Almanac Club Cricket – Willy the All-Rounder

Payneham Cricket Club- Geoff Wilson


Geoff Wilson batting in 1988/89


– Current games record holder: 487 games (including 211 A grade, other senior grade games 206, remainder compromised of 50 over and Twenty20 competitions)
-6474 runs, HS 86*, Average 16.64
-873 wickets at 18.19, BB 8-17, Best in a game 10-48


Geoff Wilson was a competitive beast with a touch of white line fever who would give anything to ensure a Payneham Dukes win. The Wilson name is synonymous with the Payneham CC, with Geoff’s father Norm a club patron for 40 plus years who also contributed significantly financially. He assisted with the building of the old grandstand, the club building and, later on, the upstairs addition.  He provided not only manual assistance but also guidance through his Council involvement as Mayor. (Payneham CC were never neglected under Norm’s watch). Edna also helped in the kitchen on a Thursday night and during games. To say that the Wilsons have made a significant contribution to the Payneham CC is a massive understatement.


Geoff & the late Norm Wilson



Norm Wilson


But back to the beginning. Geoff commenced playing in 1976-77 in the Under 15s, then in the Under 16s the following season. He made his senior debut in ‘C’ grade, playing under Ken ‘Lois’ Lees, taking 6-14 in his first game. Terry Goodwin was the club coach who sensibly took the long term approach and told Geoff that, no matter what happened, he would be playing ‘C’ grade for the whole season. TG walked up to Geoff on the Saturday night at the club, buying him a coke saying, “Well done, young fella, but this doesn’t change anything.” (Ahhh, the good old days, strong sides throughout the club with significant depth.)


Geoff started the 1978-79 season in ‘C’ Grade, progressed to ‘B’ Grade and then made his ‘A’ Grade debut against Woodville North, making 9 not out and putting on 23 for the last wicket with Mick Weatherald to win the game. (Goodwin and Weatherald are the fathers of famous SA sporting sons Simon and Tim). I’m pretty confident Weather’s car would have driven itself home to Bridgewater that night!


In 1981-82 Payneham, under Captain-Coach Gary Wright, won the flag but Geoff didn’t play in the Grand Final. (Terry Goodwin may have been lucky to survive a vital caught behind decision and I’m not sure if Michael Brock is off the ground yet as he was playing for the silver spooners, aka St Peters Old Collegians). In 1982-83, with the late Alwyn Baker as Captain-Coach, Geoff took 5-32 v Grange and 4-36 v Pulteney. Over the years, Geoff was a consistent medium pacer, bowling on the Payneham Oval, aka Dukes Highway, where it was often about just being tight and trying to dry the runs up. Batting-wise, Geoff generally appeared in the lower order, valued his wicket highly and was involved in several significant partnerships which showed out particularly in the 1986-87 season when he made 256 runs at an average of 36. Geoff’s crowning moment as a batsman was opening against Ingle Farm in the 1992-93 semi-final when he made 86* in 3-197 after Ingle Farm had made 196. (Personally, I think Geoff should have opened more over the years).


Geoff took two hat-tricks, including 4 in 4 balls in Under 16’s in 1977-78 and against Clarence Park in ‘B’ Grade in 1984-85, finishing up with the casual bowling figures of 8-17. But the scene was set in a ‘B’ Grade game. With Willy cruising on 80 odd not out, TF, Spog & JJ were playing, then luminaries such as Margo, Paddles, TG, Vinny, Dix, Kossy, Rebs, Daysy etc. Wickets started to tumble, Brett Clark came to the crease and was promptly dismissed. We clapped Willy off the ground and he went in to the changerooms. Brett was upset – suddenly we were all around him congratulating him. Thank goodness we all still have something on Willy having made tons for the mighty Dukes.


