Almanac Country Cricket: The day Happy bowled Barrie


Des Happy Pedler







By Peter Argent


On the rich fertile soils of Eyre Peninsula, I caught up with ‘Happy’ Pedler at the Five Loafs Bakery in Cummins.

First and foremost, the bakery has collect wide acclaim for their Vanilla Slices. A “must purchase” for anyone travelling through! I did.

Happy or Desmond Pedler is a father of three sons: Joseph, a former Woodville West Torrens premiership player; George, a state country footballer; and James, a local school teacher, along with a media-savvy daughter, Emma, who has strong ABC connections.

We meet to discuss Desmond Pedler’s time playing in the SACA Country Cricket Championships for the Harry Meyer Cup, an annual event usually held in suburban Adelaide in late January or early February.

The Eyre Peninsula started sending sides to the Country Championships in 1935, a decade after the event in this form started, but it would take them until 1957 for their first triumph.

They had a golden patch from 1968. They won the second of back-to-back titles in 1969 and again saluted in 1971.

Happy’s older brother Tony was a member of the previous two championship wins, and Happy was taking his first trip across in 1971.




Under the guidance of Mount Hope’s all round sporting champion Lloyd Mahoney (pronounced Mah-ney) the Eyre Peninsula lad collected another Harry Meyer Cup and celebrated at the Trocadero Restaurant and Cabaret Club.

(Interestingly, folklore has it that the venue burnt down a few months later!)

“Sport is certainly the glue that holds the community together over here,” Pedler tells me.

“The family would go out and play their sport on a Saturday afternoon.

“The 1971 Eyre Peninsula win was one of the great highlights of my sporting life, I was just 20 at the time.

“It was my first trip away with the EP team.”

Pedler was also among the EP players selected in the Country XI to play what was effectively the SACA State Second XI team.

This was played on the Thursday of the second week of the carnival, February 18.

“I was dismissed, charging the (left handed) leg spinner, Nafti Vanderhoek, stumped by Mike Hendricks,” Happy recalls.

“I did get a couple of wickets, including bowling Barrie!

“When I saw him at Whyalla a couple of years back, he said he recognized me for some reason.”

Barrie Robran of course is South Australia’s greatest footballer and AFL Hall of Fame legend, before he was felled by Leigh Matthews in a state game against the “Big V” in 1974.

Robran was also a more than handy cricketer in his pomp, making his first-class debut for SA during the following summer of 1971-72.

He played in three Prospect SACA A grade premierships. For a season, he opened alongside South African great Barry Richards, along with playing a pair of Sheffield Shield games for SA and a Gillette Cup one-day fixture.

Happy continues to command attention at the Five Loafs, nodding and saying hello to myriad patrons, whilst passing on information about his time playing in the Harry Meyer Cup.

He was also an accomplished footballer, playing in a dozen of the Cummins Ramblers 15 Great Flinders Football League consecutive premierships from 1968.

“I got sick of playing at full back and not seeing much of the ball,” Happy chuckled.

“So I went down to Tumby Bay and played with them for a couple of years.”

“Neil Pedler, the father of Crows listed player Simon, is the only one that played in all 15 flags.

“Simon now runs the farm that Ron Faeshe owned.

“Ron was the captain and the organizer of the two Harry Meyer Cup wins that my brother was involved in (and was the leader of the Eyre Peninsula’s inaugural win in 1957 – across a career that spanned two decades).

Late in the chat another local legend arrives for his morning coffee, Neville Phillips.

Strong as an ox, Phillips is a cousin of Port Adelaide and Collingwood champion Greg from Minnipa. Both of the Phillips lads played in the infamous 1976 SANFL Grand Final, where Port Victoria’s ER Rick Davies ran amok, and Sturt won the flag after being distinct underdogs.

Phillips would play 26 league games in the Magpies prison bar jumper across three season.



Happy with Neil Phillips


Scoreboard – SA Country XI 168 W. Bevan 52, A. Crompton 40, A. Crafter 33 not out, Lambert 3/40, Vanderhoek 5/33 lost to SACA XI 6/174 R Drewer 37, B Robran 31 D. Sutherland 35, C Tschirpig 2/29, D Pedler 2/39, T Cousins 2/20.







Along with Geoff Sando, Peter Argent is writing a publication on the 100 years of the SACA Country Cricket Championships, Harry Meyer Cup, which reaches its century in 2025.

To ensure they produce the best version of the Century publication possible, the authors are looking for any of the annual booklets, photos, scorebooks, notes and memorabilia from the SACA Country Cricket Carnival.

In the first instance, no matter how insignificant you may feel the items are, please contact

Peter Argent on 0411 178444 or via email on [email protected]

Geoff Sando’s email – [email protected]



To return to our Footy Almanac home page click 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.

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

Leave a Comment