5. 1993/94 to 1997/98

27 Teams 2 Premierships

The present has seen a time of unprecedented growth within the Club. Nowhere else in the Club’s history can it be boasted that team entries have averaged over five teams per season. In fact, the Club entered a record 6 teams for the first time in 1994/95 and again repeated that number in the just completed 1997/98 season. It is estimated that in the 1998/99 season the Club will be in a position to enter a team in every grade of competition, 8 in total. During this period, the Club has also cemented it’s entrenchment in the A1 Grade competition and in all but one season 1995/96, has fielded a strong A2 side as well [In 1995/96 the club commenced the season in A2’s but was relegated to B1’s after round 4 of competition].The present, has also seen the St Ives Cricket Club [196 teams to the end of 1997/98] surpass Thornleigh [177 teams to the end of 1997/98] as the leader in team entries in the history of the Association.

There is no great mystery to this sudden growth. It has eventuated through the efforts of the Club’s committeemen over this time, in re-establishing links with the junior club. The influx of new young talent, mixed with a base of loyal longstanding dedicated players has acted like a lodestone in attracting new members to the Club in their droves.

However, it was also a time for the “changing of the guard”, with many great careers coming to an end or winding down in activity.

Straun Tweedie, probably the Club’s greatest part-timer finally called it quits at the end of the 1993/4 season. Straun was a vicious outswinging opening bowler who terrorised his opponents with blistering pace. In a short but fruitful career of only 31 matches, Straun destroyed 99 batsmen at an average of 11.84. His efforts won him the Club’s Grade Bowling Award in 1988/89 in both A Grade and B Grades with best figures of 8/45 and 8/54 to his credit.

Another accomplished bowler of the time to retire was Glen Ashelford. Glen’s career consisted of 146 wickets at 12.75 including a best bowling of 7/58 in 1993/4 and a hat-trick in 1992/3. He won numerous bowling awards over the years, crowned by winning the Club Champions Trophy in 1988/89.

One of the last longstanding greats, Tim O’Connor finally hung up his boots in 1994 after 15 seasons. Tim finished his career with 3807 runs at 25.9, which included 13 50’s and 3 100’s as well as 283 wickets at 17.35 to his credit.

Another of the ‘veterans’ Geoffrey Martz however, is still an active member of the Club. Geoffrey has just completed his 25th straight season, in which he has competed in 254 matches, just one short of Peter Low’s record. During this time Geoffrey has scored a Club record 4032 runs at 16.5 as an opening batsman as well as capturing 139 wickets at an average of 20.2.

After these two distinguished careers, one complete and one not out, and in recognition of their services to the Club, both Tim and Geoffrey were honoured with Life Membership in 1994.

The last of the “living legends”, the “Old Magpie”, Peter Low still graces the fields with his presence today but on a much less frequent basis. These days Peter is pursuing a much more sedate career in his second love, lawn bowls.

It is not surprising that once the lure of the cricket pitch was lessened for a yearning towards the rink that success would follow for Peter. In 1997, Peter won Turramurra Bowling Club’s Reserve Singles Championship, the start of which all hope will be an equally distinguished career, albeit in the “underarm” game.

Peter’s cricketing career to date has spanned a record 254 games in which his wily spin bowling has captured a Club record 407 wickets at 17.37 and along the way he has also found the time to score 2202 runs at 19.83.

While Tim O’Connor was contemplating retirement, St Ives was still well served by it’s new intake. In 1989/90 a young pace bowler had joined the Club and was quickly making a name for himself in the lower grades. His name was Paul Oprey.

In his first season, Paul received promotion to B Grade where he took a hat-trick at his first appearance and never looked back. Paul was feared as a bowler with a reputation for taking big hauls when he was “in the groove”. He captured 5 or more wickets in an innings on 6 occasions and in 1992/93 devastated the B Grade oppositions with performances that included, 8/23, 7/36 and 7/35 and a best match haul of 12/48. Over 110 matches for the Club, Paul took 214 wickets at an average of 17.7, primarily in the A and B Grades.

Another youngster to come into the senior ranks during this period was Rodney Hokin. Rodney, a talented all rounder started in the lower grades as an opening bowler, taking 43 wickets at 22.65, mostly in C Grade. He complimented his bowling with a copybook batting style which included a top score of 111* and was electric in the field. Rodney’s ability immediately took him to A Grade where, after a time of adjustment to turf, he continued to score runs which currently stands at 972 at 21.6. However, as a medium pace bowler Rodney was one amongst many. Rather than deter him, Rodney set about change, turning himself into a leg spinner. Such was his determination, that in 1997/98 he took 37 wickets at 17.08 of well flighted and accurate leg spin in A Grade that had all oppositions in awe of his newfound skill.

