Club History

The History of The Adelaide University Cricket Club

Origins to 1930

c 1875 match

The History of the Adelaide University Cricket Club

Club Origins 1881 - 1907

From 1881 onwards cricket matches were played by Adelaide University teams chosen from academics, students and

graduates. They played games against established local teams and occasionally journeyed to the country. Annual match were played against a combined St Peters and Prince Alfred Colleges team. In 1897 William Magarey an Adelaide University law graduate and good cricketer proposed that a University side should be included in the SACA Competition. This was rejected by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) at that time because player qualification for teams was based primarily on residing within parliamentary electoral boundaries.

 

Following the initial rejection by the SACA the impetus for a University team waned for many years. Most students who had an interest in cricket had to play for suburban teams or if talented with an Electorate Club. In 1905 the Electorate system was replaced by a District Cricket Competition and again there was a move to have Adelaide University enter a team in the best competition. The Club was finally admitted to the SACA A Grade District competition in the 1908/09 season.

Foundation Years 1908 - 1920 & The Great War

The University ground was not ready for matches until the 1909/10 season so A Grade games had to be played at other ovals in the first season.

 

Uni  Oval 1910

By July 1910 the University Oval and Pavilion were completed, made possible by donations of 100 pounds each from 13 eminent University of Adelaide benefactors. The Club was also able to enter a team in the SACA B Grade competition in the 1909/10 season and that team had the privilege of playing the first 

game on the new oval) on 9th October 1909.


University Oval c1910 





The Club's first Captain was Charles Dolling, who as a student at PAC had made 311 in an intercollegiate match and had already represented South Australia in 1905. The AUCC finished 5th on the premiership table. Some of the most notable players in the formative years were State players Dolling,  Don and Ken Steele, "Johnny" Moyes, "Nip" Pellew,  Gordon Campbell, Charles Drew and Hurtle Willsmore. In the last Sheffield Shield game before the outbreak of World War I, there were five AUCC representatives.

 

An important factor driving the formation of the AUCC had been the desire to play in competitions against Melbourne and Sydney Universities. The AUCC's first Inter-Varsity match was played against Sydney in December 1910. 


1910  Inter Varsity  Named  9cf 2f 9029 2b 92 8c 4e 7 3bada 6 9c 5 7ce 26

AUCC 1910 Inter-Varsity Team 


The Great War (1914 - 1918)

The outbreak of War resulted in a cessation of the formal SACA premiership competition for five seasons. In the period 1908/9 to 1915/16 the Club had approximately 150 players represent the Club in A or B Grade. Of those, 112 current or former players put their studies, professional and sporting ambitions on hold to enlist. Thirteen of our men paid the ultimate sacrifice.

 

Before the War, the A Grade team was very talented but was unable to secure a premiership. It then would have to start over again after the First World War (1914 - 1918) to rebuild the team. When the SACA competition resumed in the 1919/20 Season, the Adelaide University Club was lead by Dr Donald McDonald Steele one of the handful of pre-War players to return to the Club.  The team now had a completely different mix of players and culture comprising of students who had put their studies on hold to enlist, returned service men who gained entry to Adelaide University under repatriation schemes and an influx of younger players out of the high schools and colleges. 

1920 to 1930 - The First Premiership

Donald McDonald Steele led the A-Grade team and in 1919/20 the team finish 4th in the 8 team competition, however there were no finals played.  Steele who had already represented the State before the War along with Gilbert Jose, Lance Pellew and Garton Hone all gained First Class Selection.


Prest  Pellew  Jose

In Steele's final season with the Club1920/21 his team performed well and finished 2nd on the premiership table, however still no final series were played. Steele captained South Australia on 3 occasions in 1920/21. During the season Gilbert Jose and Gordon Prest put on a third wicket partnership of 380 runs against West Torrens which still stands as a Club and SACA record for any wicket. Jose made 807 runs at an average of 115.28 to take out the SACA aggregate trophy.