Geoff won the ‘A’ grade bowling trophy in 1996-97 season with 25 wickets and the following season had his best year with the ball finishing up with 39 wickets. The highlight was the ‘A’ Grade flags in 1986-87. The Grand Final was a complete washout, so the celebrations were slightly subdued early on the Sunday but livened up watching a Payneham junior side win a flag with Simon Goodwin being a key player. (I always wondered how far Goody could have gone in cricket, although some extra height would have helped.) In 1991-92, Geoff played in the ‘A’ Grade winning premiership in which we clinically chased down Woodville North’s total.


Payneham 1986/87  A Grade Premiership team


The ‘D’ Grade side in which I played had been washed out but, on this occasion, a spare weekend had been programmed. We played at Payneham and won comprehensively with the ‘A’ Grade’s support which, understandably, became louder and louder during the afternoon. David Curtin 3 votes! Geoff, an accomplished slips fielder, captained the ‘B’ Grade for several seasons and went very close but, unfortunately, didn’t grab that elusive premiership. He was also Chairman of Selectors for a considerable length of time, never an easy job and often frustrating trying to come up with players for the lower grades at the last minute. He also served on the committee.


Geoff went on two tours of England playing for the Crusaders under the legendary leadership of Swan Richards, games were programmed on many of the leading ovals and meeting the Queen was a highlight. (The Queen said it was the same as meeting Dennis Lillee).


Geoff also represented the ATCA in the one-day competition, playing in the side which defeated District club Woodville, and narrowly losing to Glenelg and West Torrens.


Geoff more than held his own with both bat and ball and, I dare say, off the ground also. The main influences on Geoff’s career were Robert Walsh, Terry Goodwin, Mick Weatherald, Alan Newman, Ken Lees, Robert Fraser, David Curtin, Neville Ford, Keith Duke and, of course, his parents. He played with some other very good players, including the prince of ‘keepers in Robert ‘Prowler’ Dew, Gavan Wills –  the man with the ability to bat and bat and accumulate runs, and Robert Day. The only disappointment was so many bloody lost finals.


Other highlights off the ground included the barman resigning, throwing the keys at Geoff and Tim Goodwin, and having to go round to Keith Duke’s house to inform him what happened. (I don’t think too many people complained re that one, Willy); then there were the end of season trips to Nuriootpa where they may have left an everlasting impression on some fillies; Chris ‘Gobbledock’ Luck in a bathtub – what a sight; Sunday morning happy hours in the dungeon; and, of course, making so many friendships, both teammates and opposition, through the great game of cricket. Well played, Willy.


Chris Ansell and Geoff Wilson


Photos provided by the Payneham Cricket Club and the Wilson family and used with their permission.


You can read more of Malcolm Ashwood’s profiles of various SA sportspeople by clicking HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.




  1. Great write up Book on one of the Legend’s of the Payneham Cricket Club.
    Congratulations on a fantastic career Willy – I am pretty sure there is still a game or two left in the ole body yet.

  2. A lovely and well desrved piece Rulebook. Always a great pleasure to play against Geoff and the Payneham boys. Didn’t need to be reminded of Terry Goodwin ct Bishop bld Simmons in the 1980-81 Grand Final at Glandore (except that the late — and decent — Howard Chapman was concentrating so hard that he couldn’t receive the incontrovertible evidence before his eyes and ears). Payneham fell over the line in the last over of the day — Goodwin still at the crease 70 odd not out. I reckon Ross Chenoweth’s running between wickets also made the difference. Anyway, all the best to Willy; what a career.

  3. Brent Felice says

    Absolutely brilliant tribute and summary of Willy’s fantastic career. Loved the photos of Norm which was an excellent touch. When you sit back and reflect on exactly how many games Willy played, so many of them 2 day games, think of the amount of weekends he has devoted to the Payneham cricket club!’

  4. Nick Martin says

    Absolute legend and ripping bloke to boot

  5. Matty Matschoss says

    Great man. Legend for the Dukes. Hard player on and off the field. Respected

  6. Darryl Hogan says

    Malcolm as always a great read. Knew Norm exceptionally well when he was the boss of North East Health, sold him many cars and had many a monthly Friday ‘business’ lunch at Norwood Football club. Always respected Payneham, Prospect Cricket club supplied former greats to them regularly. Great CV and obviously great clubman, Norm would be proud. Well played Sir !