It appears that leg spin runs in the Hokin family as Rodney’s younger brother Roger also shows similar ability. Roger, in his first season out of juniors has captured 47 wickets in C and D Grade at 13.5 and like his brother who, in 1995/96 was recipient of the Nicholas Downie Memorial Trophy for being the Club’s ‘Most Promising Cricketer’, was awarded the same honour in 1997/98. It appears likely that Roger will feature highly in future upgrades of this publication.

During this time, the Club also had the pleasure to have not only some gifted players but characters as well.

Dennis Hill was an ex-first grader who had ‘dickie’ knees. As a top order batsman, he was renowned for the stylish way he could turn a three into a single. At the time Dennis was also driving a taxi. He would often arrive at unusual times to the ground as a result of nabbing just one more fare. In fact, on some occasions he was also known to go home in the tea break to collect his taxi to be ready for the night shift. The length of these disappearances leaves some to wonder if he even took fares between his home and the oval. Despite this, Dennis managed to be a faithful mentor and coach for the Junior club, a position he holds today with Hornsby Cricket Club where his son Nathaniel plays with distinction. Dennis scored 1952 runs at 26 in the top grades including 11 50’s and 1 century.

One of the most colourful players of the time was Robert Hickey. Bob professed that after all else that cricket is only a game. A middle-aged larrikin who would go to any lengths to set up his team mates with practical jokes, he encouraged the ingredients of fun and enjoyment in what can sometimes be an intense game. Alongside this, Bob was also a successful captain who took 103 wickets at 16 in the lower grades. He, like Peter Low has developed a bug for the underarm game, where he now terrorises the seniors of Turramurra Bowling Club.

The last of the true characters and one of the most decorated over the years was Robert Hawtree. Bob was affectionately known as “Have-a-Chat”, for his ability to turn a sentence into a saga to anyone willing and sometimes unwilling to listen. This “gift of the gab” made Robert the ideal master of ceremonies at the Club’s annual trivia nights. On the field he was famous for his delicate care of the ball. His bowling partners would often delight at handing over a worn ball for Bob’s stint and receiving back a rejuvenated bright red pill as good as new. He was also known on more than one occasion to literally put his body and particularly his head on the line for the team. Candour aside, “Have-a-Chat” was a vastly accomplished grade player whose experience stabilised the Club’s A Grade over many seasons. A veteran of 146 matches, he scored 2528 runs in the top grades at 25.5 including 4 50’s and 6 100’s as well as mystifying his oppositions with 235 wickets at 18.6 of spin bowling. Like his compatriots Bob Hickey, Barry Garrod and Peter Low, Bob Hawtree now spends his days bowling at Turramurra Bowling Club.

The nineties also saw the support of many family lines to the Club. Besides the Martz’s, who are well documented in previous chapters, others to continue the tradition included;

Current Club President and committeeman for over a decade Bob Abdullah who has scored in excess of 2000 runs in 162 games and sons John, a dynamic B Grade all rounder who has scored 2181 runs and taken 76 wickets and Peter who played in the lower grades with success, taking 96 wickets to date, including a hat-trick in 1988/89.

1993-96 Club President Barry “The Rock” Garrod who took 166 wickets as a slow bowler in C and D Grades at an average of 16.37 and son Mark, an A Grade spinner with 110 victims as well as 1612 runs in 100 matches, who went on to play 3rd Grade for Northern Districts before rejoining the Club in 1997. And,

The Boorman brothers, Kent and Craig. Kent was and is the current A Grade wicket keeper who has played over 100 games, providing the side with a rare talent that statistically is not always fully appreciated and Craig, a fast scoring top order batsman and wicket keeper who has scored 2198 runs at 21.54, including 10 50’s and 2 100’s, with a top score of 200* in 1997/98, a score not reached since the great Gordon Naylor twice reached the double century back in 1971/72.

