Vale: ‘Gus’ Gilmour

He was my first boyhood cricketing hero. A talented, laid-back larrikin – just like so many of the Australian cricketers of that time. And a left-handed batsman and bowler, just like the embryonic ten-year old cricketer I was in 1975.

In the end, like the late David Hookes, he never fulfilled his talent at the elite level, but who cares? He probably didn’t. But like Hookesy – forever remembered for carting Tony Grieg around the ‘G in the Centenary Test – he will always have that 15 minutes of cricketing fame. Namely, that unplayable spell of 6/14 and 28 off 28 balls (after the Aussies had slumped to 6/39) in the ’75 World Cup semi-final v England at Leeds.

He made his Test debut at the age of 22, but only ended up playing 15 Tests in total. Which, ultimately, is 15 more than most of us. His best series was the 1975-76 series against the Windies, when he took 20 wickets at 20, and smashed a 95 in Adelaide.

But it is limited overs cricket which set my mind wondering. He could have been the king of one-day cricket. Amazingly, he only played 5 ODI’s, but his statistics hint at the player he would have been had the condensed form of the game been more prevalent in his time. “How good would Gus have been in T20 cricket?” I asked one of my mates last summer as we sat watching old cricket highlights flashing across the tv screen. But as Ian Chappell said “He was at the front of the queue when they were handing out talent but, unfortunately, he was right at the back of the queue when they handed out health and good luck.”[i] A comment which can so easily be applied to the timing of his career.

Gary Gilmour tells one of the funnier cricket stories, as related by Gideon Haigh in The Cricket War: Gary Gilmour did not like Guyana. “I’d had this rivalry with Colin Croft all summer” he says. “And at the end he told me that his mum was a witchdoctor and she’d be sticking pins in her dolls when we got there” Gilmour thought more about it when the Australians began loitering in airports awaiting flights mysteriously delayed: “I knew Colin was an air-traffic controller, so I told the boys he was behind it.”[ii]

As yet another of my childhood sporting heroes wanders off this mortal coil, another marker of the non-relenting passing of time, I think back to those golden cricketing years of the 70’s and say “Farewell, Gus”.

 

[i] The Age, June 11, 2014.

[ii] “The Cricket War” by Gideon Haigh (Text, Melbourne, 1993).

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. One by one all our old friends are gone…
    Had the respect of his peers.
    Wouldn’t have gotten into WSC if Ian Chappell didn’t want him.
    62 is way too young.

  2. He was a ripper Smokie. I recall in a TV telecast the camera focused on the Aussie dressing room. Gilmour was perched up in the window with a smoke hanging out if his mouth. He was next in.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Gus Gilmour was one of my first heroes I remember his 1st shield ton in 72 and the all the publicity had we discovered another , Alan Davidson when fit which unfortunately wasn’t often he was a amazing talent I was at Adelaide oval when he scored the 95 against the West Indies it was a incredible innings and he could really make the ball late and was a bloody good fielder . I am lucky enough to have done some cricket coaching with , Doug Walters and he talked so fondly of , Gus they had a great friendship of which beer was the winner . The 4th member from the centenary test line ups to leave us , Hookes , Woolmer , Greig and now , Gilmour all too young
    Rip Gus Gilmour

  4. Luke Reynolds says:

    Fantastic tribute Smokie. I was too young to see Gilmour play, but love stories from this wonderful era of cricket.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    “Many people think I am a casual cricketer but that is a wrong impression I have apparently created. I play to enjoy every minute of the game and I do really care about what I am doing, be it either batting or bowling. I have benefited from the opportunities that came my way, firstly to be selected to go to the West Indies with a schoolboy team and then gaining the confidence of the selectors who have persevered with me. Possibly I was a little casual early in my career for I did think the way was easy, and then suddenly I realized cricket was not that sort of a game, for I have found it to be a great leveller. I worked hard to gain selection for New Zealand, and during this season concentrated on my bowling which is really my forte. In the last three games I think I staked my claim and as a result has come … my greatest moment… to go to England”

    Gary Gilmour, ABC Cricket Book – Australian Tour of England 1975

  6. He was more a batsman who bowled. Sort of a low rent Richard Hadlee. The batting was instinctive, uncultured and in-the-moment.
    His bowling was Davo meets Bob Massie. When it was swinging he was unplayable like at Leeds in 75. When it wasn’t there was no Plan B.
    He was “the Natural” and that was his strength and weakness. Glorious talent but little conscious ability to think through a situation.

  7. Dunno Peter, i saw Gilmour more as a bowler who could score handy runs. He was like two Windies players in the same era, Keith Boyce, and Brendan Julian. I think Keiith Boyce passed away a few years ago.

    Glen!

  8. Goodness, ii am all tangled up this morning. I meant Bernard Julien ! Yes Keith Boyce sadly passed away in 1996.

    Glen!

  9. It’s appropriate that a bloke called Smokie pays tribute to Gary ‘Gus’ Gilmour. Good research there, too.

  10. Glen – you are correct. That is what I meant to say. Gus was primarily a bowler, who could make handy runs when the mood and conditions suited.
    Dunno where these brain fade posts come from, where we say the opposite of what we intended. I have often thought of putting a large sign next to the laptop “DO NOT POST AFTER THE SECOND GLASS”. But I would never get anything done.

  11. No probs Peter. At my stage of life i put it down to as a seniors monent(s), as can be seen by my jumbled postings earlier today.

    Glen!

Add Comment Register

Leave a Comment

*