GDCA stars and legends honoured

Gary Sanders, Miles Johnstone and Kevin Sullivan. Picture supplied

By Tara Murray

Four of the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s most famous names have been recognised as legends.

The GDCA recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary and with it launched the association’s hall of fame, recognising contributions of people on and off the field.

A total of 36 people were inducted into the inaugural hall of fame, with four named legends at a function late last month.

Kevin Sullivan, Gary Sanders, Doug McIntyre and Miles Johnstone were all named as legends.

Sullivan has been the association’s treasurer and score secretary for the past 40 years.

He said it was special to be recognised alongside McIntyre, Johnstone and Sanders.

“It’s a bit of an honour,” he said. “It’s a bit hard to explain how it feels. You don’t get involved to get honours.

“You enjoy the friendships that you make from getting involved.”

Sullivan started playing cricket in the 1960s with Woodend and played for 35 years, winning 10 first XI premierships with Woodend and playing the most representative games for the GDCA over 20 seasons.

In 2000-01 the association named the McIntyre Cup best and fairest award after him.

The 76-year-old said he never imagined himself still playing a major part in the association after so many years.

He is also still umpiring and said he would like to continue all his roles for as long as he can.

“I’m still enjoying it and I enjoy the comradery of the association.”

Sanders, the namesake of the best on ground medal in the McIntyre Cup grand final, said he never expected to be named a legend of the competition.

Sanders joined Gisborne when he moved to the area in 1978, having played and coached at district level.

He spent one year at the Dragons, before joining Woodend. He would finish his career at the Dragons.

Brian Mundy and Russell Pattinson. Picture supplied

Sanders won five premierships and is the leading runscorer for the competition’s senior representative sides.

He also represented Victoria multiple times in the Australian Country Cricket Championships.

“I’m still blown away,” he said.

“I was asked three or four weeks ago for some information from one of the guys from the club, so I thought I had been nominated for the Hall of Fame. I thought there had been hundreds of people nominated.

“I didn’t have any idea. I’m obviously stoked and appreciate the recognition.”

Sanders was instrumental in the development of the junior boys competition and set up a girls cricket competition in the 1990s, so his daughter had somewhere to play.

He is still umpiring.

The other two players named as legends were Doug McIntyre and Mick Johnstone.

McIntyre started his career at Clarkefield in the 1945-46 season, when he was 17, before moving to Romsey the following season.

A fast-medium-paced allrounder, he retired after the 1969-70 season, during which he took all 10 wickets in an innings. He later came out of retirement to play with his two sons and would play until the age of 50, averaging nearly 70 with the bat in the top grade in his last season.

Bill Morrison. Picture supplied

He had three stints as GDCA president and was a selector for the association.

Following his death in 1994, the association’s top grade was named after him.

Sullivan said McIntyre was a brilliant competitor, who had respect for all of his opponents. He said his only regret was not getting to play with McIntyre in a Country Week team.

Johnstone made his name as a bowler who could bowl fast-medium pace before changing to spin.

He was instrumental in Lancefield winning the A-grade premiership in 1968-69.

While he was still playing, winning both batting and bowling club champion awards, Johnstone became the club’s secretary.

Later in his career, he would move to Bulla Village, before returning to Lancefield and then taking up umpiring.

Sanders said you would always see Johnstone turn up at representative games to support the competition.

He has also attended more finals than anyone else. Sullivan said Johnstone is the best player he has ever played with or seen.

The competition’s second grade was named after him in 2018.

Other GDCA hall of fame inductees…

John Beattie (Gisborne); Rupert Brown (Romsey); Stan Brocchi (Gisborne); Harry White (Romsey); Brian FItzgerald (Gisborne); Les Kays (Gisborne); Cliff Shaw (Romsey); John Forbes (Sunbury); Tom Sankey (Gisborne); John Clifford (Macedon); Bill West (Lancefield); Owen Rose (Macedon); Peter Osborne (Riddell); Tom Reynolds (Romsey); Bill Morrison (Sunbury/Bulla Village); Alan Williams (Woodend/Bulla Village); Grant Myers (Bacchus Marsh); Brian Mundy (Gisborne); Ron Mau (Lancefield); Kinnear Beatson (Macedon/Riddell); Gerrard Nolan (Riddell); Rob McIntyre (Romsey/Riddell); Peter Cleve (Wallan); Mick Barker (Woodend); Sean Huddle (Bacchus Marsh); Mick Graham (Lancefield); Alan Stevenson (Macedon); Rob Thomas (Riddell); Geoff Pitts (Romsey); Mick Jensen (Sunbury/Sunbury United); Brian Smith (Wallan); Jack Code (Woodend)