Ex-Servicemen's Cricket Club life member, Albert Roy "Dig" Aldous who died on July 30 aged 88 years, was regarded by his peers as being among the most outstanding Shoalhaven players of his era and he sat comfortably in the top 10 first grade allrounders of all time.
His career began at the age of 15 and he spent two seasons with Nowra in third grade, reaching the grand final in each and enjoying the premiership in 1949-50.
That season was one of the wettest ever experienced in the district, but Dig had one notable mmatch against Bomaderry when he retired at 78, and had bowling figures of 6/26 and 5/4.
He quickly made his mark on the representative scene, top-scoring with 40 against Illawarra 17s in 1948-49 and being appointed captain the following season.
In 1950-51 he scored his first century - 117 against Currambene in second grade, and making the step up to the Colts age group, there was a knock of 50 against Illawarra.
Aged 18, Dig joined the Numbaa-Pyree club to play first grade, and he showed promise during the home and away rounds.
However he rose to prominence in the grand final against Bomaderry when after being dismissed for a duck in the first innings, he hit an unbeaten 114 in the second to help his team to the premiership.
He returned to Nowra in 1952-53 and for two decades he remained a force in the SDCA first grade and a regular in Shoalhaven teams.
A right-hand top order batsman, his game was built around a sound technique and solid defence.
Perhaps stronger on the off side, the back cut was one of his favourite shots.
He was an accurate off-spin bowler for which he set good fields, while the complete cricketer, he also had the ability to take on a wicketkeeping role.
In 15 years with Nowra he appeared in 10 grand finals for five premierships.
For three consecutive years from 1956-57 he won the association batting average, with a figure of 80.8 in the latter year, although his highest score was in the 60s.
Dig placed a high price on his wicket, and not out innings often boosted his average.
His highest score was 162 not out against Warriors on the Recreation Ground in 1956-57, and the following summer he had a double of 5/53 and an unbeaten 80 against Currambene.
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That season saw the first of three consecutive premierships for Nowra, ever though the club expanded to field two teams.
A key member of the side, Dig hit half-centuries in the grand finals of 1958-59 and 1959-60.
He was dominant in the final series of 1965-66 when after hitting 69 in the semi against Ex-Servicemen, he was within 14 runs of a hundred in the grand final against Berry when struck over the eye and took no further part in the game.
After being taken to hospital to have the wound stitched, he was able to watch Nowra win another premiership.
His final matches with Nowra were the finals of 1966-67 when he contributed 20 and 4/20 in the semi-final against Kangaroo Valley, and 31 and 3/35 in the grand final when Ex-Servicemen took the honours.
Unavailable for the early part of the 1967-68 season, Dig returned to the game with Ex-Servicemen and in his second appearance hit 120 against Cambewarra which would remain a club record for 33 years; while he top-scored with 58 in the semi-final loss to his former club.
With an unbeaten 47 and figures of 3/67 in the 1969-70 grand final against Bomaderry, Dig was the stand-out performer for the runners-up.
Appointed captain the following season, he led Ex-Servicemen to the premiership with 86 and 3/21 against Cambewarra in the semi-final, and after taking 6/59 from 17.2 eight-ball overs in the grand final against Bomaderry, he made 27 at the top of the order in his team's chase.
During the season when he celebrated his 40th birthday (1972-73), Dig as captain produced some of his greatest performances - his best bowling figures and a double of 100 not out and 7/31 against Kangaroo Valley.
Second in the association batting averages (322 runs at 46.0), he won the bowling (38 wickets at 7.2), allrounder and Stanley Johns awards.
In the semi-final he took 4/14 in the win over Albatross, and followed it up by dismissing two of the top scorers as Bomaderry batted most of the first day of the grand final to compile 119.
Next morning he decided to wear down the opposition attack and scored three runs in 90 minutes before the middle order took Ex-Servicemen to victory.
That gave Dig his eighth first grade premiership from 14 grand final appearances - and he also made time to coach Ex-Servos to the under 15 flag.
Continuing as captain in 1973-74 when his eldest son Robert became a team-mate, he led Ex-Servicemen into the semi-final which was drawn with eventual premiers Cambetross.
After being in retirement for several years, he made a comeback in 1982-83 when he played first grade with his three sons - Robert, Michael and Mark who all had notable SDCA careers, although not as long as their father's.
As well as guiding the next generation of players in his club's juniors, he was on the association's junior committee during the 1970s, coaching teams in various age groups.
Although not quite complete, Dig's first grade stats show 6000 runs and 350 wickets.
Three of his seven centuries were scored on the turf of Nowra Showground, while a further 29 scores over 50 have been identified.
His best bowling analysis was 7/7 for Ex-Servicemen against Nowra in 1972-73, and 4/41 in the second innings gave him match figures of 11/48.
On 18 other occasions he took five or more wickets in an innings and there were two hat-tricks.
There were five matches when he had allrounder doubles of scores over 50 and bags of five or more wickets, along with association trophies for batting, bowling and allrounder.
One of the first chosen for representative teams over a lengthy period, his highlights would have been scoring 70 in a rare win over old rival Illawarra in 1966-67, and taking 3/11 in the
final against South Coast when Shoalhaven enjoyed its first Illawarra council title in 1969-70.
He represented the council on several occasions, perhaps most notably in 1972-73 when he took three wickets against the South Australian side led by Ian Chappell.
Dig was on the committee that in 1986 organised Ex-Servicemen's 25th anniversary at which his life membership was conferred.
Although he had relocated to Bronte in suburban Sydney, he returned for the club's jubilee reunion in November 2010.
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