Other outstanding cricketers of this period who have served the Club continuously over many seasons are:
Chris Bellikoff: “The Bear”. An A Grade all rounder who has scored 2002 runs at 24 and taken 131 wickets at 19.8 in is 118 matches.
Ian Black: A Grade all rounder. “Country” as he is known has scored 2432 runs at 21 and taken 89 wickets at 21.8 in 120 games and was the 1995/96 Club Champion.
Paul Christie: B and C Grade opening bowler. “Crackers” has taken 373 wickets, second only to Peter Low, at 16 in over 175 games.
Anthony Clarke: Versatile A and B Grader. Scored 2184 runs at 17.8 and has taken 224 wickets at 20.8 over 156 matches.
Ian Fulton: B and C Grade opening bowler and “agricultural” batsman. Scored 1421 at 19.2 and took 99 wickets at 16.63 in 85 games.
Steven Karrasch: Gritty A and B Grader. Scored 2038 runs at 30 and has captured 40 wickets at 10.8 as a partnership breaker. He won the Association’s 1986/87 D Grade Batting Award with an average of 41.43.
Alex Lees: Current A Grade Captain and opening batsman who has amassed 3255 runs [12 50’s and 3 100’s] at 26.25 over 149 games. Won the Association’s C Reserve batting in 1987/88 averaging 55.66.
Mark Lees: A Grade top order batsman. Scored 2325 runs at 28.7 in 103 matches, including 6 50’s and 3 100’s.
Stephen Martz:  Consistent A and B Grade all rounder. Scored 2505 runs at 28.8 [13 50’s and 3 100’s] and taken 168 wickets at 14.8 in 111 games.
Robert Murrell: A much decorated A and B Grader who took 213 wickets in his 78 appearances at 13.99. He won Association honours for his B Grade bowling in 1990/91 with an average of 9.96 and repeated the performance in 1991/92 with an average of 11.82.
Michael Stinson: Consistent B and C Grade top order batsman. Accumulated 2065 runs at 27.9 including 5 50’s in just 75 appearances.
Richard Wilford: Layback B and C Grade character who has scored 3918 runs at 28 as well as 90 wickets at 16.5 in 153 attendances. Won Association honours in 1984/85 for his D Grade debut average of 89.75 and again in 1991/92 in B Reserve grade with an average of 51.40.
There are also three other “new” members worthy of mention, who joined the Club in 1996/7 and have destroyed oppositions with a regularity in a very short period of time.

Wayne Lawson relocated to the district after a successful grade career in the Kogarah area and immediately impacted on the A Grade competition with his hard hitting. In just 18 appearances, Wayne has amassed 881 runs at 46.3, including 4 50’s and 3 100’s all scored in better than even time. Along the way he has also managed to capture 15 wickets at 20.4 in the top grade. In 1996/97 Wayne also won Association honours at the best A Grade batsman with an average of 60.70.

The second arrival came from further afield, New Zealand. Tony Cox played his initial season in D Reserve Grade, where his all round skills helped the last season “cellar dwellers” to the minor premiership. Tony won the Association’s D Reserve Grade batting that year with an average of 49.80 and was also St Ives Club Champion at his first appearance, just ahead of Wayne Lawson. Promoted to C then B Grade in 1997/98, Tony’s consistency has continued. He has scored 1048 runs in 26 matches at 36.1 and taken 40 wickets at 14.9.

The final arrival came from the juniors, Andrew Smith. Andrew first played senior cricket in C Grade at the age of 13, where he scored 60 runs on debut. In his short career of only 5 matches, he has plundered 262 runs [2 50’s and 1 100] at an average of 52.4. This instant success in the senior ranks on top of his junior and representative triumphs led to his immediate call up to Northern Districts 5th Grade, where he continues to improve as a top order batsman and now also as an opening bowler. It is hoped that Andrew may become the first “playing” member of St Ives to wear the “Baggy Green Cap”. Only time will tell.

During this time, there were also more changes in the Association’s playing conditions.

In 1996/97 the Association introduced an experimental 12th man rule which was adopted as law the following season. The rule/law allowed a 12th man to be bracketed with a player from the starting line-up and play in that player’s place on the second day of a two day match. However the designated 12th man was limited to doing only what the other nominated player had not done ie; only one of the two could either bat or bowl in the same innings. Once a second innings commenced on day two, the 12th man could then both bat and bowl in that innings. The idea was to provide Clubs with a mechanism to ensure eleven players were on the field each week and assist in retention of part-timers in the hope that they will convert to full-timers in the future.

In the 1996/97 season, the Ku-Ring-Gai Council also constructed a second net complex at Hassell Park, the first upgrade for 20 years.The three new nets made a welcome addition to the training facilities available to both St Ives Senior and Junior Clubs. They are also recognised as the best cricket nets on the North Shore.

Also in 1996/97, as a follow on from Australian Cricket Board guidelines responding to injuries in young bowlers from over exercise, the Association introduced limitations on the number of overs that juniors could bowl in a spell, innings and day in all forms of cricket. This meant that juniors who bowled in the morning had to deduct those overs from their daily allocation when playing senior cricket that afternoon. The result has been a re-emergence of the all rounder in senior teams and a greater participation from all players.

