November 13, 1956, Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
Right hand bat
Greg Shipperd was a dour right-hand top-order batsman who appeared in the strong Western Australia team of the late 1970s and early 1980s before moving to Tasmania in 1988-89. After his playing days ended he became a respected coach, first at Tasmania and then Victoria.
In a 112-match first-class career that spanned 14 years, Shipperd established a reputation as a slow-scoring, difficult-to-dismiss batsman. In 2004 he described his batting style as "about hanging around and not getting out", but he was a key member of the Western Australia side that won the Sheffield Shield in 1980-81, scoring 140 against Queensland in the last game of the season. Shipperd again played in a Shield-winning team in 1983-84 and with Western Australia in trouble at 3 for 53 chasing 223, he and Bruce Laird combined for an important 81-run stand to put the innings back on track. Shipperd represented Australia in two rebel tours of South Africa. His best contributions in the four unofficial tests were 59 opening the batting in the first game in 1985-86 and 53 in the last match in 1986-87.
After switching from his native state to Tasmania in 1988-89, he played largely as an opener and his immovability at the crease was at its best the following season when he made 200 not out from 571 balls in 708 minutes at the WACA. The same year he crawled the slowest first-class century by an Australian, in a match against Victoria at Launceston, when it took him 481 minutes to reach triple figures. He took so many hits on the body during the innings that Merv Hughes nicknamed him "The Human Mattress".
Shipperd played his final season of first-class cricket in 1990-91 and the following year became coach of Tasmania, a position he held for 11 seasons. He guided the state to its first Sheffield Shield final in 1993-94, then again in 1997-98 and 2001-02, but they were unable to win the trophy and he moved to Victoria to take up a role as assistant coach to David Hookes in mid-2002.
After Hookes died in January 2004, Shipperd took over and two months later Victoria celebrated their first Pura Cup title since 1990-91. A meticulous planner renowned for his tactical nous and a strong rapport with his players, Shipperd again took Victoria to the final in 2005-06.
Brydon Coverdale October 2006
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