IT has taken many hours to complete but for Lismore Cricket Club’s Scott Walker, the release of a book on the club’s history became much bigger than he anticipated.
Tomorrow, Walker’s book Brigidiers, Knights, Brownlow’s and Blokes – the history of the Lismore and Lismore Oddfellows Cricket Clubs will be launched on a momentous day for the club.
It will take place at 11am, with the launch extending into a past player’s reunion that night, with the club’s current crop of cricketer’s playing Rokewood in between.
While the day’s proceedings will be informal according to Walker, he said it was a good opportunity for players and members of the club to catch up and share their stories.
“We’ve organised this weekend to cater for some of the older people because I’ve got in contact with a few of the older players who will be keen to come down and do the sandwiches,” Walker said.
“So we’re doing a book launch where you buy the book on the way through and have a bit of a read for half an hour and mingle.
“I’ve got some people to talk, John Pyke who is one of our life members and Lachie McBean, who is in his 90s, he’s going to come up as well.
“Then we’ll play Rokewood in the cricket, which I’ll play in as well and then it extends into the night where some of the younger blokes my age who used to play will come along and socialise and catch up.”
Walker said the idea of a book started around a decade ago, after the idea stemmed from one of his hobbies.
He has a fascination with statistics, and in 2004 and 2005 he started to put the club’s statistics from a captain’s report on the internet through a program he found.
Eventually, scorebooks and statistics from other years found their way to Walker, who continued to put the information into the program.
Walker volunteered a lot of his information to the author of another local book, which in turn resulted in more information making its way back to him.
As the retrieval of information started to snowball, so too did Walker’s book concept, with the school teacher making the most of his time outside of school commitments.
“I never imagined it to be like this,” Walker said.
“I reckon the last four years has been pretty solid, I’ve been spending a couple of hours a night, each night on it (the book).
“I’m not a huge fan of watching TV, so once the kids are in bed, I tap away on the computer and do a bit of research.
“But it probably started over 10 years ago, just gathering information, but the last four years have been pretty solid.”
Walker said that the history of cricket at the club dates back to 1875, when Camperdown travelled out to Lismore to play the first game at the ground.
However, it was not until 1888 that the cricket club was formed, with the club now proudly boasting a 130 year existence.
The book details almost as much as it possibly can from that 130 year history, with the club still in possession of scorebooks and minutes books dating back to 1899.
Walker was able to find most of the information from the older eras and decades through the LaTrove website, which digitalises old newspapers.
He said it was easier to track down the older information than it was of more recent times, and said the 1980s and 90s had been hard to track down.
Now published, the book itself covers the history of the leagues, players, clubs and grounds Lismore has been associated with.
It shares the stories of Edward “Carji” Greeves jnr, the first Brownlow medallist and Geoffrey Street, one of the club’s greatest bowlers, who both played for the club.
They are just two of the 930 players Walker said had played for the club in that time.
“The first part is like the narrative of the club,” he said.
“It tells the story on early cricket in Victoria, and then it goes onto cricket in the south west and from there it goes into local cricket and some of the players who played.
“Then it goes up until now, where we currently play in the Grenville Cricket Association.
“From there, it has a section on every player that we’ve had and then it finishes with the player stats, and club statistics and a record of all the clubs we played.”
Walker said the entire experience had been positive for both himself and the club, sharing a lot of his research on social media.
The club has also used that information to update its honour board, just in time for tomorrow’s occasion.
“A lot of the stuff that I found along the way I put up on our Facebook page and that’s kept people interested in the club,” he said.
“People are starting to realise “oh hang on, there’s been a lot of good stuff happening here for a long time” and recognising people as well is important.
“Once the honour boards and stuff goes up, people will be able to recognise all the good stuff people have done in the past.”
With the book all published and ready for sale, Walker said there were a number of people he needed to thank for helping him get the book completed.
He said people around the club helped gather information for him, while his wife allowed him the time each night to put the book together.
“Once people started to find out what I was doing, there were a lot of people who got information to me and started interviewing people like Lachie McBean and Tony Street, who are almost 100,” Walker said.
“They were fantastic in bringing things together from the 1940s and 1950s.
“Then the likes of John Pyke, who helped me identify players that were playing before my time and Adrian Murray and Ricky Vagg were also fantastic.
“It became a bit of a monster in the end and a lot bigger than I thought it would.”
The book will go on sale tomorrow at the Lismore Cricket Club for $35 and will then be sold at local shops in Lismore and Derrinallum.