Club Memories

Vale Alan Crompton

Ron Holmes (President CCNSW 1982-1988)
Alan left an incredible legacy at all levels of the game which included serving as Chairman of NSW Cricket
before becoming Chairman of the Australian Board (now Cricket Australia).  Despite these added
responsibilities I wish to mention his enthusiastic involvement with the Cricketers’ Club of NSW. 
We were fellow Directors on the Board during the final years at 254 George Street in the late 70s when I got
to know Alan. The Club was resurrected in 1980 in Barrack Street and in his role as Vice President Alan’s
gracious support and wise advice helped me immensely in my role as President. 
He was always delightful company and having managed three Australian Cricket Teams to India, no mean
feat, he had plenty of interesting stories to relate ! The Cricket Family will certainly miss ‘Crommo’ – a kind,
generous, always approachable , humble gentleman!
RIP Alan Crompton! 

John McGruther (President CCNSW 1988-1999 and 2002-2009)
Sadly, long-standing Club member, and former Director, Alan Crompton, OAM, passed away on the Central
Coast on 20 April 2022 after lingering illness. Alan was born on 28 February 1941 and his eighty-one years
was consumed by, as it was equally devoted to, cricket. His record, to set it out fully, would test any short
essay, so I will not attempt that full testament here. Some more mature-aged members will well remember
Alan, and perhaps many in the more recent brigade may not so know or recall him.
Affectionately known as “Crommo”, Alan served as a Director of CCNSW from approximately 1986 to 1992
and when the new Club was founded after the dissolution of the former registered club in 2001, as a
Committee member of the newly Incorporated Association from 2006 to 2008
It would be an understatement to say that Alan had a distinguished career in cricket. But even a short litany
will illustrate that legacy. He became a Director of the Australian Cricket Board (now Cricket Australia) in He was Chairman of the NSW Cricket Board from 1988 to 1997. He was appointed Chairman of the
Australian Cricket Board in 1992. Thus, his work as a valued Director of CCNSW from 1986 to 1992
coincided also with his State and National cricket roles. He was a Life Member of CCNSW
A Sydney lawyer, Alan was a valued advisor in the cricket community. He was also a long-standing patron of
Sydney University Cricket Club where his work is also legendary.
Several decades of Australian and State cricketers could speak of Alan’s contribution to the game, in
particular as a Tour Manager. He managed the Australian Tour to New Zealand in 1982. He managed the
Australian Test Tour to India in 1986 – and more about that briefly below. He managed the Australian World
Cup Team in 1987, the Test Tour of India (again) in 1989 and the Ashes Tour to England in 1997. Alan was
also Australia’s representative on the ICC for four years.
If there is any doubt about his contribution to the game, or the quality of his personality, including as one of
the great gentlemen of the game, one could do no better than read the book about him: “The Tied Test in
Madras – Controversy, Courage and Crommo”, by Ron Cardwell (the Cricket Publishing Company, 2019).
I return to the Madras Tied Test momentarily. In the book quoted above, Dave Gilbert, Australian Twelfth Man
in that Test in September 1986, in recalling the astounding, gutsy innings of 210 by Dean Jones, in the
oppressive heat, which nearly had Dean in an early permanent demise, referring to Gilbert’s running on to the
field interminably with drinks for Jones, stated: “I did more running on and off the field than travelled by the
Leyland Brothers!”
This was a challenging Tour to manage, to say the least, and is only one gem of an illustration of Alan
Crompton’s management skills, devotion to the game (at all levels) and cricket contribution that should never
be forgotten.

He was a magnificent Director and Committee member of CCNSW and we were honoured to have him as a
devoted Club and Committee member and director. May he long be remembered.
A celebration of Alan’s life was held at Pearl Beach on Sunday, 24 April 2022.

Vale Ian Mann

Ian Mann passed away on Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, aged 85. 

John Coulthard: Vale Ian Mann. I had the honour of being captain of several NSW Churches representative teams in the late 1950s. Ian Mann was included in a number of these, coming from our Randwick Presbyterian club. Of slight build, but very vigorous action, I was delighted to find I had  a formidable fast bowler at my disposal. He proved very successful and we were very pleased to see Ian graduate, like so many other Churches players, to the ranks of District cricket.   

His later years were clouded with misfortune, possibly connected with his slight frame, of which he asked so much.  I know of the occasion when, requiring major heart  surgery, his aorta burst when he was actually on the operating table. The survival rate for this is less than 2% , but Ian was in the right place at the right time, and survived. Then there was the well documented fall in front of a train in Sydney’s underground. In spite of terrible multiple injuries, including loss of a leg and fractured skull, Ian  again survived. Ian  was a much stronger man the he appeared to  be. I salute Ian Mann.

