Sport

A look back at sporting greats Ken and Rosemary Tyquin

By Lauren Bordin

The year 1957 sums up Ken Tyquin’s remarkable sporting career.

One of Shepparton’s greatest all-round sporting legends achieved unrivalled success which most can not claim to have done in a lifetime.

But Tyquin, 88, attained the highest accolades in three different sports.

He was named Shepparton Football Club’s best-and-fairest in the year the side secured a stunning two-point Goulburn Valley League premiership while also coaching the under-17 Bears to the title.

Those teenagers would forge their own way with 1964 Melbourne premiership player Barrie Vagg and Hawthorn 100-game player Cam McPherson part of the team.

As one of the best in the GVL during the season, Tyquin was a part of the Kevin Kenna-coached interleague team that manufactured a defeat of VFL club Geelong at Deakin Reserve.

During the summer of 1956-57 Tyquin averaged 131 runs across six innings, taking out the batting average for the Cricket Shepparton season when he finished with a mean of 69.2.

Juggling cricket with tennis the master claimed the Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club’s singles and mixed doubles championships as well as captaining the Shepparton Country Week team which took out the tournament.

Remarkably his wife Rosemary said Ken spent so much time outdoors despite suffering from terrible hay fever.

‘‘With his cricket and tennis he suffered from hay fever badly in hay fever season (particularly) in cricket, so he used to swap to tennis, that’s why he had a bit of a go at both,’’ she said.

‘‘He’d come home and he’d be a bit of a mess and he had red hair of course and they’re more prone to these things.’’

Tyquin’s brother Bill was also a sensational footballer and claimed the 1949 Morrison Medal while playing at Lemnos, and Tyquin joined the club to play under his brother who coached.

He came second to GVL champion Robbie Orrman in the 1951 best-and-fairest count before applying for a clearance to join Shepparton in 1952 with the desire to play under former Collingwood defender Jack Murphy.

But that clearance was denied, leaving Tyquin to play golf for the winter, and he was no slouch at that sport either.

The following year he was able to join the Bears and won back-to-back best-and-fairests in 1956 and 1957 before starting his senior coaching career in 1958 with Wunghnu.

Again success came to him and Wunghnu won the premiership in his first year at the helm and the team was runner-up the next.

Tyquin returned to Shepparton as coach of the reserves and Rosemary said he nearly had an Abikhair Medal hung around his neck.

‘‘He nearly won the Abikhair Medal, but had to play some matches in the firsts because Tom Hafey had been appointed coach and he was injured and Ken had to step up,’’ she said.

Coaching his nephews in junior football with the Lemnos Ramblers, his time spent as GVL payment commissioner gave a taste of football administration.

Playing in brilliant teams during the winter, summer was no exception and Tyquin was an astonishing talent on the cricket field.

Opening the batting for Old Students at 16 he finished unbeaten on 127 runs and started playing in the Haisman Shield in the early 1950s when there were only limited matches in the top tier each summer which gave him time to play tennis.

His most memorable cricket innings were at Shepparton Youth Club of which he is a life member.

The 1963-64 seasons yielded an average of 83.8 and the following season 885 runs came at an average of 65.7.

Integral in the summer of 1965-66 Tyquin slashed 175 unbeaten runs in the semi-final and then raised the bat for another century in the final to steer his side to victory against Mooroopna.

As the first player to reach 1000 runs in a Cricket Shepparton season, Tyquin made more than 10000 runs and took more than 200 wickets to justly be inducted into Cricket Shepparton’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

Rosemary said the humble star took great joy out of being on the field.

‘‘He did love training and I think with the cricket they used to say he’d commentate as he was bowling and for him training was fun,’’ she said.

‘‘They had Jim McGregor and he was just the most wonderful man ... he was Shepp Youth Club through and through, and George Wilson he was a policeman (who also played).’’

In some years Tyquin chose to focus on tennis and yet again his efforts had him at the top of his class.

Included among his accolades was the Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club’s singles championship in 1955, 1957 and 1960 as well as further success coming in the doubles.

‘‘Harry Hutchins was a policeman and they partnered up together, he was a lovely man and they played a lot of doubles together and they actually won the Goulburn Valley lawn doubles,’’ Rosemary said.

‘‘He also partnered Kath Chilcott to win the mixed doubles.’’

Just to cap his tennis achievements, Tyquin captained the Shepparton Country Week team that broke an 18-year drought in the region to win the Country Week championship with Kevin Thorn, Ken Pritchard and John Dainton part of the side.

Despite an impeccable resume in football, cricket and tennis Rosemary said remarkably that none of those were where he shone brightest.

‘‘That was probably his best sport — badminton, it was all self-taught,’’ Rosemary said.

‘‘He coached a lot of the juniors and he did really well with them, a few of them made the junior state teams.’’

With a Shepparton Service Medal awarded by Shepparton Badminton Association in 1968 in his pocket, Tyquin also dabbled at basketball and table tennis.

But one sport he never played was hockey, a sport Rosemary was a champion at in her own right.

All three of Ken’s and Rosemary’s children, Stewart, Gail and Rhonda had an affinity with the sport and Stewart continues to ply his trade with Shepparton Strikers in Goulburn Valley Hockey Association.

Stewart, Gail and Rosemary have life membership of the GVHA after Rosemary’s first foray into the sport through Shepparton legend Val Dominelli.

‘‘I used to go to the footy with Val Dominelli who was a Shepp (Football Club) stalwart and we used to go to the footy when we were little tackers and she asked me if I’d play and I said I would fill in,’’ Rosemary said.

That one game was the catalyst for a journey that nearly led to her competing on the international stage.

Rosemary was selected to play for Australia in Malaysia in 1962, but due to illness was unable to take the opportunity.

She still captained the Victorian State Team in 1962 and led Shepparton to the Country Championships in 1970 when her efforts at the competition had her named captain of the country team.

Aside from hockey Rosemary won four consecutive premierships for Old Students in softball, with the first in the summer of 1956-57.

While Rosemary was delighted to share details of her husband’s accolades, like Ken she was modest in detailing her own achievements.

Ken’s health is on the decline and he was in Goulburn Valley Health at the time of speaking to Rosemary.

But his tremendous output on the sporting landscape of Shepparton has his name constantly popping up whenever a conversation about the all-time greatest sportspeople in the region comes up.