Eleven of the University’s finest cricketers were inducted into the Melbourne University Cricket Club Hall of Fame at a gala function last Saturday night in the Ernie Cropley Pavlion. Of the 11 inductees, six were also bestowed Legend status in the Club’s first-ever function to celebrate the playing careers of club cricketers dating back more the 150 years.
The first six Melbourne University Cricket Club Legends in the Hall of Fame also represented Australia during their careers whilst playing with the Club. Roy Park (1912 -21), Keith Rigg (1925-32), Edward a’Beckett (1927-32), George Thoms (1948-55), Colin McDonald (1950-56) and Paul Sheahan (1965-70) all represented Australia at Test match level. The five other Hall of Fame inductees had outstanding careers for MUCC and Victoria and were: Bill Bailey (1920-30), Bert Hartkopf (1909-1914), Margaret Pickles (1955-2006), Geoffrey Allardice (1985-2003) and Ashley Robertson (1991-2008).
MUCC President Derek Bennet reflected on the enormous task that confronted the Hall of Fame selection committee when determining the first intake of inductees and Legends in his opening address.
“The Club’s 150 plus year history and the many players that has represented this great club has no doubt made for some interesting debate amongst the selection committee. And the announcement of our inductees tonight, will surely lead to more debate amongst guests as to the who may have been a little unlucky to miss out in this inaugural induction”, said Mr Bennett.
“But that is the nature of sport, and some in the room tonight may indeed be a little unlucky in not being inducted. But tonight will hopefully be the first of many such occasions and we can all look forward to more Hall of Fame inductions and the elevation of members to Legend status in the years ahead’, he added.
Alumni and Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland was also amongst those celebrating the Hall of Fame. In an impromptu address to the gathering, Mr Sutherland spoke of his time at MUCC and the wonderful memories that he and his former team-mates share of their successful era in the 1990s. He encouraged each of the current crop of cricketers in attendance to work hard and strive for success, and to think about the opportunities they have to play as a result of the many volunteers behind the scenes.
Other club greats in attendance included past presidents Tony Steele, Ron Steiner (who also acting in his customary role of outstanding and entertaining MC) and Kevan Carroll. Former International Cricket Council Chairman Malcolm Gray was also in attendance, as was the Club’s latest Australian representative Fawad Ahmed.
But it was the inductees in attendance that were the starts of the night, and each reflected on their own time at the club and some on their time in the national spotlight. Colin McDonald regaled the audience with his incredible triple-century in an intervarsity game against the University of Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. The fact that Sir Donald Bradman was watching the game inspired Mr McDonald to show the then Australian selector why he should be selected for national duties. McDonald dutifully peeled off a hundred before lunch. Noticing that Bradman was still in the stands after lunch, he hit another century on the way to the tea break. With Bradman still in the crowd for the final session of play, McDonald didn’t let the opportunity pass and continued to plunder the Adelaide attack to score another 100 in a session and pass 300 for the day!
Paul Sheahan also paid tribute to the friendships he made at the Club, particularly with former curator, life member and confidant Mr Ernie Cropley. Margaret Pickles also spoke about her trail-blazing days as a woman in a male-dominated sport and she congratulated the Club on their continued support of women’s cricket. Ashley Robertson also acknowledged the many former team-mates and captains that helped him develop as both a player, and a person, in his time as a MUCC player.
The six Legend inductees were:
Roy Lyndsay Park - Played 56 matches for MUCC from 1912 to 1921. Played Test cricket for Australia in 1920 and represented Victoria on 36 occasions. Park also represented Australia with distinction as a Doctor in the Australian Army Medical Corps after finishing his studies.
Keith Edward Rigg - Played 43 matches for MUCC from 1925 to 1932. He played 8 Test matches for Australia and scored a century against South Africa in 1931. Rigg also represented Victoria on 87 occasions.
Edward Lambert a’ Beckett - Played 35 matches for MUCC from 1927 to 1932. He played 4 Test Matches for Australia, 47 First Class matches for Victoria and was a member of MUCC's first Premiership side.
George Ronald Thoms - Played 70 matches for MUCC from 1948 to 1955. Played 1 Test Match for Australia and represented Victoria on 19 occasions. Post study, Thoms went on to become a surgeon and receive an Order of Australia in 1996.
Colin Campbell McDonald - Played 47 matches for MUCC from 1950 to 1956, 47 Test Matches for Australia and 192 other First Class matches. McDonald and Thoms achieved the rare feat of opening the batting for University, Victoria and Australia in the same season.
Andrew Paul Sheahan (Paul) - Played 29 matches for MUCC from 1965 to 1970, 31 Tests for Australia and 47 matches for Victoria. He also played 3 One Day Internationals for Australia and went on to become Headmaster at Melbourne Grammar.
The five other Hall of Fame inductees were:
William Henry Bailey (Bill) - Played 93 matches for MUCC from 1920 to 1930 and represented Victoria on 3 occasions. He was captain of the first premiership side in 1928/29.
Albert Ernest Victor Hartkopf (Bert) - Played 36 matches for MUCC from 1909 to 1914 and represented Victoria on 40 occasions. He studied medicine at Melbourne University and served during WWI in Perth. Subsequent to his MUCC career he played 1 Test match in 1925.
Margaret Pickles - Was the inaugural captain of the Melbourne University Women's Cricket Club. Played in all 5 winning Premierships and represented Victoria. Career spanned from 1955 to 2006.
Geoffery John Allardice - Played 239 matches for MUCC from 1985 to 2003 and represented Victoria on 14 occasions. He is the club's record holder for runs scored with over 8,000 runs. Is now the General Manager of Cricket with the International Cricket Council.
Ashley Peter Scott Robertson - Played 264 matches for MUCC from 1991 to 2008 and represented Victoria. He is the club's record holder for matches played and wickets taken with 521.
L-R: Colin McDonald, Paul Sheahan, Jarrod Leggett, Tony Steele, Dan Lowry