Sydney University Cricket Club used last Friday’s Blue & Gold luncheon at the Ivy to announce the first four inductees in the club’s new Hall of Fame.
SUCC historian James Rodgers announced that Tom Garrett, Ian Fisher, Alan Crompton and Mick O’Sullivan were the first four names on the Hall of Fame board.
All-rounder Garrett played in the first Test match against the visiting England team, led by James Lilywhite, in Melbourne in March 1877. He was 18 years and 232 days at the time and remains the youngest representative to play for Australia against England. He went on to play 19 Tests.
Garrett, who studied law at Sydney University, played for SUCC for 25 years and holds the First Grade records for highest score (274) and best bowling figures (10 for 11). During his SUCC career he was accredited with 5000 runs and 600 wickets. The Tom Garrett Trophy is presented annually to the Best and Fairest First Grader.
When Grafton youngster Ian Fisher enrolled as an engineering undergraduate in 1957, he turned up for a game of cricket only to be told by SUCC selectors he wasn’t up to scratch and wouldn’t be required.
He walked across Parramatta Road and joined the Glebe club and later played for the Sydney club and, 10 years on, with his reputation firmly established and knocking on the door of NSW selection, SUCC begged him to return. He did, as First XI captain, in the 1969-70 season and 4406 runs later, as the leading SUCC run scorer at the time, he retired having firmly rebuked those selectors of old.
Having failed to gain NSW selection as a player, on his retirement he served as a state selector from 1979-84. He was also SUCC chairman of selectors in the late 1990s and coach of the club’s first Green Shield side. He was elected the club’s 11th Life Member in 1999 and, in 2004, became the club’s 21st president.
As James Rodgers said, the passing of Michael O’Sullivan in 2013 was a grim day for all involved with SUCC. Being a Hall of Fame inductee reinforces his wonderful playing and administrative career with the club. This year he received the rare posthumous award of a Gold, to complement the Blue he won in 1974. He was also made a Life Member of SUCC in 1996.
As a player his career for SUCC spanned 1968-95, and it is unlikely that his tally of 622 First Grade wickets for the Club will ever be surpassed. He captained First Grade and won representative honours in the NSW squad and with Australian Universities. Off the field he was Chairman of the SUCC Board from 2005 until his passing His exemplary service to the game was acknowledged when he was elected to Life Membership of the Sydney Cricket Association in 2002.
Alan Crompton is another long-serving SUCC player and administrator. An Arts/Law graduate, his First Grade career behind the stumps spanned 1961-80. He was also a First Grade baseballer for the University and President of the club.
Following his long playing career with SUCC, he was club President for 22 years and has been club Patron since 2000.
Off campus, Crompton was Chairman of the NSW Cricket Board and then the Australian Cricket Board from 1992-95. He also managed a number of Australian touring teams. He is also a Life Member of NSW Cricket and SUCC.
As well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame quartet, the Blue & Gold luncheon featured a panel discussion with Adam Spencer interviewing Ryan Carters, Greg Mail and Ed Cowan.
The lively discussion included insights of Carter’s recent record 503-run opening partnership with Aaron Finch (they weren’t sure what the existing record was but pushed on for 500); Greg Mail’s views on the future of the game (people want to see genuine contests on proper wickets); and Ed Cowan’s experiences facing the pace and bounce delivered by fast bowlers in the nets as they push for Test selection.
It was yet another memorable lunch, and auction to raise funds for SUCC, organised by Blue & Gold supremo Rodney Tubbs.