Overseas Dragons - Where are they now
Jan Jacob Esmeijer WDCC Cap number 119
For those that don't know JJ, he was a Dutch International with 6 ODI games to his name whose career highlights besides playing at the Drags were, he played for Somerset's second XI and was Holland's top spinner at the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Although he bowled with good control and an excellent (for an Associate-level spinner) economy rate of 5 runs per over, he was unlucky not to capture a wicket in any of the 4 matches he played in that tournament.
When did you play for WDCC?
I came to Perth in November 2001 and left in March 2002. Former Dragon Sean Cary had been my coach in Holland for two years (1994/1995) and asked whether I was interested in spending a summer in Australia. I could stay at his place – and apart from the face I was cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and garage 24/7, I had a brilliant time with him.
Where do you play back home?
I started playing cricket in 1978 (that’s a year that Super Mario wasn’t born yet). That was in the city of Schiedam, famous for Dutch gin (and also Ketel 1 Vodka). As where you guys have footie and cricket as a combination, most Dutch clubs have the soccer/cricket or hockey/cricket combo. In 2003, I left Excelsior to play for The Royal Hague Cricket Club for another six years. My last match was in 2009.
Why did you pick WDCC?
It was Scary (Sean Carey) who told me to come over. He said that WDCC would be a nice club to play with lots of good players. Shaun Marsh, Brad Hogg and Andy Gray. Being a spinner, Perth wasn’t the easiest of areas to bowl. Or, as Sean would say it, “You’re bowling Lolly Bobble Bliss Bombs!” Thanks, mate.
What did you think of playing at Burrendah?
It was nice. Knowing no one at the club, everyone made me feel welcome. Especially after the trainings, everyone would hang around to have ‘a quiet one’. In Holland, things are more rushed. You train and you go home. I had already spent a summer in Cape Town and I had played a lot on turf in England, but every country is different. I remember one club training took place at the artificial strip on the second ground. That’s where the best of my skills came around the corner!
What's one of the most memorable on-field experiences at WDCC?
There’s plenty! Batting with Brad Hogg. I sometimes just could not understand what he was saying – I think that was the main cause of me getting run out in one of the 1st grade matches. The quarter or semi final versus Subiaco Floreat for the championship at Burrendah. Winning on the last ball – everyone just lost it! The final at the WACA was the icing on the cake. Lots of Crownies came through after winning the silverware - and Siljeh cut off his pony tail!
And off the field?
On the first night, I met this girl and after a night out we went to her place. As she couldn’t find her keys she climbed up the tiny roof above the main entrance. As she was trying to climb through the bathroom window, she went right through the roof. Legs hanging out, etc. I was only in the country for 72 hrs and was afraid the police would come down and they’d see me as some kind of criminal. The next training, the teams were announced and I thought I had kept this whole roof thing under the radar. Until Doormat Walsh screamed out in front of the 50 Dragons at the training: “Hey JJ, need some new roofing mate? Hehehehe…” Quality.
Are you still following The Drags?
Yes, I do. I am still in contact with a few players on Facebook and receive e-mails from the club secretary. Chris ‘Goon’ Lagana was so friendly to send over my numbered cap that holds a special place in my house. Next to that, it’s my Freemantle Dockers wife beater. Go Dockers.
What was your highlight when defending our colors?
I think it was a club that was called Melville or Belville (close to the coast). I got 40 odd runs and was pretty happy on that performance. As sharing this information with ‘Hoggy’, I could just hear him say: “Well, it was about f#%king time, mate…” Thanks a bunch, Brad!
Best beverage ever at the club?
Definitely that must have been a Midstrength after a training.
Greatest character in and around the field?
There are a few. I recall Keith Tippers. And KP. And Shane Lavender, whose mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. When I met ‘Sir Viv’ in Sri Lanka in 2002, I told him that some ‘gangsta’ from Perth was using his initials and last name for his mail address. Viv thought this was quite funny. And there was Nuffy with 4,564.354 pencils and rulers. Wasn’t he an Everton fan?? And Mitch Marsh, walking around with an ice cream and bat in his hands and asking everyone annoying questions. Would never have thought that he’d play for Oz one day – but I guess it’s all in the genes!
What are you doing for a living?
I run a PR and communications agency in Rotterdam, and that’s also where I live. It pays the bills and is nice being an ‘entrepreneur’.
Married, single, divorced?
Single. Elle Macpherson didn’t want me. But this allows me to play heaps of golf and enjoy life. One day, the right one will come along.
If you had one week to come back to The Drags, what would it look like?
Well, I guess rolling the arm is history now. I would definitely catch up with all the people I know that made my time in Perth very pleasant. I’d visit Tom Hansell whose health is troubling him at the moment. And yes, one Crownie. For ol’ time sake. I am wishing WDCC all the best throughout this cricket free winter coming up.