04 – Arthur Purvis: (Marrickville 1971)
Arthur Purvis loved playing grade cricket. So much so that he played it for 33 successive years give or take a few matches interrupted by his Army service in World War II. And in all that time he played as a right hand opening batsman and occasional right arm off-spinner.
Arthur Stuart Purvis was born at Marrickville on 6 January 1923. As a cricketer, he was a product of the Saturday Morning Coaching Classes conducted by Marrickville District Cricket Club in the 1930’s and 40’s. He played in the New South Wales Junior Cricket Union’s team in the Shires competition and in Marrickville’s Poidevin Gray team. He recalled as a 16 year old playing in a P-G match at Hurstville in 1938-39, the St George team comprised seven 1st graders including future Australian Test stars Arthur Morris and Ray Lindwall who both scored centuries before Lindwall cleaned them up with the ball.
After a few seasons in the Shires he joined Marrickville in 1944-45 as a 22 year old and played in their 4th Grade team scoring 133 runs with a top score of 54 not out. Within two years Arthur was a regular in the Marrickville 3rd Grade team having his best season in 1946-47 when he scored 401 runs with an unconquered 87 his best score.
With the merger of Marrickville and Petersham, Arthur played with the new Petersham-Marrickville club and in its second year recorded what was to be his highest career score when he hit 156 not out against Cumberland at Lidcombe Oval in 3rd Grade. And while he was out for a duck the very next game he was promoted to 2nd Grade shortly after. Another century (109) followed three seasons later in 3s and after a number of productive summers in 2nd Grade he made his 1st Grade debut in 1961-62.
While Arthur only had a handful of games in the First XI that season, he ended the summer a member of a 1st Grade premiership team when Petersham-Marrickville, under the astute captaincy of Clive Johnston, won the Grand Final. The cap presented to him as a member of the premiership squad remained one of his most treasured possessions.
Arthur led the 3rd Grade team to premiership honours in 1968-69 which was a most amazing turnaround as the side had finished last the previous year. While there were no outstanding individual performances that season the fielding of the side was of the highest standard which led to four outright wins. The team’s win also made a huge contribution to Petersham-Marrickville’s win in the coveted Club Championship, the second and last achieved by the club.
An experienced campaigner, Arthur joined the Petersham-Marrickville management committee in 1958 and served the club for five years before taking a break and re-joining in 1972 for another six years. His leadership qualities were in keen demand and in 1968 he took on the captaincy of 3rd Grade for four seasons before being appointed captain of the 4s for the final six years of his career. In 1971 he received the club’s highest honour when he was made a Life Member along with Noel Hughes, another Petersham-Marrickville legend.
At the end of the 1976-77 season and at 54 years of age, Arthur hung up his cricket boots. He finished his Marrickville career with 9,719 runs in Grade cricket and another 130 in Shires. He also took 50 wickets. He scored 5,363 runs in 3rd Grade, 2,195 in 4th Grade and 2,149 in 2nds. On five occasions he scored a century.
To enjoy his retirement Arthur moved to Forster where he lived for a number of years prior to his death on 18 May 2012.