Following a summer of cricket including two Melbourne Renegades home games at GMHBA Stadium and the local Geelong Advertiser T20 cricket finals, we thought we would have a look at the history of cricket in Geelong – when did it start? Who is Geelong’s most successful club? Who are the Geelong’s local legends and record holders?
Sunday’s Geelong Cricket Association T20 triple-header cricket finals were the first event of its kind to be held at the Stadium. East Belmont Cricket Club won the GCA1 finals, while GCA2 and GCA3 winners were Torquay and Bannockburn respectively.
The Geelong Cricket Association has been an important part of history in both Geelong and at Kardinia Park, so we thought we’d take a closer look at the long history and the characters that make Geelong Cricket Association what it is today.
Cricket began in Geelong in 1841 and the first turf wicket competition began around 1896-97 when the Geelong Cricket Association was formed as a controlling body for cricket across Geelong. Back then, the Capulets, Geelong, Magpies, Non-Descripts and Yarra Street Wesleyans shared three turf wicket ovals: Osborne House Ground, Kardinia Park West and Corio Oval.
The first round of matches were played on 17 October 1896 and continued until the competition was forced to disband due to lack of interest in 1913.
After a 15-year hiatus, the Geelong Cricket Association was reformed. Geelong City, Geelong Footballers, Geelong West, Newtown & Chilwell, North Geelong and South Geelong made up the new competition.
Currently, the competition has 37 clubs in 14 grades across three divisions, with Turf cricket mandatory for First and Second XI’s in the First and Second Division. Third Division still has a mix of both turf and hard wicket cricket.
The most successful GCA club to date has been Newtown & Chilwell who have won 20 Division One 1st XI premierships. The second most successful club is Geelong City, with 10 1st XI premierships. They are also current reigning premiers after taking down Newtown & Chilwell in the 2017/2018 season.
In the 2009/2010 season the GCA introduced T20 cricket across all divisions.
Behind the scenes, local legend Barry “Rocket” McMahon led the GCA for a record 14 terms of Presidential Office and is considered one of the finest cricket administrator’s Geelong has ever seen. He was a Life Member of both the GCA and East Belmont Cricket Club and received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000, an award by the Federal Government for Services to Cricket. His death marked only the second occasion in GCA history that all cricketers from all clubs wore black armbands as a mark of respect. The first was the passing of Sir Donald Bradman.
Ross Aylmer was the first person to reach the 300 game mark and still holds the record for most games played, totalling 319.
Alf Clark holds the record for most successful GCA batsman. His 30-year cricketing career saw him score a whopping 20 centuries and a total of 10,508 runs at 43.1.
The Wells brothers made their mark in GCA and Newtown & Chilwell history. Greg Well’s holds the record for most career wickets, an impressive 574 wickets with an average of 14.8 apiece. His brother, Newtown & Chilwell player Stephen Wells holds the title of GCA’s highest ever scorer with 237.
Jan Nowicki was the first woman in GCA history to be awarded a Life Membership.
If you would like to play cricket, you can contact GCA through their website