Cricket: On this day (or thereabouts) 54 years ago

“The Cricketer”
by Kate Birrell


This story has been recounted by others before however, with a dearth of any sort of sport at the moment, it bears repeating especially for the benefit of younger readers who may not be aware of it.


In the 1965/1966 Victorian Cricket Association final Bill Lawry made 282 not out in Northcote’s 5/516 to chase down Essendon’s 9/514 (dec) in one of the most remarkable cricket matches in your author’s experience. I was a young 13 year old cricketer at the time and assumed, incorrectly, these sorts of innings happened all the time. (I also assumed, incorrectly, after Geelong’s 1963 flag a few years earlier that this too would be an intermittently recurrent event. Sigh!)


In the attached link, Abhisek Mukherjee of provides a marvellous account of the match along with some mouth watering references to other preceding details that season. It’s a great read.


The executive summary though goes something like this. Essendon win the toss and bat and declare around tea on the second day at 9/514. Lawry apparently tells his team mates “I wouldn’t have done that.”


Before taking the field for Northcote’s innings Lawry also tells his team mates “we’ve taken a long time to get here; if l get half you can get the other half.”


And he did and they did – after two hours of play on the fourth day, 16 April 1966! In those days the VCA regulations didn’t provide for time limits for finals.


This herculean effort was made all the more meritorious as the powerful Essendon attack boasted three regular Sheffield Shield bowlers – John Grant, Keith Kirby and John Swanson.


And despite the big game factor, both teams played their shots and produced a sparkling sustained quality of cricket over 122 overs apiece with a run rate of 4.2 per eight ball over.


So settle back and feast yourself on the many details of what the VCA Umpires’ Association voted in 2000 as the VCA District Match of the Century.





Almanacker Mic Rees has also written a great piece on this very famous game. You can read it 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 really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE





About Roger Lowrey

Roger Lowrey is a Geelong based writer who lists his special interests as reading, writing, horse racing, Roman history and AEC electoral boundaries. Some of his friends think he is a little eccentric.


  1. citrus bob says

    As Bill said to one of his team mates as they left the field after Essendon declared – They should’nve done that.” Wonder what would have happened if Northcote had have batted fist?

  2. If Northcote had batted first Bill would have still been batting when Covid 19 stopped play. Bill wouldn’t have declared. He’d have wanted another 10,000 to be sure.

  3. Those were the days, Roger.
    When all the Test and Shield players actually played District cricket.

  4. Roger Lowrey says

    Thanks Peter_B. I couldn’t have answered citrus bob better myself!

    And yes Smokie, District cricket was the only game on the A list cricket agenda outside Tests and Shield cricket back then. And how ultra competitive it was.

    One rare example of this I came across recently was when a young Geelong opening batsman scratched his head wondering why it was just his luck that, in an early season VCA game that wasn’t rain affected, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle opened the bowling for Dandenong!

Leave a Comment