Commentator calls last game

Colac district commentator Warren Riches called time on his broadcasting career after starting in 1974. He is pictured with 3CS station manager Cathy Jubb.

“YOU just know”.

They were the words of Camperdown AFL export Scott Lucas when he retired from AFL football in late 2009.

And they reappeared almost identically on Friday when long-time Colac district sports commentator Warren Riches stepped away from his spot on radio station 3CS.

Riches has called time on a broadcasting career which started in 1974, became serious during the 1980s and continued into the 2000s.

He inadvertedly echoed the words of the Essendon champion when outlining the reasons behind his retirement.

“Because it’s time. You know when it’s time,” Riches said.

Riches’ retirement from the microphone marks the end of an era of sports broadcasting in Colac and district.

The former dairy farmer took to the microphone in 1974 as a guest to sports show host Les Finch to talk all things cricket, and eight years later became a co-host of the popular show.

He, Geoff Peel and John Busfield would become three of the south-west’s most recognisable football commentators during the next 10 years, calling football from Colac and beyond.

A conservative estimate put the figure at 500 matches broadcast from Hamilton, Maryborough, Warrnambool, Colac and the Bellarine.

They were the days of vinyl records, reel-to-reel tapes and cart machines, and the commentary boxes were on roofs, the backs of trucks and even a double-decker bus.

While football was Riches’ passion during his time behind the microphone, it is a cricket story – interviewing fallen Australian cricket captain Kim Hughes – which remains the highlight.

Hughes was an emotional wreck when he resigned from the top job in November, 1984, but upheld a commitment in Colac the next day and had his say on radio.

Grabs from the interview went across the Macquarie Network, the then owner of 3CS, something Riches remains proud of today.

“I was rapt he honoured and upheld the commitment to do the interview,” Riches said.

“I found him a very obliging fellow. It was a very sad time in Australian cricket.”

Comments are closed.