Our Club History
The Gosnells Cricket Club celebrated its 80th Anniversary during the 2003/2004 season.
During those 80 years the club has been a trendsetter in the sporting life of the district.
The Club formed in 1923 and played its first season with the South Suburban Cricket Association in the 1923-24 season. The club played its home games on the reserve behind the Gosnells Hotel until the move to Gosnells Oval in 1928-29. This was to remain the headquarters of the Club for over 50 years. The first Gosnells side was a talented and energetic team of exciting young cricketers. Players like Warren Paskett, who won the Club’s first Association batting trophy in 1924-25, the fast bowler Mait Armstrong, whose name is still honoured today on one of the Club’s bowling trophies. Charles Armstrong, Jack Chapman and the veteran Richard Paskett, one of the Association’s most successful and stylist batsmen, were among the club’s first members. In 1927-28 the Club won its first premiership in a thrilling match against the favourites Mundijong. By then the club members were active within the Association with Warren Paskett as Secretary and Richard Paskett serving as Vice President and the Auditor. It was a tradition of service and commitment to the community and success on the field, which has continued as a hallmark of the Gosnells Cricket Club to this day.
Despite the impact of the Great Depression the Gosnells Cricket Club continued to thrive during the 1930s. For a short time the Club was even able to field two sides in the South Suburban competition. It also won three A grade pennants in these years winning the South Suburban finals in 1930/31, 1937/38 and 1938/39. The Gosnells side at the time was a well-balanced mix of older experienced players and young exciting talent. Young emerging bowlers like Mike and George Swingler supported stalwarts like Val Wilkinson, Mait Armstrong and Vic Martin. Both Mick and George could at times be devastating bowlers. In a match against Armadale in October 1937, Mick took 6/13 and George 4/7 dismissing Armadale for 20 in its second innings. It was fortunate that they did so because the whole team had to be back in Gosnells for 5pm to attend the wedding of regular wicketkeeper Doug Wilkinson.
The 1950s were a golden decade for the club. Under the leadership of Mick Swingler and the addition of new members like Percy Garrett the club went on to win no less than 11 premierships in both A and B grade South Suburban competitions. Between 1950 and 1954 Gosnells Cricket Club won both the A and B grade premierships for 4 successive seasons. As president during these golden years Mick Swingler continued to perform outstanding feats on the cricket field. He won both the Club and Association averages in 1951/52 taking 50 wickets at an average of 5. This included an amazing 9/10 against Byford in January 1952 still a club record.
The 60s and 70s proved to be decades of remarkable growth for the Gosnells Cricket Club. In 1960 the club was still fielding only two senior sides. By 1979 though it was fielding 6 senior sides and was one of the largest clubs in the South Suburban Cricket Association. Despite this rapid expansion the 70s proved to be another golden decade for the club. The club won back to back A Grade premierships in 1973-74 and 1974-75 and a third in the 1977-78 season. The 1977-78 premiership proved to be as exciting as the first premiership exactly 50 years before. Set the daunting task of chasing 324 runs for victory Gosnells, led brilliantly by David Bull with a typically classic innings of 110, achieved the target with 5 wickets to spare.
The club also did well in the minor premierships winning no less than 6 during this decade. The growth in the number of teams meant that lower grade games had to be played away from Gosnells Oval for the first time. Games were played at Canning Vale oval, on the school oval at Wirra Birra Primary and eventually at a new pitch, which had been laid at the new oval at Sutherlands Park. In addition to this the Club developed a sound administrative structure. The club’s administration also reflected the changes, which were occurring. Newer club members such as David Bull, Gil McDonald and Ken Leipold began to assist Percy Garrett, John Marsh, Mick Swingler, Peter Lennon, Colin Biss and Dan Fitzpatrick in the club’s administration. This mixture of experience and new enthusiasm and ideas combined to form the basis for an administrative team, which would lead the club into the challenges of the 1980s.
Changes and growth continued to be the theme for the 1980s. In 1981 the club successfully negotiated, with the Gosnells Council for the construction of a turf wicket at the new complex at Sutherlands Park. Completed in 1982 it was the first turf wicket in the City of Gosnells. Shortly thereafter the Club moved its permanent headquarters to the new Les Sands Pavilion at the new turf complex. In 1985-86 the second turf wicket and turf practice facilities were completed. By this time the majority of club games were being played at Sutherlands Park. In fact the last cricket game was played at Gosnells Oval in March of 1987. It was the 4th Grade final between Gosnells and Kelmscott.
Fittingly Gosnells, captained by the veteran Peter Lennon, won the match in an exciting finish. The very next day the pitch was torn up bringing to an end the 60 years relationship between the club and the oval. By 1987 Gosnells Cricket Club was arguably the strongest club in the South Suburban Cricket Association. In the two seasons between 1985 and 1987 the club had participated in 11 out of the 12 South Suburban Senior finals. During this period Ross Leipold scored the highest individual score by any Gosnells player. In a match against Ferndale during 1986 Leipold scored 242. There was success both on and off the field during this period. The South Suburban Cricket Association awarded the Ray Baker trophy for club administration during the 1980s. Awarded to the most efficient club administration it was awarded on a complicated points system. Despite the size and complexity of the Gosnells Cricket Club’s administration Gosnells won the cup on three separate occasions and became the permanent holder of the trophy. It was well that the club had an efficient administration because in 1987 the club faced its biggest challenge.
In 1987 the Gosnells Cricket Club was admitted as the 16th Club in the Western Australian Cricket Association Pennant Cricket competition – the premier cricket competition in the state. Admitted to the competition in June the club had until October to form 4 new senior sides and 3 new junior teams. Unlike other new clubs, both before and after 1987, Gosnells was admitted straight into the full A Grade WACA competition. All this was achieved while still fielding 6 senior South Suburban sides. Indeed at one time the Gosnells Cricket club fielded 10 senior cricket teams as well as 3 junior teams in two separate competitions and was certainly one of the largest Cricket Clubs in Western Australia. The years since then have been challenging but the club as it has in the past has met these challenges with vigour and initiative. Already in the short years since its inclusion in the WACA competition the Club has won two Fourth Grade premierships under Alan Marsh and Les Saxon and the Shell Colts Under 21 Competition along with success in the under 17 competition. Despite a place in one semi-final success though has eluded the A Grade side. Partly, this has been due to the competitiveness of that competition and the difficulties of forming a side from scratch. Nonetheless the club has continued to produce outstanding juniors who have gone on to make their way in pennant and community cricket. Among those have been Brendan Rayner, Daniel Bennett, Shane Saxon, Steve Mason and Luke Pomersbach.
Of these Pomersbach has arguably been the most successful. Luke has made the State senior side, represented Australia in a 20/20 game and in December 2007 scored a club A grade record score for the club of 192 not out against Joondalup. Encouragingly, there is another exciting group of young cricketers emerging to continue this tradition.
Despite all these difficulties the club has continued to be a trend setter in the City of Gosnells. In 1993 the Club changed its constitution to meet the challenges being raised by its entry into WACA cricket. The result was the emergence of a Board of Management and discrete management committees representing the complex nature of the club’s management. Simultaneously the Club moved the first turf wicket from the far corner of the ground to where it is now, close to the clubhouse. In 2003 with the help of a Sports and Rec grant and solid support from the City of Gosnells the club completely transformed the Clubhouse. Two new change rooms were added, an observation lounge and Board room as well as a new bar area. Two years later the kitchen also refurnished. It is a challenge which its members will face with the same initiative and enthusiasm which has been part of the club’s character during the previous 8 decades.
Special thanks to Dr Gil McDonald for compiling the overview of the Gosnells Cricket Club’s History.