Over the next five season's captains were Gilbert Jose, Lance Pellew and Gordon Prest, all exceptional cricketers with Jose and Pellew representing South Australia along with Harry Fisher, Patrick Ohlstrom and Lance Gun. The 1921/22 season was mediocre with the team struggling to bowl out the opposition and only Lance Pellew excelling with the bat. The season ended with the AUCC finishing in 7th position.


In the 1922/23 season the bowling stocks were raised with the emergence of Harry Fisher who had represented the State the previous year and the team finished in 6th position. The following season 1923/24 a Colts team and Kensington were added to make it a ten team competition. The Club finished 5th and missed out on the semi-finals after being 2nd earlier in the season.  The highlight of the season was law student and leg spinner Patrick "Paddy" Ohlstrom winning the SACA bowling aggregate with 47 wickets at 17.36. 


The 1924/25 season saw Paddy Ohlstrom again have an outstanding season with 47 wickets at an average of 21 (2nd in SACA Aggregate). At the end of the minor round the team was fourth on the premiership table and was to meet Glenelg in the semi-final. In a tense match University defeated Glenelg with 1 wicket in hand. In the other semi-final Sturt (minor premiers) were defeated by Kensington. In the grand-final against Kensington the match was in the balance at the end of the first Saturday, however University then chased down the runs. Sturt having finished minor premiers then had the right to play University in a "Challenge Final" for the premiership.  The match was abandoned on the first Saturday due to bad weather and played as a one day match on the 11th April with the game to carry over to the Monday if needed.

University suffered a major blow before the start of the game when top batsman Lance Gun was unable to play because of an injured wrist. Sturt won the toss on a perfect day and batted on a good wicket taking the advantage making 359 runs. When University batted after a good start collapsed and were all out for 173. 


Premiership Success


In 1925-26 Gordon Prest was elected for his third season as captain, however on completion of his medical degree and an appointment to the Adelaide Hospital and had to hand over the captaincy to Douglas McKay for the second half of the season.  In the December 1925 triangular Intervarsity contest held in Melbourne, Prest led the AUCC to victory against Sydney in the final for Adelaide to become the premier University Cricket side in the country.

At the end of the minor round the AUCC team was on top of the premiership table by a single point from last season's premiers Sturt.  Semi final wins to University and Sturt saw the two teams face off in a rematch of the previous season's final. After a losing the match, University as minor premiers had the right of Challenge and in a tight contest that carried over onto the afternoons of Monday and Tuesday, University were ultimately successful.


1926 Advertiser Reports “University’s first A Grade Premiership”

The report on Wednesday announced the victory: “For the first time in their history, University have won the cricket premiership of South Australia. When play ceased on Monday evening University required 31 runs to win and they had three wickets in hand… every run was cheered, and four byes from Scott left University with 20 runs to get. Greatly to the disgust of Selth, he failed to take another ball, and two more byes were run. The crowd were now worked up to a great pitch of excitement. Then, amid uproar like that at a college match, there was a crack to the square leg boundary by Bayly and the match was won by three wickets. A crowd of enthusiastic University supporters invaded the field and immediately the runs were scored and seized Wagner and bore him off in triumph. Bayly evaded his pursuers. Sturt players freely offered their felicitations to the victors and in the University dressing rooms, the Sturt captain (V. Richardson) congratulated the premiers on their fine win”.

1925  Premiership team

Adelaide University CC Premiership Team 1925-26

The 1926/27 season started with hopes of continued success with the premiership team largely intact. After being well placed equal second on the premiership table at the end of January University did not have another victory for the rest of the season and finished 7th in the 10-team competition.

Medical student Doug McKay led the side again in the 1927/28 season with most of the Club's experienced players available again. At the end of the season the AUCC just missed out on playing finals finishing 5th. Opening bowler and former premiership player Franz Wagner was lost to the Club in the second half of the season after taking up the 1928 Rhodes Scholarship. He had beaten McKay for the award, one of the three other applicants.

Doug McKay who had captained University to its first premiership three seasons earlier had now completed his medical degree at the end of 1927 and was now playing for Adelaide in 1928/29. Roy Pridmore took over the captaincy with a side much the same as last season.  However, after a very poor season, coming to the last match of the minor round against bottom side Glenelg there was a possibility that University if defeated could collect the wooden spoon. University just managing to scrape over the line for their second win of the season and finished 7th on the premiership table.

