A Brush with Fame: Helping the “The Don” get started
One of Randwick Petersham’s claims to fame in terms of the life and times of Sir Donald Bradman was that his first 1st Grade century was scored at Petersham Oval. The date was 27 November 1926 and “The Don” rattled up 110 before being run out in a St George total of 6-389 declared. Another batsman by the name of C D Targett hit 150 not out.
The Petersham attack was quite a good one that day with NSW opening bowler Sam Everett supported by Sidney King who went on to play rugby union for Australia alongside Cyril Towers, the father of Randwick 1st Grade fast bowler Tim Towers. Also part of the attack was Petersham’s greatest cricketer Tommy Andrews who played 16 Test matches and 151 first-class games. Tommy got “carted taking 0-95 off just 8 overs in the innings with his right-arm leg-breaks.
And while this historic Bradman batting feat is recorded on a commemorative plaque at Petersham Oval, this was not the only occasion the club through its founding clubs, hosted Australia’s greatest batsman.
Almost five years earlier the 13 years old Donald was a member of a Bowral team which ventured to Marrickville Oval for a “friendly” match against a Marrickville XI which was playing its first season in the 1st Grade competition. The date was 26 January 1922—Australia Day. Don was listed no. 12 in the Bowral XII but did not bat in the first innings. There is every possibility that he was the team scorer.
However, after Marrickville had bowled out Bowral for just 15, the home team knocked up 153. This allowed Bowral to bat again providing young Donald the opportunity to go in at the fall of the sixth wicket. At the end of play the score sheet showed the visitors 7 wickets for 148 with “DG Bradman not out 22.”
It may therefore be argued that not only was Randwick Petersham, through the Petersham club linked to Don Bradman’s first Sydney 1st Grade century but through the Marrickville club it also played host to his first game of cricket in Sydney!
Randwick Petersham Historian
2 October 2015
The commencement of the 2021-22 cricket season brought with it a unique milestone for the Randwick Petersham Cricket Club. While it had been in existence for only 20 years, it was cause for celebration in regard to two of its founding clubs. It was this season, 100 years ago, that both the Randwick District Cricket Club and the Marrickville District Cricket Club, stepped out for the first time in Sydney 1st Grade cricket.
Randwick Petersham was established in 2001 as a result of the merger of the Randwick and Petersham-Marrickville cricket clubs. Randwick was founded in 1900 while Petersham-Marrickville was created in 1951 following a merger between the Petersham and Marrickville clubs. The old Petersham club was founded in 1899 with Marrickville coming along in 1910. And although Petersham was granted 1st Grade status in 1907, it was a wait of 14 years before Randwick and Marrickville would gain entry to that competition.
All three clubs began their existence in the New South Wales Cricket Associations’ 2nd Grade competition. Petersham virtually forced its way into 1st Grade by winning the 2nd Grade competition in 1905-06 and being narrowly defeated the following summer. Randwick and Marrickville, on the other hand, won their place in the competition after some years of hard-fought negotiation with the Association, particularly by the Randwick Hon Secretary Henry Parker.
The First World War caused great disruption to Sydney Grade Cricket and the formal competition was suspended between 1915-16 and 1919-20. But shortly after resuming with 12 1st Grade clubs, the Association took the decision to expand the competition to 16 from the commencement of the 1921-22 season. That decision saw the entry of the Randwick, Marrickville, St George and Mosman clubs into 1st Grade.
On a bright sunny day on Saturday 1 October 1921, the first day of the Labour Day long weekend, the new clubs took the field among much fanfare and enthusiasm. And to the delight of their members, supporters and Sydney cricket followers generally, all four won their matches and won them well.
Under the captaincy of Frank Merchant, Randwick beat Manly at Randwick Oval after scoring 273 while Marrickville rattled up 342 at Wentworth Park to defeat Glebe with Jack Scott making 101 in 76 minutes—the only century of the weekend. Mosman’s 308 was far too many for Sydney at Rushcutters Bay and St George defended 178 at Hurstville Oval in accounting for Central Cumberland.
And while the Petersham Club could not have imagined that 100 years later it would have reason to celebrate, albeit in the combined form of Randwick Petersham, there was also jubilation in their ranks that day, playing University at Sydney Cricket Ground. Tailenders, Brian Long and Sam Everett, put on 131 for the 10th wicket—an Association record which remained intact until overtaken in 2011-12—90 years later.
On the 100 years anniversary of their introduction to 1st Grade, the ghosts of Randwick and Marrickville, through the Randwick Petersham entity, clashed with debut partner Mosman in the first match of the 2021-22 season last weekend at Allan Border Oval. It was an historic moment for both clubs which continue to provide a quality level of competitive cricket as they had done for a century before.
Randwick Petersham Historian
9 November 2021