SEASON 2019-20 ARTICLE NO 2
Round 1 The GCA 1st.X1 competition sees Geelong City replaced by Murgheboluc. It is the 6th.time that City has been relegated and promoted since it became known as Geelong City in 1928-29 whilst Murgheboluc has been demoted once in 2017-18 for the one season. Murghe’s 5 seasons were highly successful, playing in a semi-final once and winning 37 games or 60% of all games played. The average over all clubs is 50%. It was rocked by Lara for only 75, just ahead of its lowest of 53. This was due in no small part to Danny Hughes celebrating his 500th wicket whilst taking 5/27 to become the only player ever to score 6,000 runs and take 500 wickets all at the same club.
North Geelong was back on the winners list after the disaster of last season when they finished last, with a solid win over finals aspirant, St.Josephs - due to a fine debut by Moama/Goulburn Murray recruit, Alistair McCann with an excellent double of 27 & 3/23. Damian Vassiliou made another comeback with 47. East-Belmont, without gun bat Shaun O’Neill due to injury, lost on the last ball of the day. Newtown & Chilwell recruit, 17 year-old Joe Nagle steering his side to victory over the premiers with 30no. The two-blues were staggering at 8/83 chasing the target of 117 when Nagle arrived at the crease. Mark Freijah (26) hit his second best career score, his best being 77 nineteen seasons ago.
Leopold, despite the loss of champion batsman Pat Richards who was wooed by 2nd.Division Geelong City, nevertheless won a thriller over Bell Post Hill due to a career best 4/30 by Ben Horne whose previous best was 3/21.
Many pundits believed Geelong City in Division Two would not be beaten all season with Richards & Oliver in the team but come round one they have lost a game already, to Highton
Sad Times The GCA was further rocked last August with the passing of two more better known footballers than cricketers in John Scarlett and Kevin Higgins. John Scarlett played 28 GCA 1st.X1 games for St.Josephs between 1964-71, an unpredictable opening bowler with extreme pace to take 55 wickets @ 18.9 with a best of 5/30 against Geelong City. He also made 407 runs at a handy 15.1.
Vale to my school mate of 10 years “Gunner”.
Kevin Higgins also started his GCA 1st.X1 cricket at St.Josephs in 1972 but quickly transferred to Thomson, his overall cricket a modest one, playing 8 1st.X1 games between 1972-1978 with 183 runs and a best of 73 against ironically, St.Josephs at a reasonably good 25.9 and a solitary one wicket.
Run making Machines Sean O’Neill’s stunning season last year was the best in terms of runs since the GCA was formed in 1896 with 1,007 runs @ 77.5. The top ten most runs in a season (including finals) is depicted in the following chart…
TOP TEN RUNMAKERS IN A SEASON (INCLUDING FINALS)
Curiously three of the batsmen are still playing in O’Neill, Kentish & Fergusson.
Newtown & Chilwell
ON THIS ROUND – 81 YEARS AGO (1938-39)
Federal Mills was boosted by Bert Brown who returned to the GCA from the Stonehaven Cricket Association. Brown’s dazzling season reaped 721 runs @ 60.1 plus 50 wickers @ 11.8 (the only player ever to achieve “the double” of 500 runs and 50 wickets in a season).
The annual GCA Dinner was held at the Victoria hotel with Lindsay Hassett, the only man from Geelong to play Test cricket (at that time) the guest speaker. The Geelong and District Cricket Board treasurer, Mr. K.H.Pittock forwarded a cheque for five pounds on behalf of all clubs to the Bush Fire Relief Appeal, with further funds donated from profits from the annual “Sons of Soldier’s”cricket match at Eastern Gardens between Geelong and Melbourne teams.
ON THIS ROUND - 37 YEARS AGO – SEASON 1982-83
One of most elegant batsman in modern times made his debut on this round and went on to play 179 matches across three clubs in Geelong West, St.Josephs and North Geelong, accumulating 5,193 runs @ 31.9 with 6 centuries and a best of 120no for St. Josephs against Lara in 1989-90, playing in three premierships, one at St. Josephs in 1989-90 and two at North Geelong in 1995-96 & 1996-97. His finest year was in his first season at North in 1994-95 with 628 runs @ 69.8 whilst season 1986-87 saw him accumulate three centuries for St.Josephs.
His name : Graeme Beaumont.