The 1929/30 season was only notable for the fact that two AUCC players were to receive the Rhodes Scholarship. It was highly unusual for two awards to be given in the one year. Brian Hone and Lewis Wilcher were joint South Australian winners. Adelaide University failed to win a match during the minor round and finished bottom. 



The 1930s

The A Grade team had finished bottom in the 1929/30 season and the backdrop for the Adelaide University Cricket Club for the next decade was the deepest economic depression of the 20th century followed in 1939 by the outbreak of World War 2.

Despite the challenges, the Adelaide University continued to prosper and grow in size during the 1930's with continued support from South Australian benefactors including the Barr-Smith, Bonython and Waite families. Of significance to the AUCC was the building of the River Torrens footbridge in 1937 which greatly improved access from the campus to University Oval. 

The turnover of students as they finished their studies, player's unavailability during exams and university vacations was a constant feature and no less a factor in the 1930s and made it difficult to perform consistently from season to season. During the 1930's the A Grade team participated in finals on two occasions and finished in 5th position on once. The other seasons saw the team at the wrong end of the ten team competition with the Club finishing bottom on two occasions.  

Intervarsity contests were held every year against Melbourne and for the first time a team from a University of Western Australia team ventured across the Nullarbor Plains only to lose to Adelaide. Of the eleven contests against Melbourne University Adelaide won twice at University Oval and in Melbourne.

1930/31

Some of the fine players and personalities at the Club during the early 1930/31 include all-rounder Chris Sangster who was Captain in 1930/31 (449 runs at 40.81) while Sturt and State player Fred Gould was enlisted as coach.


Picture 1Talented young batsman Dick Whitington, a law student joined the Club from Scotch College early in 1931 and performed well enough to gain State selection during his years with University. After graduation he became a regular State player and renowned cricket journalist and author. 


Of the batsmen of note were Walter Baudinet Leonard Pellew, Leonard Ewens who contributed regularly with the bat. The bowling attack lacked consistency with Gordon Hughes performing best and newcomer Raymond Smith, a leg-spinner from King's College, showing promise performing best. 


During the 1930/31 season Sangster who had played previously for the State was captain of the interstate Colts' team and Len Pellew was also in the team that played against Victoria Colts on Adelaide Oval. The A Grade team finished 9th.


1931/32

The season proved to be a further disappointing repetition of the previous one, although there were some positives later in the season when two outstanding new players started their University courses.

Picture 2

Chris Sangster was again Captain and while the batting depth was reasonable, the Club was in desperate need of bowlers and when Malcolm Thompson and John "Jack" Davey, both from Scotch College, arrived later in the season they showed enough promise to suggest they may provide the answer in future seasons, however the team still only just narrowly avoided the wooden spoon finishing in 9th place again.

Dick Whitington (425 runs at 42.5), the ever improving Len Pellew (37.83 runs at 37.83) and handy wicketkeeper Bill Hann (286 runs at 31.77) were the only batsmen of note. Former East Torrens player Frank Thompson (no relation to Malcolm) headed the bowling aggregate (22 wickets at 24.18).  Leg-spinner Raymond Smith (17 wickets at 27.47) continued to show potential improving on last season's performance.


1932/33

Final year medical student Len Pellew took over the captaincy from Dr Chris Sangster who had played for the Club since the 1925/26 season. Newspaper reports suggested that University would be the big improvers. The Club had also appointed former University and State batsman, Lance Gun as coach and this added to the team's prospects


Opening bowler Frank Thompson returned to East Torrens leaving the new ball in the hands of the two youngsters Malcolm Thompson and Jack Davey. They both performed very well in the first half of the season and were the only positives as it was now the batsmen that were not performing. Unfortunately in the second half of the season the team did not show any improvement and for the third season running University finished second to bottom on the premiership table.


