Don Skinner to take on son Tom as Newtown does battle in RSL-Kelly Cup decider

FAMILY AFFAIR: Tom Skinner has been key for Newtown White this season and will need to fire against his father this weekend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
FAMILY AFFAIR: Tom Skinner has been key for Newtown White this season and will need to fire against his father this weekend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Saturday’s RSL-Kelly Cup grand final looms as a special one for Don Skinner for many reasons.

Firstly, the Newtown club at which he is president will field the two sides involved, secondly he will be competing against son Tom for the trophy, and thirdly the club will farewell a couple of long-standing stalwarts.

I haven’t talked to Thomas about cricket at all this week.

Don Skinner

The family battle for the third grade trophy has loomed as a possibility since the latter part of the season, with Don’s Newtown Black qualifying as minor premiers while Tom’s Newtown White beat RSL-Colts Red in the semi-final for the right to face them.

With the Skinners all working together at the family dairy, you would expect it to be a hot topic this week, but Don says that hasn’t been the case.

“I haven’t talked to Thomas about cricket at all this week,” the patriarch of the family said.

“I usually talk to him about the makeup of his team and things like that, but we haven’t spoken cricket this week.

“I actually don’t like playing against the other Newtown teams. I’m very proud we’re both involved but even during the competition games I didn’t like playing against the other sides because I’m president and it just feels awkward.”

It’s unsure whether the silence is a case of the wily veteran playing mind games or not, but his deflection of the favourites tag certainly is.

Newtown Black only lost twice all season, but interestingly in the only meeting between the two sides it was White who got the spoils by 90 runs.

“We’re old, fat and slow,” Don Skinner said.

“Our style is pretty simple and that is to bowl straight and hit any loose balls that come our way, but we’re a bit slower in the field than we used to be.

“Thomas’ side is very aggressive, they like to attack so it shapes as a good contest.

Don has lived the dream of most cricket dads by playing with all three of his sons – Steve, Tom and Mat – in first grade a few years back but in recent years has dropped back to third grade.

There he has found himself linked with good mates like Brett Wrigley and Graham Baker, who will both hang up their boots at the completion of Saturday’s match.

Wrigley recently racked up his 400th match for the club across various grades, and a win on Saturday would be a fitting way for him to go out.

“Wrigs was going to finish up last year but we went back and did the stats and he went on in the hope he could reach 400, which he’s done now,” Don Skinner said.

“We’ve played a lot of cricket together. He’s been great for Newtown and it would be terrific if him and ‘Bakes’ went out winners.

“I’ll see how I go over winter and make a decision before next season. I still enjoy my cricket but I know I can’t keep playing forever.”