In 1997/98, the present Club Secretary, Martin Grosvenor was also elected onto the Association’s Executive body as Assistant Junior Representative Secretary.

This era also provided the Club with one of it’s most exciting finals, although St Ives ended the vanquished on the day. The 1996/97 “cellar dwellers”, resurrected in D 2 Grade secured a place in the finals against Beecroft, after comprehensively winning the Minor Premiership.

St Ives won the toss and batted first. After a good start, they appeared comfortable at 4/113, only to collapse to be out for 137 [Tony Cox 47]. They then knuckled down to the task at hand and had Beecroft 6/72 at stumps. Beecroft were dismissed early on the second day for 96 [Tony Cox 3/16 off 20 overs], giving St Ives the first innings win and surely the title.

However, in an effort to play out the day, St Ives were dismissed in their 2nd innings for 92, leaving Beecroft 134 runs to win off 34 overs. The chase was on and at 4/110 off 28 overs Beecroft looked invincible but the pressure was telling. They lost their 5th wicket for 113, 6th for 122, 7th at 126 and 8th at 130 [Richard ShunWah 3/26, Craig Fretwell 3/48] leaving them with 4 runs to win with only one over remaining in the days play and ‘bunnies’ at bat.

The crowd at this stage had swelled to over 100. The air was electric, with each run scored or wicket taken receiving roars of approval from club supporters. It came down to the last over, with the field spread evenly between restricting the single and protecting the boundary. The first ball of the final over was delivered at middle stump, the Beecroft batsman closed his eyes and swung, it connected and went straight over the bowlers head for the four that denied St Ives the trophy, five balls from victory.

Surely a cliff-hanger like this would not be seen again for some time. However, someone forgot to tell this to the 1997/8 C Graders, who pulled off the impossible in their semi-final against Asquith Rugby League to reach the finals.

Again, St Ives, the higher placed team only had to draw the match to secure its finals berth. They bowled out ARL for a meagre 122, thanks mainly to the leg spin of Roger Hokin who took 3/24 off 14 overs. However, by lunch on the second day St Ives were dismissed for 109 and out of contention.

ARL had 88 overs left to bat to make the finals. The ‘saints’ again led by Roger Hokin, 3/38 off 17.2 overs, consistently took wickets at even intervals and eventually bowled out ARL for 109 in 71 overs. With 3 overs lost for the change of innings, that left the C Grade with 123 runs to get off 14 overs or 8.8 runs per over on the slow Bannockburn outfield.

With over 50 loyal St Ives supporters hoping for the impossible, the task was left to openers Tim Patterson [a veteran returning from retirement with successes in D 2 Grade] and Chris Stott [ a previous season U16 junior in his first senior season]. The pair began the chase in dashing style, scoring 53 off the first 3 overs to the hoots and hollers of St Ives supporters. As the run rate diminished to less than a run a ball the pressure began to tell on ARL.

In the end it took just 12 overs for Tim Patterson 62* and Chris Stott 59* to score the winning runs and book the C Grade top spot in the finals. To cap off this heroic performance, the 123* run partnership was also a Club first wicket record for C Grade.

These two great performances were well rewarded. The 1996/97 D Reserve Grade runners-up went on to win the 1997/98 title with virtually the same squad.

Playing for the first time in that grade on turf at Turramurra Oval against Berowra, they were sent in to bat on a wet wicket. Things looked bad when they collapsed to be 3/6 and than 5/51 but a grade record partnership of 116 between Ian Thompson [74] and Jeff “Big Bird” Glanvill [49], with support from Robert Coleman who scored a quick-fire 43 saw a dramatic turn around in the match. The side was eventually dismissed for a very healthy 228 runs with 5 overs left in the first days play.

Berowra were all out just after lunch on the second day for a paltry 69 and asked to follow on. Their second innings fared little better, being dismissed for 150 and giving St Ives the title by an innings and 9 runs. The “cellar dwellers” from two years ago were now proud and deserved premiers.

The 1997/98 C Grade also made the most of their finals appearance against Kenthurst at Storey Park. In their previous meeting the Kenthurst team had scored the highest ever recorded innings against the St Ives Club of 456 and they also boasted the fastest bowlers in the C Grade. Undeterred, St Ives sent Kenthurst in to bat and after a steady start, consistently took wickets. Semi hero Roger Hokin led the charge again taking 3/56 including Kenthurst’s two star batsmen and was well supported by Adrian Hall who destroyed the middle order, taking 3/18 to bowl Kenthurst out for 217. St Ives replied with consistent scoring, led by Christopher Stott who scored a classic 75 and Angus Barron who clubbed a quick 61 to an innings total of 270, a 53 run lead.