Looking back over the season, the AUCC captain Len Pellew was the only batsman of note (461 runs at 32.92) with no other player scoring over 200 runs. Of the bowlers, Malcolm Thompson (34 wickets at 16.47) and Jack Davey (30 wickets at 17.33) were outstanding. They were ably supported by reliable fast bowler of seven seasons Gordon Hughes (19 wickets at 22).


1933/34

Dick Whitington was the new captain and by the Christmas break University was square on the ledger with two wins, two losses and the draw. Early in the season Thompson and Davey were producing some match winning efforts.


Some good wins had the AUCC in third place on the premiership table coming to the last minor round game. The last two positions in the top four were still in the balance however University lost to Adelaide and finished fifth. University had suffered a blow on the first day of this critical match against Adelaide when opening bowler Malcolm Thompson was unavailable to play because of illness. Any hope of a win was dashed when Davey and Whitington were selected to play for South Australia against Western Australia and would now be missing for the second Saturday.


Only Dick Whitington (501 runs at 38.53) had any consistency while John Sangster (261 runs at 37.28) and talented wicketkeeper John Ray (287 runs at 26.09) did well at times with the bat. The bowling statistics were quite remarkable in the fact that opening bowlers Jack Davey and Malcolm Thompson took 86 of the 121 wickets that fell over the season. Davey won the SACA bowling aggregate trophy with 51 wickets at 12.49. His performances had elevated him into the State team late in the season and remarkably he was chosen to tour New Zealand with an Australian 2nd X1 team. Unfortunately the tour was called off. Thompson finished with 35 wickets at 15.40 and was being hailed as a future State player also.


1934/35

There was the same leadership for the Club and there were no newcomers in the A Grade line-up for the first match. University now fielded four teams in season 1934/35. In addition to the B Grade team they had a C and D Grade teams in the SACA Students' grade 1st and 2nd division competition which had been formed in 1932. After the disappointment of not making the finals last season, the new season was a chance for redemption. With the a nucleus of State players in Whitington and Davey together with Thompson, who had now been added to the State Squad, there were high expectations.


With Davey and Thompson taking 30 wickets between them in the first two matches, University were clear in top position on the premiership table.

Picture 3Wins in the first two matches of the New Year had the A grade team in a strong position to play finals. An outright win against Port Adelaide in the last minor round match clinched it and University would finish in 2nd place on the premiership table and would play finals for the first time since the 1925/26 season. 

In the semi-final, played over three weekends, in a repeat of last season's misfortune, illness and injury played a part in University's demise at a critical time in the season. Dick Whitington was unavailable for the semi-final after suffering a reoccurrence of an illness and Jack Davey split the webbing in his hand early in the match. The University side was totally outclassed with West Torrens winning easily. 


A review of the 1934/35 batting and bowling statistics again demonstrated the imbalance in the A Grade side. Medical student John Sangster (394 runs at 30.3) headed the aggregate while John Ray (331 runs at 22.06) the only other batsman to score over 300 runs State player while Dick Whitington had a difficult season through illness and amassed only 98 runs for the season. Once again the two emerging fast bowlers in Davey and Thompson had really carried the side throughout the season.  Davey with 42 wickets at 15.38 was one short of taking out the SACA bowling aggregate trophy for the second year running. Thompson was again impressive with 32 wickets at 15.28.


1935/36

Dick Whitington was elected captain for the third year and had now recovered from an illness that had limited his appearances last season but the side would miss fast bowler Malcolm Thompson who had finished his studies and would play for the Sturt club. At the Christmas break University were only ahead of Prospect and Glenelg on the premiership table.


After a loss on resumption of A Grade matches in the New Year University would have to face a strong Kensington side that was now captained by Don Bradman who had been lured to South Australia at the start of the 1935/36 season. His performances at district level were of great interest and attracted spectator's numbers rarely ever seen before. He contributed 80 of Kensington's score of 282 while the students could only manage 151 in return. In the last match of the minor round University lost to the bottom side Prospect resulting in the Club finishing bottom for only the third time in the Club's history. 