  7. Greg Perkins says

    Any sporting club that can get that commitment like Willy has given is `GOLD`….men& women like this are `the heart & soul` of any club…..their `family`….well played Willy. cheers Perky

  8. I’m sure Willy was able to recall many more games and incidents than you were able to use in the article. I’m always amazed at how Willy can give a ball by ball recall of wickets, innings, games, seasons. Many a great experience on and off the field great achievement Willy and Well done Ashie,

  9. Craig Seaward says

    This is Avery good article. I very much enjoyed reading all of the information and impressive stats about Geoff and his commitment and long serving loyalty to this cricket club. Well done Geoff. It is great in today’s environment to see such long serving loyalty to one club.

  10. Well written Book a fitting tribute to a true Payneham Legend.

    Unfortunate not to get that 100 in the Semi vs Ingle Farm…from memory some young punk came in and smashed them around!!

    Always a pleasure playing with the great GG Wilson.

  11. Terrific article on a true Payneham man – great career and service – real red and blue blooded in summer and winter. I too am in awe of Willy’s ability to recall details of games, dismissals, incidents, etc from the past. Keep up the good work Ashy.

  12. Always found Willow to be extremely competitive on the field, but then very convivial off the field! Well done on a great career, and congrats on the article Rulebook. Incidentally thanks for mentioning Gavan Wills, still get tremors thinking of the number of runs he made against us. That boy could play! Reckon he was the best batsmen I have played against ever.

    Anyway might see you boys “out the back” at the Adelaide test match for a bevvy, cheers!

  13. Tim Goodwin says

    Great article, great club and great mate. Well done Ashy for doing the article of a stalwart of the club, but also a great mate to many of us at the club. He was a great mentor on what playing sport and being part of a club is all about. It’s not all about playing, it’s what you put back into the sport and your club. Willy is a great example of that. Well done boys on highlighting it

  14. Rick Harley says

    Dr Norm was quite a character and was a mate of my late dad. Always had a joke or two to share…… and a rabid Redleg.
    Good read about Geoff too thanks Malcolm. Another for the book

  15. Very much enjoyed playing against Geoff. Always played the game the right way on and off the ground.

  16. Willy drove,Turbo nuts in that semi final v Ingle Farm it was a fantastic innings against a very strong bowling attack

  17. Jeff Milton says

    Great article Malcolm. I have very fond memories of my time at Payneham back in the late 70s and early 80s.
    Remember Willy gradually working his ways up the ranks from the thirds to the first XI. Hard to believe it was 40 years ago.

  18. Craig Parham says

    I played with Willy at Payneham a few years ago now but what a player and just an unreal guy to play with and off the ground,look forward to catching up with him at the Adelaide test match

  19. Peter Raymond says

    Top bloke and great club man !
    Can’t ever say he wasn’t passionate about ANY game …

  20. Never watched the great man play but I’ll make up for it by enjoying a few Coopers Pale Ale together. Cheers Ross

  21. Scott Rojko says

    Great read Malcolm
    Willy is a great bloke on & off the field. Loved playing with him, passionate Payneham man & even better we have stayed great friends since

  22. Luke Reynolds says

    Another great read Malcolm, love reading about local cricketers and the contributions made to their clubs every bit as much as reading about the elite level guys.

  23. Michael Aish says

    Great read Malcolm. I have known Geoff and Norm for many years. Great Norwood men.Norm always had a gag or two to share. I didn’t realise that Geoff was such an accomplished cricketer.All rounder as well. Great career.

  24. Well done Ashy on not only a great article, but also well deserved recognition for a club legend on and off the field, I feel blessed to call him one of my closest mates, always has your back covered. Pleasing you also highlighted the importance of Mr & Mrs Willy, who’s support was unwavering. I am also aware of many stories that could not be included!!!

