With the “homecoming” of Adam Gilchrist for our Charity Dinner and Golf Day, it was on opportunity to have a reunion of both the 1989/90 and 1990/91 Premiership winning teams. Adam played for Gordon in those two years and 10 of the players were able to make the dinner while 4 more were able to make a dinner at the home of Michael Cant on Friday night.
Adam Gilchrist at Killara Oval during his playing days at Gordon
The team over the two years was very similar with a core of NSW representative players and a future Test player recognised now as the best wicket keeper batsman in the history of the game.
While it was important to have the high profile players, the premierships couldn’t have been won without an outstanding group of young players who came into the side when the State players were away. This was very evident in both seasons.
The 1989/90 team broke a drought of 42 years to bring the First Grade premiership flag back to Gordon. The performances of the young players as mentioned was exceptional. Kevin Roberts, only 17, scored 625 runs at 78.13 while Warwick Adlam, 18, headed the bowling averages with 29 wickets at 15.79. Adam Gilchrist was only 18 and in the first of two seasons with Gordon, was second in the batting averages scoring 297 runs at 49.50. The other runs scorers were Michael Cant with 512, Steve Day with 400 and Ross Toohey with 323.
The 1989/90 Premiership team
The bowling was also first class with the main wicket takers being Richard Stobo with 32 and Warwick Adlam with 29. John Davison, Ross Toohey, Mark O’Neill and Geoff Hickman also played their parts well during the season.
Geoff Hickman in 1989
It would be remiss of me not to mention one particular innings from our erstwhile President Geoff Hickman. The match was against Mosman at Killara and with the score at 8 for 173, the number 10, Geoff Hickman arrived at the crease to share an 84 run partnership with Mark Aldridge who as batting at No.9. With Mark’s dismissal for his highest score for the club of 73, Geoff continued with Richard Stobo for a further 54 run partnership. Geoff was eventually out for 69, also his highest score for the club, leaving Richard not out on 21. Stobs of course claimed that Geoff robbed him of a century. It is not often you get two “lower order batsman” all record the best scores for the club in the one match as well as the number 11 nearly scoring a century.
Phil Emery, Michael Cant and Steve Day
With all three days of the final being washed out, the semi-final against Northern Districts became the defining game with Mark O’Neill and Phil Emery playing in the victorious NSW team final against Queensland.
With only a draw needed the plan was to bat as long as possible and the innings of Michael Cant with 54 in 3 hours 54 minutes allowed Gordon to score a match winning total of 330. Adam Gilchrist scored 86 (in slightly quicker time) with Peter Rowley-Bates making 53. ND’s were bowled out for 210.
The 1990/91 Premiership team
The 1990-91 season saw the addition of Steve Liggins from Northern Districts and Michael Cant took over the captaincy at the age of 22.
Richard Stobo during his first playing career
The main run scorers were Michael Cant with 612 and a great score of 151 not out, Phil Emery with 415 at an average of 103.75, Adam Gilchrist with 518 and a high score of 96, Steve Day with 467, and Paul McLean with 423 and a high score of 101.
The bowling was dominated by Richard Stobo who took 64 wickets at 16.77 from a mammoth 399 overs which included 96 maidens.
Phil Emery and Mark O’Neill were playing for the victorious NSW team against Victoria in the Sheffield Shield final when Gordon tackled the minor premiers, Balmain, in the semi-final at Drummoyne Oval.
An early collapse meant we were only able to score 161 with John Davison top scoring with 39, however it was in the bowling that we showed our true worth on that day with perhaps the best performance by Richard Stobo (now known as Charlie’s father) in his career with the club.
Richard took 6 for 64 to help dismiss Balmain for 151, however with Gordon having a lead of only 10 and 5 hours left to play the match was still in the balance. Gordon were soon in trouble in the second innings and only an excellent 50 from Gilchrist got us to 122 and a lead of 132.
Richard however came to the fore again with figures of 4 for 28 and Balmain couldn’t get the required runs. Richard finished with match figures of 10 for 92. That doesn’t happen often in a semi-final.
The final against Mosman was again a very tense affair with the first of the three days being washed out. Gordon batted first and only scored 177 with Adam Gilchrist again scoring runs with 61. Greg Rowell from Mosman took 5 for 73. The Mosman innings was moving steadily ahead to a victory, however a bowling partnership was needed to slow the run rate and put pressure on the bastman. This was provided by the unlikely pair of Warwick Adlam and Mark O’Neill who not only took the last 5 wickets for 33 runs, however completely stopped the scoring with figures of 5 for 45 off 23.4 for Warwick and 3 for 10 off 17 overs for Mark. Not known as well for his bowling than his obvious batting talent, Mark showed that when the chips were down his leg spinners would be good enough in any situation. Mosman were dismissed for 159.
It is very important for the club to keep reminding ourselves of the past and continuing to build on the great culture we have created over 112 years and the fact that 90% of the players from 27 years ago were able to make the dinner was a testament to the depth of tradition in the club. Having Adam Gilchrist with us on the day was also a reflection on how our club has also produced so many great NSW and Australian cricketers who in every case also remember where their roots were.
Gilly you are welcome back any time.
Members of the premiership teams at the dinner were Left to right, Phil Emery, Steve Day, Paul McLean, Adam Gilchrist, Warwick Adlam, Mark Aldridge, Geoff Hickman, Mark O'Neill. Michael Cant and Richard Stobo.
The current first grade team are not the only ones to give the stag salute!