The batting performances for the season were obviously poor with no player averaging over 30 runs however three batsmen John Ray, Dick Whitington and John Sangster did scored more than 400 runs. Jack Davey had to carry the attack, bowling a mammoth 296 overs. Again he was high on the SACA aggregate list with 46 wickets


The disappointing end to the 1935/36 season was soon put in perspective when tragic news was received that the Club's former great young fast bowler of the previous three seasons Malcolm Thompson had been killed in a car accident  at the age of 22. The sad irony was that in the few matches he had played he still had won the SACA bowling averages for the season with 23 wickets at 11.82 for Sturt.


During the winter of 1936 another great loss was felt by the Club when Dr Charlie Dolling the first captain of the AUCC (1908/09 - 1911/12) passed away suddenly aged only 49. 


1936/37

After completing his law degree the Club would lose Dick Whitington its skipper of three seasons. He would now join Sturt and play the best cricket of his career both at district and State level. Among those joining the Club was Arts student Gordon Morrison, a school teacher and experienced all-rounder who had started his A Grade career with Port Adelaide almost a decade earlier.  Adelaide High School captain Geoff Page and Eric Lonergan an established A Grade batsman who had played for Adelaide and Colts would also prove excellent additions.


Jack Davey was the new captain and Lance Gun was coaching the Club for his fifth season. This season the AUCC would only field three teams; the A and B Grade and now only one team in Students grade. By the Christmas break University were starting to find form and were in a reasonable position after having wins against Kensington (without Bradman) and a fortunate win against the top side East Torrens when they caught them on a wet wicket the second week.


On the bowling front there was a lot more support for Davey with Morrison proving the best acquisition for several seasons. University were on equal points for the fourth place on the premiership table.


AUCC's first match in the New Year was against the Colts team at University Oval with the Blacks securing an outright win to elevate them into third position in the premiership race. Another win against Adelaide made a certainty of University participating in the finals again, a big improvement from last season's wooden spoon. The last minor round game against second placed West Torrens gave University a chance to secure a home final. This was made harder with the absence of Jack Davey who was unable to play because of a severe bout of rheumatism. West Torrens won easily, only three wickets down but University were still secure in fourth place.


The following week for the semi-final against Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval Davey again was too ill to play which was reminiscent of 1933/34 and 1934/35 where illness and injury robbed University of having their best players on the field at the end of the season when finals were on the line. Port batting first scored 263 and University were dismissed for 178 and therefore University finished the season in fourth place.


The batting statistics for the 1936/37 season were almost at record lows with an average of only 15.3 runs per wicket lost so it was quite remarkable that the team finished in fourth position. Eric Lonergan with 279 runs at 21.46 was the best batsman with John Stokes the only other batsman to score over 200 runs for the season. The bowling was again the strength of the team and this season Davey (23 wickets at 15.47) was well supported by Morrison (25 wickets at 20.08). Davey who was troubled by his rheumatic condition late in the season only bowled half the number of overs from the previous season.


1937/38

At the start of the 1937/8 Lance Gun ended his long association with the Club first as a player then later as Coach. The first match of the Season Davey and Sangster were unavailable. Jack Davey was quite seriously indisposed with his ongoing rheumatoid condition and would not be fit enough to play until early December. James Rice would be acting captain until he recovered. Morrison and ex St Peter's College player Doug Stewart, were becoming a very handy opening bowling combination in Davey's absence. Entering into the University examination period the side loss their next two matches but in the last match before the Christmas break and the Intervarsity contest the Blacks had a good win against Port Adelaide. Lonergan scored his second century for the Club and with Davey returning for his first match of the season University had their best attack for the season in Davey, Morrison and Stewart, however  it was Keith Slade, the last bowler used who claimed a match winning 6 for 37. The AUCC were now sitting within touch of the final four with two wins, two losses and a draw.


Unfortunately the second half of the season did not go University's way with the side securing only a single victory against the Colts team. At the end of the minor round the AUCC were third to bottom. Joining the Club from PAC after Christmas was engineering student Jack Tregonning who had been the First XI cricket captain and was a talented hard-hitting  batsman and would be a good acquisition.


