By Graham Croker
Sydney University all-rounder Greg Matthews became just the fourth player in the long history of the Sydney Grade Cricket competition to take 500 first grade and 500 first class wickets when he bagged 3-24 in Penrith’s second innings at University No.1 on Saturday.
While Sydney University secured first innings points to be third on the competition ladder with one match remaining, off-spinner Matthews finished with match figures of 8-52, taking his first grade wicket tally to 501.
He joined some illustrious company when he reached the mark. The only other players to claim 500 first class and 500 first grade wickets are Monty Noble (1894-1925), who claimed 635 first class and 657 first grade scalps; Arthur Mailey (1906-1935) with 779 and 826; and Bill O’Reilly (1926-1949) with 774 and 962. The Sydney University veteran is next with 516 first class wickets and 501 first grade wickets.
Matthews played 33 Tests for Australia between 1983 and 1993, scoring 1849 runs – including four centuries – at an average of 41, and taking 61 wickets.
He is best remembered playing in the 1986 tied Test against India in stifling heat and humidity in Madras, where he claimed 5-103 in the second innings (10-249 match figures) to force the tie.
He is still the leading NSW wicket-taker, with 417 career wickets for the Blues.
Matthews, who has been playing first grade cricket since 1977, took 28 first grade wickets for Central Cumberland, 114 for Western Suburbs and 238 for Eastern Suburbs before linking up with Sydney University four seasons ago. He has now taken 121 wickets for the Students, who have won two titles since his arrival.