Adrian Hawkes: I only knew Ian Mann after his playing days when he used to come to the Monday monthly CCNSW  lunches originally organized by Gordon Salier. He was and remained always affable and interested in cricket related matters. He suffered a terrible accident in later life when he fell in front of a train and lost a leg, but still wanted to come to the monthly lunches. if in a wheelchair. Then when the wheelchair tripped on the kerb he fell out and broke his remaining leg! Still intending to come he then became confined to his Old Peoples’  home as Covid struck, but was still outwardly cheerful when on the telephone and asking when and where the next lunch would be. He never made it back and will be missed.

Gordon Salier:  I first met Ian Mann through our membership of Tattersall’s Club in Elizabeth Street or ‘Big Tatts’ as it was called in those days. I heard about the cricket trip he had planned to Fiji in 1973 and upon enquiry secured the last berth. He was not leaving much to chance as there were six current first grade players in the team.

I had contemplated retirement from the sub district competition in which I had been playing and following the Fiji tour and a game for Ian’s journalists’ team at Richmond in October 1973, I was persuaded by Ian to play for the Cricketers’ Club of New South Wales team.

Many wonderful years of enjoyment of cricket and associated occasions followed, all largely due to the organisation of Ian including a trip to Canada and the USA in 1975.

Barbecues at Raleigh Park and the odd Sunday occasions at his then Bilgola beach house and Doyles at Watson’s Bay were more than memorable. So too the monthly lunches at Barrack Street. Our personal and professional relationship developed over the years.

We played cricket together not only for the Cricketers’ Club but also for his Journalists Club team. We travelled to Brisbane for the bi-annual  fixtures involving iZingari NSW, Queensland, the Cricketers’ Club of NSW and the Cricketers’ Club of Queensland. We went to Auckland for the initial Golden Oldies tournament of 1984.

I am much the poorer for his passing.

Gordon Salier appreciation of Ian Mann as cricketer

In a week marked by the most regrettable passing of Australian cricket legends Rod Marsh and Shane Warne, the Cricketers’ Club of New South Wales also lost one of its own legends,  Ian Mann.

Ian died on 2 March, 2022 at the age of 84 years.

He was a member of the Cricketers’ Club of New South Wales cricket team that began playing in the City and Suburban Association competition in 1971. He was responsible for introducing players who enabled the Club to attain and maintain a most respected standing in the competition both on and off the field.

On the field he led by example and as a medium plus pace bowler he bowled with the accuracy and persistency of water dripping from a tap. His efforts with the ball were particularly rewarded in the 1976-77 season when  he took 52 wickets which still stands as a club record to this day.

Off the field he participated in the Club’s snooker team which played in a cricket based snooker competition in the days of the licensed club premises in George Street. He was also instrumental in seeing the Club’s days at Raleigh Park were an occasion at which the families of players were more than welcome which led to and cemented family relationships within the Club’s team members which remain to this day.

Most unfortunately in his latter years Ian suffered huge physical trauma on more than one occasion which left him quite severely incapacitated but as might be expected he sought as best he could to carry on regardless. Personally I am now left with the memories of a friend over some 50 years who was Mann by name and man by nature. Vale Ian Mann. You were indeed a man for all seasons.

Vale John Russell (JR)

Club stalwart JR passed away on Monday, 6th August 2018, aged 89. 

John Anderson (Melbourne Cricket Club): Fond memories of JR. Man of integrity. Was never tempted to slip an extra run in the scorebook for CC of NSW in some of those close finishes we had at the SCG. 

Brian Breakspear Secretary, City and Suburban Cricket Association – 1903 Inc.: I first came to know John as a Director of the Cricketers’ Club of NSW during the late 1980s. As he was a Director of a Registered Club,  we were bound to meet in my capacity as the Licensing Sergeant of The Rocks Police Patrol. As time passed on, whilst I was playing for Yaralla CC, we communicated regularly when C.C.N.S.W. played at Goddard Oval. In 2000, the late and revered City & Suburban Cricket Association Secretary, Jack Pace retired from that position and John succeeded as Association Secretary.  As Assistant Secretary, I had a good working relationship with John.  He stamped his own name on the role.  In 2003, John played a major role in coordinating the Association’s Centenary Year which culminated in a memorable Centenary Dinner.  He was a Life Member and Legend of the City and Suburban Cricket Association.  He will be remembered for his commitment to the game as a remarkable administrator and friend. 