Eric Lonergan was the outstanding batsman with 650 at an average of 46.42 narrowly missing out on the SACA batting aggregate trophy. Newcomer to the Club Colin Gurner, also from PAC, was promoted in the second half of the season and showed promise with 175 runs at an average of 29.16. It was the batting that let the team down with no other batsman averaging above 20. Again as it had been in previous seasons it was the bowling attack that made University a competitive outfit. Amazingly Jack Davey who had missed the first four matches of the season and only bowled 88 overs, won the SACA bowling average at 10.9 runs per wicket by just qualifying with the required 20 wickets. Morrison (33 wickets at 15.12), Stewart (26 wickets at 15.26), Rice (13 wickets at 16.76) and Slade (20 wickets at 16.90) demonstrated that University had one of the best attacks in the SACA A Grade competition.


1938/39

James Rice would be the new A Grade captain. In the coming season however, it would be faced with a difficult task of replacing Jack Davey who had finished his law degree and was planning to play with Sturt. Even if he had been able to continue with the Club it became apparent that he had serious health issues which sadly resulted in an early retirement from the game.


John Ryan "Jack" Davey


Jack Davey was the best opening bowler University had seen since entering the competition in the 1908/09 season.  If not for his poor health he would probably have represented the State on more occasions. His aggregate of 220 wickets is fifth on the list of all time AUCC wicket takers however his average of 15.10 per wicket is equal lowest with left arm opening bowler Dennis Murcott (1966/67 - 1970/71 - 164 wickets).  In September 1938 he was hospitalised with an eye disorder, a complication of his chronic rheumatoid condition and would soon become totally blind. Despite the disability he was still able to become a successful barrister. He maintained an association with the AUCC by donating a trophy for the best A Grade bowler for the rest of his life.


The team included some new players including former PAC and East Torrens wicket-keeper batsman Alfred "Feddie"Catt.


A maiden century by Jack Tregonning in the early matches resulted in his selection in the State squad along with Eric Lonergan based on last years form and consistent fast bowler Gordon Morrison. Jack was then selected in the State team to play a Country XI on the new Strathalbyn Oval.


It was still a poor start to the season with several losses and a draw during the examination period, however a breakthrough win against Colts and a win in the Intervarsity against Melbourne in Adelaide gave the team some encouragement going into the Christmas break. It was encouraging that Geoff Page who had scored 104 against Kensington in early December and Jack Tregonning were in good form before Christmas and both were amongst the leading run scorers in A Grade. Consistent  Gordon Morrison was having a good season but was the only University bowler with over 10 wickets.


In the New Year, University's hopes received a severe blow when Jack Tregonning suffered an illness that required surgery and was unavailable for the rest of the season. He was also unable to defend his State senior shot-put title which he had won while still a student at PAC.  After a loss in the first game of the new year the students were now bottom of the premiership table.  A win against Colts was their only win to the end of the minor round and University narrowly avoided the wooden spoon finishing one point ahead of Colts.


In summing up the season there had been some positive signs in the batting with the emergence of Geoff (439 runs 31.35) and
 Freddie Catt had complemented his fine year behind the stumps (319 runs at 24.53). Gordon Morrison remained the standout bowler (43 wickets at 17.81) while James Rice (16 wickets and 237 runs) and Collin Gurner (261 runs and 11 wickets) were useful all-rounders.

Picture 4

University Oval Pavilion with the new "C B Sangster Clock" Added in 1938


1939/40

The season started in the shadow of events in Europe. Australia had entered World War II on 3rd September 1939, after the United Kingdom declared War on Nazi Germany. Despite the War, the SACA Committee determined that the District Competition should go ahead. James Rice was again elected captain  and Lloyd Wellington a former A Grade cricketer, SACA Committee member (with North Adelaide/Prospect) assisted with coaching.


This season a new system of awarding match points was introduced by the SACA to encourage more attacking cricket. It meant that when there was a draw there would still be six points distributed, four to the side with the best run rate and two to the slowest. The previous year they had bought in compulsory declarations on the first day of a match. Playing hours were still 2pm till 6pm. The complex new system lasted only one season.


The prospects for the season largely depended on the batting of Tregonning, Lonergan and Page who further improvement was expected. Gordon Morrison who again would be leading leading the attack again had been a very consistent wicket taker an perhaps a little unlucky not to be given an opportunity at first class level.

