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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Talkin' about My Generation part 3-Sport

My early recollections in Adelaide of becoming interested in sport was when I used to hear my parents talking about the footy(Australian Rules) and  the West Torrens Football Club(Now the Eagles or Woodville-West Torrens) and I went to one or 2 games when I was quite young. Bob Hank and Nipper Bradford were two names  that come to mind, especially Bob Hank who went on to win 2 Magarey medals for the fairest and most brilliant in South Australian National Football League.
As a baby boomer, born in 1946 I was fortunate enough to be born into a family that was into sports.
My mum's family played a lot of tennis as the Carnarvon Tennis Courts just off of Rosetta Street West Croydon, Adelaide, were just across the road.
My Dad played Football,Cricket, Golf and was into motor sports and also rifle shooting.He also played tennis.
As a young boy of 11or 12 I became enthused about tennis and every school holidays would go to my grandparent's place and play tennis from dawn to dusk.
I believe I got to a reasonable standard at that age and a younger lad named John James I often played with, and he actually had some local success as a tennis player later on.
But football(AFL) and Cricket were my two main sports that I played in my youth.
I started off playing football and cricket in Primary School and then High School.
I remember as a cricketer I bowled off breaks at Primary School and took 2 for 6 in my first game at age 11.
I fancied myself as a batsman also, but while I made some reasonable scores in my career, I never took my batting seriously enough.
At High school I continued with off breaks as a spinner but after a while decided I was a fast bowler at about the age of 16.
I found I could excel at this and probably bowled as fast as I ever did at about the age of 17 when I played in the Adelaide Turf Association for Henley and Grange Cricket Club.

The days in Adelaide Turf were great fun and I had the pleasure of playing alongside my great friend Ian Edgley who later made a name for himself as a   cricketer with Adelaide University and West Torrens and footballer with the  West Adelaide Football club and Adelaide University.
While we played in high school teams together and in Adelaide Turf cricket we never ever played against each other  or with each other in later years.
I played mainly C grade and B grade in cricket with the West Torrens Cricket Club and a handful of A grade games as an opening bowler.
The best figures I ever got in an innings was 8 for 23.
They were great days and I look back with fond memories and also the pleasure of playing in a C grade cricket  premiership team with West Torrens.
We had some very good players in our club the most notable being the late David Hookes who represented Australia at test level.
I only played with David in one match at B grade level but I remember bowling to him  in the nets when he was starting out and he was very hard to get the ball past the bat.
I always had high aspirations about going as far as I could with my cricket but the bowlers' problem of recurring back problems and a break down(nervous) at 20 put a spanner in the works of my football and cricket aspirations.
My main claim to fame in A grade cricket was bowling Barry Jarman out twice in my first A grade game.
He was I think then the Australian vice captain.  
I recall he took 15 off my first over and made the fastest 50 in A grade that season. I was tighter in the second innings and got him out cheaply then.
In my brief A grade career I also had the privilege of bowling against the late Les Favell who had played for Australia and captained South Australia for many years.
It was probably his last seaon of District Cricket and I being young and impetuous tried to bounce him out on a dead Norwood Oval pitch.
I recall he hit me for 3 consecutive late cut boundaries and then I bowled a yorker and had the satisfation of bruising his toe but still did not get him out.
Suffice to say I stopped bowling short.
He had an amazing eye, a bit of the David Warner type of game.

In football I joined the West Adelaide football club on leaving high school and progressed during 1964 from the under 19's , reserves and played in the last game of that season in the League team replacing the great Bert Johnson who was injured. 
I left the club when I was 20 to play in Amateur League with the Postal Institute team and we won a premiership in that year 1966.
So I had played A grade league football at 18 and A grade District cricket at 19.
What I thought was going to be a successful career at those levels was curtailed by injuries and also having a break down at the age of 20 which restricted my ability to play sport or embrace life for a good 18 months.
See my post about dealing with depression on this blog.
I did have some moderate success and recovery in sport playing in the Darwin Football league in the 1970/71 season and won the best and fairest for my club,the Parap Wanderers.
My wife and I spent the first 6 months of our marriage in Darwin and that was a wonderful time.
Looking back I was disappointed that I didn't go further with my sport but I believe if I had then I would not have, in my search for peace, have been touched by God.
It was a long road to  understanding of what made me tick and how Jesus was the answer to all my problems.

I will post this now and at a later date add copies of newspaper clippings and football budgets from this era which was through the 60's and 70's.

I still have a great appreciation and interest in sport and enjoy sports photography.
So watch this space.

G Thompson getting crunched by Kelly Stringer about 1965 on Adelaide Oval

West Torrens C Grade Premiers about 1966/67.G. T. back row 2nd from left

In my playing days at Glenunga Oval

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