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Sydney Premier Cricket - What great players we've seen

Following is an excerpt from an article by Dr Daniel Frogan, the legendary Australian sporting identity (coach and psychologist extraordinaire) and historian who has been researching the many and varied pathways taken by Test cricketers all around the world on their way to the highest levels of their sport. 

Sydney Grade/Premier cricket has been wonderfully strong for over a hundred years.  Goodness knows how many Australian players have, at some stage, played at Chatswood or Manly or Coogee or Pratten or Bankstown or Waitara (Mark Taylor) etc etc.

Mason Crane in action for Gordon

There has been a massive amount of publicity about how Steve Smith and David Warner are playing Premier Cricket this season which is fantastic.  A couple of years ago, the ABC Saturday sports program crossed to Chatswood Oval a number of times in the afternoon when Michael Clarke used a grade game between Gordon and Western Suburbs to prove his fitness for the 2015 World Cup.  It was the biggest crowd at Chatswood for a cricket match for many years.

But let's go back a few years to when there was no interstate limited overs competition and T20 was a brand of anti-pimple cream. One would oppose first class players frequently. If there wasn't a Shield game, THEY ALL PLAYED! Second XI or Colts games were played midweek and players were back for the next Saturday. 

     
Tony Greig, Mike Gatting and Geoff Boycott

Back when the Gordon side contained Phil Emery, Adam Gilchrist, Mark O'Neill, Richard Stobo, the Bankstown team had Steve and Mark Waugh, Steve Small and Wayne Holdsworth, One such game was played in 1991and there was a Shield game on the second weekend. After week one, Bankstown had dismissed Gordon and passed their total, with Steve Small having belted the Stags bowlers to all parts. However, come week two and the Bulldogs were a completely different side (Gordon also lost Emery and O’Neill).  Gordon scored an adequate number of runs in their second innings and then rolled Bankstown for a memorable outright victory. (It was in this innings that Richard Stobo uttered his immortal comment to Waugh III, as recalled by Steve Waugh in his autobiography, page 673).

Ten years before that era, when playing Northern District, one often played the NSW opening bowlers, Steve Bernard and Mark Clews.  Even before that, a St George lineup which included Warren Saunders, Brian Booth, John Rogers, Jack Wilson, Kerry O'Keefe (and others) was something to be feared but also presented a great opportunity to test oneself. 

     
Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain and Shoaib Akhtar

The only overseas Test players since the 60s to play for Gordon have been Scott Styris, Danny Flynn (both New Zealand) and Mason Crane (England).

In fact, since the 60s, over seventy Test players from other countries have graced the Sydney Grade scene.  Some of them were at the beginning of illustrious careers, some in the middle and some at the end.  Many of them have had a great effect on the competition.  Tony Greig and Mike Gatting, for example, had massive seasons and both won the Sydney Morning Herald Player of the Year Awards (in 1975-76 and 1979-80 respectively).  Geoff Boycott scored 1200 runs one season (remember, no Limited Over or T20 games back then!).  Some players used their experience here as an opportunity to broaden their cricketing horizons and went on to bigger and better things.

Mike Gatting even took 55 wickets.  And you didn’t even know he bowled!  Several others players who went on to become English captains, like Andrew Strauss and Nasser Hussain, continued to develop their skills in Sydney.

West Indian star, Alvin Kallicharran, in his only game against Gordon, on a wet Manly Oval wicket, was dismissed for a duck.  Gordon players were impressed by the manner in which he took the umpire’s somewhat dubious decision.  Apparently, once in the safety of the dressing room, his demeanour changed somewhat.

Alvin Kallicharran

In 2001, the “Rawalpindi Express”, Shoaib Akhtar, got off the plane and drove straight to Mosman Oval to confront the Gordon opening batsmen, Damon Livermore and Peter Crocker (who put on 88 for the first wicket).  I think they were very glad he was a bit weary after a long flight.

Following is a list of the overseas Test players who have played in the Sydney First Grade competition since 1960.  (No doubt there are more)

Overseas Test players in Sydney Grade/ NSW Premier Cricket (1960 to present) 

ENGLAND  

Chris Adams (UNSW)
Jonathan Agnew (Cumberland)
Bill Athey (Balmain & Manly)
Scott Borthwick (ND)
Geoff Boycott (Waverley)
Tim Bresnan (Sutherland
Chris Broad (Balmain)
Rory Burns (St George)
Roland Butcher (Hawkesbury)
David Capel (Pet-Marr)
Nick Compton (Wests)
Chris Cowdrey (Cumberland)  
Mason Crane (Gordon)
Phil DeFreitas (Mosman)
Joe Denly (Sydney)
Angus Fraser (Wests)
Jason Gallian (Mosman & Manly)
Mike Gatting (Balmain)
Ian Greig (Waverley)
Tony Greig (Waverley)
Nasser Hussain (Pet-Marr)
Paul Jarvis (Mosman)
Barry Knight (Balmain, Mosman & Gordon)
Nick Knight (ND)
Wayne Larkins (Sutherland)
David Lawrence (Manly)
Jon Lewis (Rand-Pete)
Andy Lloyd (Waverley)
James Ormond (Syd Uni)
Monty Panesar (Wests & Campbelltown)
Paul Parker (Waverley)
Kevin Peitersen (Syd Uni)
Tony Pigott (Waverley)
Ollie Pope (Campbelltown)
Derek Pringle (UNSW & Campbelltown)
Jack Richards (Nth Syd)
Sam Robson (UNSW & Easts)  
Ian Salisbury (UNSW)  
David Smith (Syd Uni)
Mark Stoneman (Banks, St Geo & Campbltn)
Andrew Strauss (Mosman)
Graham Thorpe (Balmain)

PAKISTAN

Shoaib Akhtar (Mosman) 
Mohammad Ilyas (Waverley & Mosman)
Imran Khan (Syd Uni)
Zakir Khan (Sydney)
Waqar Younis (Nth Syd)

INDIA 

Subroto Banerjee (Blacktown) 
Chetan Chauhan (Waverley)
Erapalli Prasanna (Balmain)
TE Srinivasan (Balmain)
Manny Subramanya (Waverley)

WEST INDIES

Corey Colleymore (Blacktown) 
Wayne Daniel (Mosman)
Winston Davis (Campbelltown)
Sir Wesley Hall (Randwick)
Alvin Kallicharran (Manly)
Malcolm Marshall (Waverley)
Andy Roberts (Sutherland)
Dwayne Smith (Nth Syd)

NEW ZEALAND 

Andre Adams (Sutherland)
Trent Boult (Sydney)
Jeff Crowe (Mosman)
Daniel Flynn (Gordon)
James Franklin (Sutherland)
Ken Hough (Nth Syd & Balmain)
James Marshall (Easts)
Bruce Martin (Manly)
Brendan McCullum (Sydney)
Tim McIntosh (Blacktown)
Will Somerville (Eats & Syd Uni)
Scott Styris (Gordon)
Daryl Tuffey (Sutherland)
Graham Vivian (Balmain)

SOUTH AFRICA

Johan Botha (Mosman) 
Kepler Wessels (Waverley)

SRI LANKA

Russell Arnold (Sydney) 
Marvin Attapattu (St George)
Upul Chandana (ND)

IRELAND

Tim Murtagh (Easts) 
Niall O’Brien (Nth Syd)


** Paul Terry (England) and Bill Playle (NZ) both played lower grades for ND. Andrew Strauss (Eng)
played lower grades with Sydney University before playing at Mosman in the following season.

Michael Falk (in disguise)

 

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