Gordon  MorrisonThe team list was largely the same during 1938/39 apart from Edgar Edwards who had previously played a couple of A Grade games for East Torrens  and Vincent Mansell a former Christian Brothers' College student who had played with Teachers College who made debuts in the second half of the season. Freddie Catt  was missing until December. Sadly Mansell would be killed in action during the 2nd World Wa

After missing the last half of the 1938/39 season the talented Jack Tregonning following a brilliant 108 in 166 minutes against Glenelg in the 2nd match of the season he was selected as 12th Man for South Australia against Victoria and made his debut the following Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales.

The ongoing problem of availability and performance during the exam period continued in season 1939/40 and this was exentuated with some players who were members of the Army Reserve having to attend military training camps.  By the Christmas break University had only managed a draw and four losses.

Although the batting had shown improvement with Lonergan very consistent with nearly 300 runs and Tregonning, Page, Rice and Stokes at times putting some good scores on the board. Tregonning's State duties meant that he missed the last two matches before the break.  The oposition sides however were scoring well against an attack that lacked depth. Morrison was again the only standout for University with 21 wickets in the first five games.

The Intervarsity team selected to travel to Melbourne included only four regular A Grade players and the team not surprisingly suffered an innings defeat at the hands of a strong home team.

At the halfway point of the season despite some improved batting, University were again threatening to finish at the lower end of the premiership table. In the first two matches of the new year the Blacks had wins against a strong Kensington side (but without Bradman) and the young Colts team but losses to Prospect and Sturt had University falling to the bottom of the table at the end of the regular nine match season. 
A Grade statistics at the end of the season saw Lonergan (397 runs at f 44.1), while Gordon Morrison ended second on the SACA bowling aggregate (44 wickets at 18.3).

Of great significance in late 1939 was the decision made by the SACA Committee amend the Bylaws to allow the University to include one graduate in each of the A & B Grade teams. This would have come into affect in the 1940/41 season. Also a notable development was the addition on the southern end of the pavilion including a visitors changeroom and additional seating.

University Oval Pavilion 1940

Picture 5

The SACA District Cricket Competition was suspended for the remainder of the War Years 1940/41 - 1944/45. There would be some periodic games arranged between the District clubs as well as Services matches which would help for a time reduce the worries of those with loved ones serving overseas and raise the spirits of those competing and the spectators alike. With many students exempt from serving while completing their studies, the AUCC was still active to a limited degree and the University Oval would continue to be used for some matches and made available to the Services.



1940 - 2008

1940 to 1949

[F.C.Bennett] – Cricket in the early 1940’s was played in the shadow of events in Europe and South East Asia. University entered the forties with a hard core of experienced players led by John Stokes, Geoff Page and State batsman Jack Tregoning. As Japan moved southwards into Java and New Guinea, the district competition was abandoned altogether in the 1942-43 season and was restarted in 1944. University was fortunate to gain three young talents left hander Hugh Douglas, right hander Ben Goode and fast bowler Don Beard lead by Captain Coach Chester Bennett. By 1946 University took on a more mature look with Jack Tregoning and Norwood and State footballer Peter Dalwood with his specially made tall pads and super Jumbo bat which posed a threat to the rowers and ducks on the Torrens Lake.

1959  Womens  Cricket

1950 to 1959

The Grand Final which University should have won. Uni got Sturt out for about 290 and were 0 for 100 at stumps with John Wilkin who had kept wickets all day and a virtual night watchman Geoff Gubbins doing the job. The score the next week (no Sunday Cricket in those days) was pushed up to one for 200 and University still had their star batsmen State Players Ern England and Laurie Smart to come. They didn’t make the necessary runs and tears almost come to John’s eyes as he relates the story. Both John Wilkin and Laurie Smart I know will be present at the centenary dinner and I think those players are as noteworthy as others mentioned. I believe in 1951 University also made the semifinals but then struggled until 1959-60, when they were in the semi-finals three years running. Medical student John Lill was the outstanding Varsity player in this decade. He won the A Grade aggregate for five years and represented the State on innumerable occasions. He is widely acknowledged as one of the finest players never to play test cricket. The A Grade started the 1950’s as runners up they has moved up to fourth the following season. The wooden spoon reposed at Memorial Drive on four occasions.

