1935 – 2022

In its 101 years history, Randwick Cricket Club had only five treasurers. The longest serving of those was John Hayward who looked after the club’s finances for a massive 27 years. And while his administrative career was of outstanding benefit to the club, his contribution as a cricketer was just as valuable, as he was one of the more brilliant batsmen of his time.

John Archer Hayward was born at Scone on 11 July 1935 and raised in Maitland where he was one of the Hunter Valley’s most dominant batsmen. In 1954, he toured New Zealand as vice-captain of a Northern NSW Colts team which was the first time a junior (under 18s) squad had made an international tour from any country. Five years later in 1959, he captained the Northern NSW cricket team known as the “Emus” on a tour of Malaysia and Singapore, which was undefeated in 10 matches. In 1961, Hayward was again at the helm of a world touring team when the Emus visited Canada, USA, England, Germany, Holland, Denmark and Hong Kong. John Gleeson, a “mystery spinner” who later played Test Cricket, was part of that group.

Transferred in his job to Sydney in 1962, Hayward joined Randwick Cricket Club. He was immediately ushered into the 1st Grade team where in 1962-63, he scored the first of his 4,684 runs for the club, making 18 on debut against Balmain at Coogee Oval. He was to go on and score seven centuries with a highest score of 133 against St George. He also held 60 catches. One feature of his play was a dynamic hook shot which brought him many runs and put paid to the aspirations of many opposing fast bowlers. Another was his dapper dress sense. John always looked the part on the field. Former President Bill Beath was so impressed by the immaculate cricket creams he wore, he christened him “Cream”, a nickname which stuck with him throughout his career.

In just his second season, Hayward was appointed 1st Grade captain and celebrated with a fine 108 against Northern District at Waitara Oval. In a season total of 422, he hit another century the following summer, scoring 111 in just 120 minutes with 18 fours against Petersham-Marrickville at Petersham Oval.

In 1965-66, the legendary West Indian fast bowler Wesley Hall played a season with Randwick and John stood down from the captaincy in favour of Wes although he remained his right-hand man. He scored the only century for the team that summer, hitting 103 with 15 boundaries at Marrickville Oval. The Randwick team made the semi-finals that season.

The experiences of that West Indian summer remained etched in John’s memory. He recalled that in a match against Sutherland at Coogee Oval, a ball from Wes hit batsman Gary Parker in the head.  The ball flew one bounce into the fence at deep fine leg for four leg byes.  Parker staggered to square leg with blood coming from a deep wound and screamed “I’m not afraid of you big man, get back and bowl”. He then collapsed in a heap. John also recalled that Randwick was dismissed for just 80 causing Wes to bet the Sutherland skipper Norm O’Neill, they wouldn’t score 50. They managed 63 with Wes at his fastest, taking 7-20.

John also remembered playing Cumberland in the semi-final that season, when Wes was bowled for 6 by the action-suspect left-armer, John Aitken, with a dart ball. On his way back to the pavilion Wes went “right off” in Cumberland skipper Richie Benaud’s ear along the lines “you and the other journalists reckon poor old Charlie (Griffiths) throws and you got one in your own club”.  The icing was really put on the cake in the second innings when Wes was bowled again: same bowler, same ball.

John played 11 seasons of 1st Grade with Randwick scoring 3,120 runs at the healthy average of 21.67. His best season was in 1964-65 when he scored 422 as captain. He also made 390 in 1968-69 while he made 155 in the separate Rothman’s Limited Overs competition. In recent years, the NSWCA decided that LO figures would be included in players’ statistics giving Hayward a total of 545 for that season at 38.93.

The Rothman’s LO competition matches that season were played on Sunday afternoons from 12 noon. John recalled that he wasn’t selected in the opening game against Wests at Concord Oval. There was a late pull-out however, and club Secretary Fred Snell tracked down John at Coogee Beach, giving him the instruction to get to Concord as quickly as he could as the match started in 50 minutes. After a hurried dash home for his gear and a quick drive, John entered Concord Oval as the Wests fielders were walking onto the oval. Skipper Geoff Davies spotted John and said “You’d better hurry up Cream–you’re opening”!  Another mad dash and John was quickly in the middle ready to take the first ball from Australian and Wests fast bowler, Graham Corling. Randwick won the match with John Hayward the star making 93*.

Towards the end of his career, Hayward captained the 2nd Grade side hitting 399 in 1972-73 and 457 the following summer when aged 39. Despite seemingly being like the good wine as he aged, that was his final season. He ended with 1,564 runs in 2s to go with his 1st Grade tally and complete an excellent Grade Cricket career.

John was quite the fitness fanatic and could be regularly seen running the streets of Randwick with a couple of cricketing mates in tow. He ran in the second of the famous 14 kms City to Surf fun-runs in 1972 and lined-up again in each of the following 13 years. He was also a keen squash player while he considered his role as a volunteer in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, one of the highlights of his sporting life.

Having experienced seven years as Hon Secretary of the Maitland District Cricket Association, John was not backward when Randwick was on the look-out for a new Honorary Treasurer in 1964. John was duly elected to that position and so commenced a distinguished career of cricket administration and one of the longest Office Bearer appointments in the history of Randwick. He served in the role for an amazing 27 years.

His record–long service followed two other long termers in Wally Dowd, who was Honorary Treasurer for 26 years and George Simpson, who was John’s predecessor with 16 years. John’s devotion to his treasury duties and to the Randwick club was acknowledged in 1975 when he received the club’s highest honour—Life Membership.  It was a fitting tribute to a wonderful contributor to the Randwick Cricket Club and to one of nature’s finest gentlemen.

John stepped down from the role in 1991. He was not lost to the club however, and maintained a close interest in its ongoing playing and social activities. He was a regular at the club’s annual golf day where he played with the same enthusiasm as he displayed on the cricket field.  In 1999, he was one of the foundation members of a supporters group now known as Randwick Petersham Cricket Legends Society, which is still going strong.

Over his last three years, John did not enjoy the best of health and on Saturday 30 April 2022, he passed away in a Jannali nursing home. It was an ironic co-incidence that John should “sign off” on 30th April as that was the same day he signed off the Randwick Cricket Club accounts in each of his 27 years as Hon Treasurer.

The 86 year old was survived by his wonderful wife, Sue, who was as much a familiar face as John at Coogee Oval during his playing days, looking after thirsty cricketers at afternoon tea. Sue also supplied the club with secretarial services for many years.

Lyall Gardner OAM

7 May 2022