By Graham Croker 

Vice-Chancellor Gavin Brown’s passion and support for sport, particularly at the University of Sydney, have been acknowledged by the institution with a new sporting pavilion to be named in his honour.

The three-storey Gavin Brown Pavilion, to be built between No.1 and No.2 ovals, will contain indoor cricket nets, change rooms, a function centre and under-cover viewing facilities to both grounds.

The announcement was made at the recent Blues awards dinner, where Professor Brown and former Chancellor, Justice Kim Santow, were presented with University Golds for their support of sport at the university.

Cricket NSW’s Facilities Upgrade Program has made a $500,000 grant towards the construction of the $2.7 million cricket pavilion. Work on the pavilion will begin on July 1, 2008, with a completion date in mid-2009.

Concept drawing of the proposed cricket pavilion

The Executive Director of Sydney University Sport, Mr Greg Harris, said the University is indebted to NSW Cricket for its contribution to the facility.

“We’re very appreciative of the assistance and support of David Gilbert, the NSW Cricket Chief Executive,” Mr Harris said.

“We’re also indebted to the Vice-Chancellor for his contribution to sport at the University. It’s ironical that when Professor Brown arrived on our doorstep 10 years ago the Cricket Club had been relegated and the Rugby Club was destined for the same fate. Well, he never played a game for either club, but during that time we have maintained our first grade status and won two First Grade cricket premierships and four First Grade rugby premierships.

“Professor Brown’s support for sport, the clubs and the athletes at this university has been phenomenal and it is fitting that the new cricket pavilion is named after him.”

Mr Harris said Professor Brown’s support has been many and varied, from funding sporting scholarships, assistance with the establishment of sporting foundations for clubs, the refurbishment of St John’s Oval and the Sports and Aquatic Centre pool and establishing an agreement with the NSW Institute of Sport, to the founding of the Elite Athlete Entry program and the swimming program.

“He also assisted our fight against the introduction of the Voluntary Student Unionism legislation and his profile in the wider sporting community has strengthened our links with the AFL, the Australian Olympic Committee and in particular the New South Wales Institute of Sport,” Mr Harris said.

In its application to Cricket NSW for funding, the Chairman of the Sydney University Cricket Club’s Board of Management, Mr Michael O’Sullivan said the University fields eight men’s teams in the Sydney Grade competition and three teams in the Sydney Women’s Cricket Association.

“There are no adequate change room facilities at No.2 Oval,” Mr O’Sullivan said. “Currently players use the men’s and women’s change rooms in the H.K. Ward Gymnasium and share the facilities with the gym patrons. We have no provision for wet weather training and our artificial practice nets are in parlous condition and soon to be demolished for the University’s new medical facilities.”

Mr O’Sullivan said the proposed indoor nets at the new pavilion will be an outstanding facility for all-year-round, all-weather training, as well as providing high quality amenities for scorers and afternoon teas.

“The new facility will vastly improve the University’s sporting amenities and provide an ideal setting for Cricket New South Wales tournaments, carnivals and coaching clinics,” he said. “It would be ideally suited to host games during the 2009 ICC Women’s World Cup.”

No doubt Professor Brown will be the first to test the viewing facilities when the pavilion is open and SUCC teams are contesting matches on No.1 and No.2.