O"Dowd Declares No. 1 - 2018.19
Date of Event : Fri Oct 5, 2018 1:00AM




This season marks the 2nd year where the GCA Division One competition comprises of 10 clubs since season 2008-09. Clubs to be culled during that period are Manifold Heights, Torquay, Newcomb & District, Highton, Thomson, Geelong West and now Murgheboluc.

Bell Post Hill’s Division One record has been a “rollercoaster ride”. Now in its 25th Division One season it has been promoted now 5 times since its 1985-86 affiliation yet has experienced the thrill of back-to-back premierships in 2001-02 & 2002-03.

Murgheboluc could be considered a little unlucky to be relegated since 2013-14 admission. It is one of 20 clubs to have played 5 seasons or less yet its winning ratio of 37% or 23 games from its 62 matches is only bettered by 3 clubs only of the 20 clubs to be culled in Capulets, East-Geelong (PWW1) and South Geelong (PWW1). It also played in a finals series, in 2016-17.  Apart from enticing one of the greatest all-rounders in Glen Talarico as its captain-coach for a season, it introduced a number of GCA debutants in brothers Daniel Grozdanovski (50 wickets @ 19.6), Jason (1110 runs @19.1 and 79 wickets including 6/47 and 4/42 on debut) and Michael (1228 runs @ 19.5 including 122 against Highton). However its finest product was Andrew Murden whose blossoming career was cut short with a crippling knee injury, the brilliant batsman having rapidly accumulated 1,007 runs @ 29.6 including two centuries in 2016-17 and a best of 129 in the winning Qualifying Final against North Geelong. It played in a finals series, in 2016-17 when it compiled its highest score ever in its 51 matches of 301 in a stunning victory over overwhelming favourites North Geelong (244) the innings aided by Cardiff import Greg Holmes with 65, Daniel Grozdanovski destroying North with 5/61). Cardiff recruit Greg Holmes from Wales starred in his one season with 507 runs @ 36.2.

Murgheboluc had never before defeated North Geelong and in fact its win was the first victory against North Geelong in all four grades over 18 clashes since Murgheboluc was admitted. For North it brought to an end its winning sequence of 8 matches, its last such winning streak in 1989-90 when it won 11 straight.


When champion all-rounder Danny Hughes marches onto the field tomorrow at home against Newtown & Chilwell it will be 24 years since his GCA 1st X1 debut in 1994-95, the battle-scared champion having played 250 Division One 1st.X1 games in last season’s losing semi-final. Missing just the one season in 1996-97 when he tried his hand at Geelong Cricket Club, it took him no time to show his wares when in just his second season he hit a career best to date of 144no and in tandem with Darron Batties (110no) put together a joint record to this day 4th.wicket partnership of 260 unfinished, joining Bob Merriman (131no) & Michael Bowtell (114no) with 260 unfinished also against St.Josephs in 1965-66.

Twice a Jack Sing Medallist, his envious career has amassed 6,214 runs @ 29.6 to be 16th highest behind leader Alf Clark with 10,508 runs @ 43.1 and 471 wickets @ 17.8, being 11th. on the list, Greg Wells the best with 574 wickets @ 14.8. He has recorded 10 centuries with that best of 144no and 9/27 against Geelong West in 2007-08. Only 26 bowlers have snared 9 wickets in an innings, his 9/37 ranked 11th behind the leader in Jack Brady with 10/30 for Ford Motor Company against International Harvester in 1941-42.

His finest all-round match was in 2003-04 with the double of 97no & 6/61. He has passed 30 in an innings on 78 occasions and snared 3 wickets in an innings or more 71 times.

His versatility places him in the top 4 all-rounders of all-time with 6,214 runs @ 471 wickets joining Darren Kiddle (6066 runs @ 25.7 & 507 wickets @ 19.3 for Leopold, Grovedale, BPH & Newcomb & District), Bert Brown (4972 runs @ 39.5 & 539 wickets @ 13.9 for Geelong West & Federal Mill), Brad Hauenstein (7055 runs @ 37.1 & 426 wickets @17.0 for South Barwon).



Thomson stalwart Grant Dew has called it a day and announced his retirement after a decorated GCA Division One career. Making his 1st X1 career on this round in 1988-89 for Thomson against Leopold he quickly showed his all-round talents with 5/76 and was to accumulate 3,495 runs @ 25.7 and collect 106 wickets @ 26.5 for clubs, Thomson, Geelong City, Cement, Manifold Heights and East-Belmont.


With Excelsior Mill departing after two seasons of GCA cricket as the club was unable to field a team, the competition was reduced to six teams of Federal Mill, Ford Motor Company, Geelong West, International Harvester, Newtown & Chilwell and North Geelong. Round One was highlighted by the debut of Geelong West wicketkeeper/batsman Gordon Russell, his “excellent display” with five stumping’s of the Combine whilst youngster Jack Sing made his debut also for Geelong West.

Sing was to go on and enter the GCA record books. His 251 games produced 10,251 runs @ 50.5 for Geelong West, Geelong Footballers and GWC&FC (only surpassed by Alf Clark in 2010-11 with 10,508 runs @ 43.1 for North Geelong). He scored 901 home-and-away runs at the spectacular average of 150.0 despite missing two games in 1948-49 and hit a record 30 centuries, one more than Harry Heard with 29. Surprisingly a double-century wasn’t to be with a best of 198 against CYMS in the 1950-51 grand final. In his golden season of 1948-49 he pounded a record 8 consecutive scores of 50 or more.  Also in 1948-49 he and Frank Pike combined to amass the GCA 2nd.wicket record to this day of 324 against Ford Motor Company with scores of 137no & 197 respectively.

His “Bradman-like” figures earnt him a record 8 competition annual batting awards.

This column, now in its 30th  year has changed slightly with the elimination of the standard “50 , 25 & 10” years ago format and replaced it each week with two rounds at random of interesting rounds from yesteryear.


Last updated: Thursday October 18, 2018 2:08PM
Author: Garry Goodman