Greg Brooks (current President C.C.N.S.W.): I first met John in 1994 when I began my first season with the C.C.N.S.W. John was a senior member of the Club and part of the management committee. I soon learned how involved he was in the Club and as the then President John McGruther’s words testify elsewhere he was a true club man. Every Saturday JR would turn up to Camperdown and elsewhere to score the match and ensure the C.C.N.S.W. badge was well represented. A cup of black tea and some afternoon tea kept him going all day! After the match we would all adjourn to the Camperdown Bowling Club for a drink and a few laughs with the opposition around the day’s events, good and bad. We won more than we lost, and JR was very proud of the team…indeed he was thought of as one of the team. After a whiskey and a soft drink JR would load up his white Subaru and be on his way home. JR regularly joined us on tour, both to the country venues like Mudgee, Bowral and Camden, the interstate fixtures to Melbourne and Brisbane and of course overseas. He was present whenever we were privileged to play on the SCG and I know he was very pleased to receive his memento from the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir when the Club was asked to play a match against the Army to celebrate 150 years of cricket at the SCG. One of the highlights of our time together was the 2007 tour to South Africa, a trip made possible for John thanks to generous contributions from club members, particularly Steve Taylor who made a significant contribution. JR had a fantastic time, highlighted by several train journeys, one of which between Mosel Bay and George was almost missed but saved by the tour group to ensure JR’s bucket list was met! The trip to the Zulu village and the subsequent greeting ceremony was also remembered by John as a highlight…for entirely different reasons! Even as age and illness caught up with JR and he could no longer attend our matches I would receive a phone call on Saturday or Sunday night to check the results of his beloved C&S team. All the details were required, and it was often a long call! John was made a “Legend of the C&S” in 2010 and was a life member of the C.C.N.S.W. There are many stories that could be told, and I do not have enough space here to re tell them all. Suffice to say that JR contributed to every aspect of our small Clubs’ activities and he will always be remembered as a great club man, a true gentleman and a wonderful friend. 

Brian Fallon: John was one of nature’s true-gentlemen, one whose attitudes to life and practised-values, inspired you to do better. 

Adrian Hawkes: John would have been 60 when I first met him in1989 with his playing days behind him. An initial gruff exterior hid a gentle man who was passionate about cricket and steam trains; loved to score with his “special” system and produce averages and quotients. He started the practice of writing weekly match reports on our C&S games which he scored and managed. His reports could be passionate; I remember his once writing that the opposition were “cowboys” but fortunately this was pre internet days. In his later years he liked to ring up for a chat and usually this lasted longer than an hour. I will miss him. 

Joff Johnson: It is with a very heavy heart that I respond to the sad news about our beloved mate, JR.  JR was highly respected and admired by all the C.C.N.S.W. family who came in contact with him.  He was a permanent fixture at most of the games I played with the C.C.N.S.W. and we loved him being with us.  I will remember him as a gentle caring man who could not do enough for the players and supporters – he will be sorely missed. 

John McGruther: I recount some brief thoughts below by way of some Memoir contribution: There are only a select few who, in life..whether in or outside of sports affairs…meet the Biblical test of impeccable Stewardship. That is, of the true and faithful servant. John Russell is the epitome of the ethic. I should know. I worked with John, .affectionately “JR” to most…for periods on a daily basis, for over 12 years during my term as President, and a co- Director with him, of the Cricketers’ Club of NSW. That was only part of our affinity. From 1985 to now is 33 years for all of which I have held JR in the closest and affectionate regard. Words cannot do justice to some Testimonies, this being one. This attempt thus can only be humble. But JR’s Club Stewardship is potentially impassable. He organised Cricket Matches, he attended to Score them, he wrote Newsletters to Members about them  whether whimsical, serious, or chastising, usually all three). He was a delegate of the Club at City & Suburban Association level, as well as being a C&S officer himself. At the “old” Barrack Street Club, he collected the Pokie money from the machines, occasionally calling me from some losing Court case to help him carry the multitudinous coin- bags up the Club stairs. The penultimate finite Treasurer! He helped organise Club Tours, a legacy for which CCNSW is still famous. Often, he arranged, or unsuccessfully tried to influence the design of, Club clothing, but usually got right Players’ sizes right, even allowing for inconsiderate Player off- Season gorging. All this, and more, despite, it might be added, intermittent health challenges occasionally challenging him. Indeed, were there a Turnstile at the old Club entrance, it surely would have registered daily, out of hours, and week-end entry. Such was also JR’s Club function attendance record. The Testimony of JR is the very definition of Stewardship. “Thanks JR” in one sense may not be enough…but in another, perhaps says it all.