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BV Cricket Club 1969


Brunswick Valley Cricket - click here for more BV Cricket Highlights 
The gentlemen’s game of Cricket has long been a part of Australian history. In the local cricket club’s publication “Mullumbimby-Brunswick Cricket Club 30th Anniversary ”
(published in 1999) reference is made to articles published in the “Sydney Gazetta” as early as 1804 relating to cricket games played at the time. Also appearing in the Cricket Club’s 30th Anniversary booklet are references to the “Australian” dated February 26th, 1830 where the report appears about a game played between soldiers and Sysdney civilians.Researchers agree it is most likely that cricket was played in the Brunswick Valley before 1900 but the earliest photograph taken and match scores recorded were in February 1907. This was a game between Mullumbimby and Main Arm. It was played on an open cow paddock which most probably had a pitch made by chipping a level area, as this was the most common type of pitch found at the time. As the years passed more cricket pitches were fashioned around the district. Most games were played on paddocks with chipped pitches. Cows and cow pads had to be removed from the pitch before the game commenced. As time passed pitches changed from the simple pitched variety to ant beds covered with coir mats, cement wickets covered with canvas and also malthoid covered wickets. (Malthoid being a bitumen impregnated felt product) In later years synthetic playing surfaces proved to be very popular.Early records show that there were six teams in the local cricket competition in 1912. They were Billinudgel, Mills, Main Arm, Brunswick, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby. Interdistrict cricket was also played as early as 1913. Brunswick fielded a team in this competition and became North Coast premiers in 1928 after defeating the Mid-Richmond team.During the war years cricket games were played on Saturday afternoons with players arriving at the field, sorting themselves into two teams and commencing play.

After the war, Mullumbimby had four teams and played in the Brunswick District Cricket Association competition against Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Walker’s Meatworks, Country United (previously known as the Mullum Creek team), Main Arm, The Pocket, and Mooball. At this time teams travelled to games in the back of Pilgrim’s Cordial truck. There are reports of it becoming bogged on several occasions and having to be pushed through floodwaters after heavy rain at The Pocket. This timeframe saw a number of talented local cricketers emerge. Those recognised as greats by the local association include Tom Wright, Alby Lofts, Jack Arkinstall, Dutchy Dennis, Norm Watts and Graham Thomas. Although the local cricket club is yet to produce a test cricketer, it has a test umpire to its credit in Lou Rowan. Lou played with his brothers Len & Darcy in the Brunswick district after the war and went on to officiate in 26 tests between 1962 and 1972.

In 1951 a promising young player by the name of Barry Lomath made his debut as an 11 year old. As there was no junior cricket, Barry began fielding and “filling in” where needed in the senior team. By 1954, at the age of 14 yrs, he was playing for Brunswick at interdistrict level.

In 1954, Junior Cricket began for the Under 13 yrs age group and games were played with teams from Mullumbimby & Byron Bay.

In the late 1950’s a team called High School was formed to play in the senior competition. This team was made up of local teachers based at a number of schools and students from Mullumbimby High School. This team was immediately successful due to the talent of its players including, Wally Smith, Des Cody, Ken Hughes, Geoff Mould, Keith Hansen, Barry Payne, Dave Dare, Keith Lansley and Trevor Latham.

During the 1960s Kevin McDonald became President of the Brunswick Association and was very active in promoting local cricket. His two younger brothers Neil and Brian joined him, Ray Smith, Ron Meredith, Trevor Baker, Ron Donaghy and Col Staff to form a very strong Mullumbimby Club team which proved to be a formidable opponent for the teacher’s team. It was at this time that Neil McDonald emerged as a fearsome bowler who revelled in delivering curved balls and lethal bouncers.

A third Mullumbimby side of notable strength, known as “Wyverns” included Barry Lomath, Earl and Gordon Arthur, Ted Bedford, Noel Porter, Ernie Stratford and Trevor Gardiner.

Bangalow also fielded a strong team with Athol and Errol Johnston, Merv Meagher and Wilson Draper. Later, this team gained further strength by signing the former Sydney 1st grader, Mack Yabsley.

The High School team received an extra boost with the arrival of Bob Kingdon, Stan Thompson and Dave Johnston.

It should be noted here that local school teachers have had a very positive influence on the development of cricket in the Brunswick Valley since 1960. During this time they have joined teams, taken on administrative roles and executive positions and as such have strengthened the performance of clubs and associations both on the field and at the administration level. Those who have made significant contributions to cricket in the local area include:- John Buttrum, Stan Thompson, Warren Dell, Ken Leighton, Lyndon Watson, Bernie Ellem, John Wallis, Dean Files, Ross Ellis, Tony Harvey, Ken Wadsworth, Stuart Pratt, Terry West, Dennis O’Brien, Peter O’Neill, Bill Haynes, Aiden Mackey and Hec Wells.

The late 1960’s saw a decline in popularity of cricket in the valley. During this season only four clubs played in the Brunswick Association competition. By the end of the 1968-69 season, a decision was made to field a Mullumbimby team in the Ballina Association the following season. All games were played in Ballina and while the Ballina Association had some talented batsmen, the Mullumbimby bowlers proved too strong. The season ended with the newcomers, Mullumbimby becoming both Minor and Major Premiers. This began an era of cricket that saw Mullumbimby dominate its rivals taking out 10 major and minor premierships throughout the 70s and 80s. 

The completion of a new turf wicket at Brunswick Heads coincided with the decision to incorporate Brunswick into the name of the local club. Hence the 1978-79 season was recorded in the Club’s history book as “A New Home and a New Name”