  25. Geoffrey Wilson says

    Thanks Malcolm on putting this article together, even though it started out as a supposed piece for the PCC Newsletter, you do have yours ways.A great job in covering forty odd magnificent years at the PCC and a couple of Crusader Tours.Especially enjoyed the comments from my all my team mates, friends and friends of my Dads over the years. I particularly loved your acknowledgement of my parents Norm and Edna and the comments about my Father, it brings a smile to Mum and My faces. Also to my work colleagues at The Mighty Coopers Brewery, who took great interest in the article.Dare i say it, but another Great Article Malcolm.

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks folks a extraordinary career and loyalty to the Payneham Dukes ( smart man who thought of making the club moniker,The Dukes ) yes I felt it was important to recognise Norm and Edna. Aishy glad you mentioned the Wilsons devotion to the legs as well,Margo volume,2 I am sure it would be top rating !

  27. Geoffrey Wilson says

    I forgot to mention that it was also great to get comments from some of our opponents . They all have very good memories as well. Malcolms network certainly travels far and wide.I dont know about volume 2, I think Margo is totally correct.

  28. Ashy did a great job in collating all the stats and history of Willys career at Payneham. I have known Willy for over thirty five years and can say that he possesses three rare qualities in a man : Loyalty,Devotion and Conviction whether it’s getting the job done when playing for Payneham or supporting his other sporting loves Norwood and The Crows . Devoted to his Dad (Norm) and Mum(Edna)and a loyal mate to his close friends Devoted to promoting his employer (coopers) and their products Rock On Willy

  29. Ian Berryman says

    Great career Geoff. It was a good read, l look forward to sharing some more beers & more stories with you mate.Cheers Ian.

  30. Nik sokolovic says

    Great read.. i will have to pick geoffs brain even more next time i see him.

  31. Richard Arbon says

    What a fantastic article on a great club man , love the old school approach play hard on the field then grab a beer afterwards and have laugh and a few stories I think that’s missing in sport today. Geoff will catch up for pale ale next time I’m on dayshift, it’s been great working with you for 25 years at Cooper’s cheers Richard

  32. Ashy .A big thank you for the commentary on Willy. What I recall most is the teams we have participated in during the journey of each of our team mates. All had different skills but effort was shared and combined. Analysis continued in the club rooms for many hours with our mates.
    We has some excellent cricketers to go with the budding champions. All can be recalled in flash.
    I was involved from 1963 until 1999 as a player with PaynehamCC and there were numerous quality people which I met during that era.The standouts were just superb in how they contributed to the workings of the club. Keith Duke was outstanding and without naming a further nine of those members- I know that your efforts and enthusiasm and skills all rated highly with your clubmates.

  33. Robert Duke says

    Malcolm what a excellent article on Geoff and its lovely and well deserved references to Geoffs Mother and Father. I have also read all of the comments regarding the article; very flattering and from an eclectic range of sources and with good reason.

  34. Chris Ansell says

    – an extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field.
    “the man was a living legend”
    celebrity, star, superstar, icon, famous person.

    Think the dictionary sums Geoff up perfectly. 25 yrs I’ve had the pleasure and am proud to call him one of my closest friends.

  35. Great to read about local legends always

  36. Graeme Adams says

    To surpass Keith Duke’s record of longevity at the club is a feat in itself, but Willy’s loyalty and devotion to the club over the years has been remarkable.
    I can’t add much to Malcolm’s write up, but I first met Willy as a 16 year old in the downstairs clubrooms. He was playing pinball with that same competitive spirit to which we all became accustomed, consuming a bottle of Fanta as he played. The beverage has long since changed, but the competitive edge remained. He is a credit to himself, his parents Norm and Edna, and to the Payneham Cricket Club.
    Well done Willy on a great career, and I’m proud to call you a mate.

  37. David Curtin says

    A Great Read Ashy. One word describes Willy, TRENCHMAN.

  38. David Crouch says

    Awesome read Rulebook. A true legend of the game. A fierce competitor on the field but the first to shout you a beer off it. A ripper bloke. Wish I could have played with him and not against him. I reckon any teammate would walk 10 foot tall onto a cricket ground with Willy next to ya.

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