Marrickville has a proud cricket history. Today’s community-based club stands on the shoulders of yesteryear’s Test giants – including some of the all-time greats like Australian Captain Bob "Simmo" Simpson.
The original Marrickville District Cricket Club was established in 1910 and won the 2nd Grade premiership in its first season. It won its only 1st Grade title in 1943-44, when 8,035 people attended Marrickville Oval to witness the team beat St George in the last over of the match.
Marrickville’s first Test cricketer was the legendary Bill Brown, who went to Dulwich Hill Primary and Petersham High before making his Test debut in 1934-35. He was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1938. Brown was also one of Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’, the Australian side that toured England in 1948, playing 31 first-class matches, including five Tests, without a single defeat.
Two other ‘Invincibles’ were also products of Marrickville Cricket Club – local heroes Ernie Toshak and Ron Saggers both played under Bradman in 1948. Their contemporary, the great Sid Barnes, played for Petersham.
Cricket greats Johnny Martin, Pat Crawford, Sid Barnes, Bill Alley, Jack Moroney and TJ Andrews also emerged from the Marrickville-Petersham area.
Our area also boasts three Australian Women Test Cricketers - Mollie "the Demon" Flaherty, Hazel "Girl Bradman" Pritchard and Amy Hudson. All three played for NSW and Australia and where members of this first Australian Women's team to tour England in 1937. MCC’s perpetual trophy for the most outstanding female cricketer each season is named after Mollie Flaherty.
In its 41 seasons as a standalone first-grade club, Marrickville won a first grade premiership, three second-grade premierships, two third-grade titles, a fourth-grade premiership and the Poidevin Gray Shield three times. We also won the Club Championship in 1922-23. The club’s official grounds were Marrickville Oval, Wentworth Park Oval, Wolli Oval and Belmore Oval. In 1951, Marrickville CC merged with Petersham, and in 1951-52 won the Club Championship, 3rd and 4th Grades and the Poidevin Gray Shield, while the 1st Grade and A W Green Shield teams were runners-up.
In its 50 years, Petersham-Marrickville won 17 premierships: first grade four times; third grade five times; fourth grade three times, Poidevin Gray three times and the AW Green Shield on two occasions.
In 2001, Petersham-Marrickville merged with Randwick to form the current Randwick Petersham Cricket Club.
Bob Simpson was raised on Illawarra Road, Marrickville, and went to Marrickville West Primary and Tempe High. ‘Simmo’ played his inaugural first-grade game for his local club at Marrickville Oval, and went on to be Test captain in the mid-’60s and again in the late ’70s. He made yet another return to the cricket pantheon as national coach through Australia's cricket revival from 1986 to ’96. One of Marrickville's favourite sons and an old boy of our club, he is considered by many to be Australia’s best ever opening batsman, slips fieldsman and coach.
(With thanks to Lyall Gardner OAM, historian)