival in Adelaide in March this year, but is also a “gun” footballer. In fact, he managed five senior games for Maribyrnong Park in A Grade of the Essendon District Football League last season.
However, he has turned his back on an AFL Under 15 tour of South Africa in February in favour of the Dowling Shield cricket competition.
That is good news for North, but Touk says, “I would still like to keep the doors open for both.”
And, he will miss cricket for North Melbourne when he returns to St Kevin’s College in the New Year. But, there will still be a connection: club captain, Carl Sandri, is a teacher there!
Touk, who started the season in the 3rd XI, has undergone a baptism of fire in the past week. On Tuesday, he kept wicket to West Indies international, Brendan Nash, in the victory over top team, Carlton. And, on Saturday, stood behind the pegs as former Test opener, Chris Rogers, compiled a sublime 146!
He took a catch to dismiss former North player, Daniel Salpietro, and is still coming to terms with his rapid elevation.
“It doesn’t sink in while you’re ‘keeping. But, it was a good experience just to watch how those Test players go about their cricket.”
And, with former Northcote premiership gloveman and Victorian coach, Mick O’Sullivan, to guide him, Touk Miller can look forward to settling in to the rigours of Premier Cricket.