Kenthurst began the second innings, disastrously. Veteran opening bowler, Paul Christie took a wicket with the first delivery of the innings and went on to break Kenthurst’s resolve with three more early wickets to end up with 4/38. Roger Hokin then cleaned up the tail with another 3/24, his 4th straight 3 wicket haul in the semi and final series. Roger’s play-off tally was 12/ 133 @ 11.08. Kenthurst were dismissed for 145, leaving St Ives 92 runs for victory, which they achieved for the loss of 3 wickets.

It was a tremendous effort, as by the second day they were literally “the walking wounded”. Wicketkeeper David Drake had succumbed to a knee injury and Tony Cox, carrying a knee injury into the final injured his quadriceps. Both needed runners to bat. What’s worse was that Mark Newell, in acting as a runner also turned his ankle and had to leave the field injured. The situation provided one of the lighter moments of the match, when Club President and Captain, Robert Abdullah decided to take on the role of wicketkeeper himself. Bob proved to be an adequate “back-stop” and in fact, took a catch and a stumping in the second innings to the affectionate jibes from the St Ives supporters.

On an administrative level, 1997/98 saw the Club first publish it’s internet site [http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/stivescricket]. The home page has developed into a major information source for members and the world, with over 500 ‘hits’ in the first six months of operation. The pages contain information about the senior and junior clubs, competition draws, competition tables, match results, health and safety in sport information, plus much more.

1997/98 also saw the introduction of a junior development team into the seniors. The team consisted of Junior Club players from under 14’s and 15’s, supervised by a couple of senior mentors and competed in the D Grade. The team finished 5th, just missing the semis.

However, the concept was a overwhelming success with over 25 juniors playing in Seniors. In fact, it was so successful that the team even fielded juniors from rival clubs who felt more secure playing with St Ives than their own senior clubs. The Club already has expressions of interest from 40 current juniors, who wish to emulate the feats of the 1997/8 intake in 1998/99, which should see the Club meet it’s goal of entering a team in every grade of competition.

It also unearthed some exciting young talent. Andrew Smith and Roger Hokin aside, who are highlighted elsewhere, were but two of many players who it is hoped go on to long and fulfilling careers including;
Adrian Bradshaw: Number 3 batsman scoring 183 runs and representing the Association in under 15’s topped the batting with 218 runs at 43.6.
Matthew Delahunty: Fast bowler and middle order bat who represented the Association in JCU competition at under 15 level in 1997/8.
Marcus Felsman: Talented wicket keeper batsman who represented the Association in JCU competition at under 14 level in 1997/8, making the finals.
Tim Hopkins: Opening batsman and bowler who represented the Association in JCU in under 15’s 1997/8 and the 16’s Green Shield squad 1998/9.
Brandon Liu: Top order batsman and swing bowler who scored 272 runs at 20 in D Grade and also represented the Association in under 15’s.
Salman Shaukat: All rounder and Association Junior Cricketer of the Year 1996/97 who scored 155 runs at 26.
Shiraz Shaukat: All rounder twin of Salman. Scored 135 runs at 23 in D Grade.
Peter Stott: All rounder and dynamic fielder who represented the Association in JCU under 14’s which were 1997/8 finalists. Wahroonga junior.
Andrew Tunny: Talented wicket keeper opening batsman. Scored 138 at 23 in D Grade and 144 at 24 in under 15 Association representative games. Inaugural 1997/98 Most Promising Junior recipient who has been selected in Northern Districts 5th Grade train on for 1998/99.
Ben Wolrige: West Pennant Hills junior who played in the Association’s JCU under 14 team averaging 50. Also averaged 58 in D Grade.

It is also pertinent to note that the introduction of these players into senior grades also attracted older brothers who were placed in other grades commensurate with their abilities. History will dictate whether these players and others to come will reach or exceed the performances of the Club’s greats highlighted in this publication.

The conclusion of “The Present” ends just one more chapter in the history of one of the great institutions of the HK&HDCA, St Ives Cricket Club. There are still many existing careers to be finalised, new careers to be begun, characters to be unearthed, tales to be told, championships beckoning to be won and records to be broken.

However, the legacy that the “History and Records of the St Ives Cricket Club” leaves behind is the proud tradition, that the future members of our Club can read and maybe provide them with the inspiration to play this great game of ours with dignity and pride in a great Club.

The End – For Now.