1960 to 1969

The beginning of the sixties saw the Adelaide University Cricket Club as a very solid and traditional establishment managed by President Mr L.J.T Pellew. The A Grade was captained by “Shorty” Rogers and contained such notables as Bob Cameron and Brian Quigley. Bob Cameron was considered the best all-rounder in the state the same year David Sincock and John Sangster represented the State. Sincock was an outstanding acquisition for University. He came to us from Sacred Heart College at Somerton and went on to play for Australia. As we left the sixties, all was calm again, the flower people were respectable middle-aged businessmen and the club was about to enter into the Birchall decade.

1970 to 1979

1970 saw four district sides, and some of the most memorable characters like The Mayor, Boz, Jaws, Legal, Nages, Young, Rorro, Whimpey, the Mechanic, Pounds of Tuna, Clem, Wozza, the Judge, Dazzling Darren, Kanga, Ph.D, P.V.C and many more. This decade saw the initiation of the Kanga Awards, The play dirty cricketer of the year, the double-wicket competition and the Port Cup. The 1970’s saw several premierships in 70-71 B Grade def. Kensington and C Grade def. Flinders. In 73-74 C Grade def. West Torrens and Uni Whites def. Prospect and in 79-80 C Grade def. Salisbury and Richard Smith lead Uni to Adelaide Turf victory. State caps were gained by Ahsley Woodcock, Peter Clements, Graham Winter and Bob O’Shannassy. Bradman Medals were worn by Rob O’Shannassy and Kevin Griffiths. A Grade Captains during the 70’s included Ashley Woodcock, Phil Scanlon, Rob Brice, Michael David and Kevin Griffiths. Special mention must go to Tom and Dulcie Palmer for their unswerving devotion to the Club over two and a half decades. Dulcie’s egg and lettuce sandwiches nourished many a player and Tom’s score sheet was forever accurate. What a decade, what a bunch of personalities, what memories, ‘really great decade that’ (thanks Richie!).

1980 to 1989

The 1980’s saw the club grow to five district and 3 turf sides. Premierships abounded for the first few years of this decade, with three of the clubs grand total of eight district flags coming home to roost. The new decade dawned with the intense and competitive schoolmaster David Jeanes sweeping his team to the C Grade premiership at Hawthorn Oval in March 1980 against Salisbury. The same year our team led by Kevin Griffiths, demolished the combined Oxford/Cambridge University XI. Intervarsity success continued with victories over Sydney and Tasmania although Melbourne still gave us a couple of hidings. The outstanding performances for the decade were by Robert O’Shannassy who took out his third Bradman Medal, Graham Winter (who played State cricket with success, including 7/63 against the powerful West Indies) and Gary Davis (who was runner-up in the Bradman Medal on a count-back). Off the field as well as on, the fun continued. Long may the Blacks prosper.


1990 to 2000

The 1990’s was an unprecedented decade of success for The Blacks with three A Grade Premierships in 1992-93, 1994-95 and in 1997-98.

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1992-93 Premiership Winning Team


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1994-95 Premiership winning team


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1997/98 SACA Premiership winning team

2007 to 2008

Season 2007/08 marked one hundred years of the AU Cricket Club, which was celebrated in great style. Over 400 people attended the event, held at the Adelaide Oval. Past players and supporters came from interstate and overseas to be part of the event. The club’s A Grade captains since WWII, most of whom were in attendance, were recognized, as were all of the club’s premiership captains. A number of speakers related tales of the club, from John Lill who played in the 1950s through to present day captain Nathan Adcock. A display of memorabilia showed the history of the club from the early 1900s to the present day. 


To be continued......

The History of the Adelaide University Cricket Club

For a more in-depth history in club origins see the following documents

Origins - 1930

1930s

Produced by tireless work of AUCC Club Legends Rob O'Shannassy & Janne Filmer 




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