Vale Andy McElroy
The Club has lost a loyal servant with the passing on Tuesday of Andrew McElroy. Andy was a very accurate medium-pace bowler who could consistently swing the ball, as well as being a more than handy lower order bat. He began his career with Gordon in the 1972-73 season, taking 29 wickets in 4ths and 5ths, topping the 4th Grade averages. In the 1974-75 season, when all Grades reached the semifinals and Gordon won the Club Championship by a long way, Andy was a member of the 4th Grade side – the only Grade team to go on and win the Competition. His contribution was a fantastic 43 wickets at an average of only 13.02. In the Final, against a very strong St George side, he took 6-40 and 5-37 – a wonderful performance!
Allen Walsh, the skipper of the victorious team, wrote, “Andy McElroy, furious at being run out for a ‘duck’, was in a hostile mood with the ball and bowled for a ‘duck’ the St George century-maker of the previous week’s Semi-Final.
…St George resumed the second day at 1 for 13, lost an early wicket and saw their captain Fraser (with some 700 runs and 70 wickets to his credit for the season) out for a ‘duck’ – caught behind – off Andy.
…We crowded the batsmen after lunch and were rewarded in the very first over. Both Andy and Hilton (Chapman) kept the ball up on the damp pitch and their remaining batsmen had little answer to our attack. They were all out for 101. Andy had 6 magnificent wickets to his credit and Hilton 2.”
In the same season, Gordon also won the Poidevin-Gray Shield (the last time the Club has won it!). While Andy’s contributions opportunities were limited through the season, he shared in a most important lower order partnership in the final which proved vital to the victory.
In the following seasons, Andy continued to perform strongly. He took 36 wickets in 1975-76, 37 in 1979-80 and, in 1982-83, won the W.A.Oldfield Award for All Round Performances when, in the Premiership winning 3rd Grade team, he took 35 wickets at 18.7 as well as scoring 293 runs at 32.5 (with two half centuries). In the Annual Report, skipper Warwick Murray wrote, “A fine all-round effort and one which was an inspiration to his team-mates. Well played, Andy!”
Perhaps his crowning achievement however, came in the 1985-86 season. Andy was made captain of the 3rd Grade side and did what all captains should do – he led them through an undefeated season and a Premiership win! In retrospect, perhaps the Club should have handed him the reins much earlier. Andy captained the team in his normal quiet, firm manner, making important contributions when necessary. Sadly, he retired at the end of that season, but what a captaincy record! Taking part in four Premiership wins for the Club is a wonderful effort achieved by very few.
He sits at Number 13 in the Gordon All Grades Bowling, having taken 453 wickets at the excellent average of only 16.65.
Andy was always interested in how the Club was progressing and invariably dropped in to Chatswood Oval for a look at 1st Grade. In fact, he was aiming at getting down to the final round this season against Sutherland (“Might even have a beer or 2”) but unfortunately, he was too ill to attend.
If you were looking for the best way to describe Andy’s role on the cricket field it would be “Team Player”. He was a quiet achiever. He was a completely unselfish player who made runs or took wickets when they were really needed. Several of his former team-mates have recently commented that he was good to have in the side because he could always be relied upon to make a positive contribution.
To his wife and family, the Club sends its most sincere condolences.