Almanac Cricket: Wayne Phillips – 159 On Test Debut


I had arranged to catch up with Flipper, little did we know that it would be when such a huge cricket scandal had broken. Like everyone, we were both stunned at how stupid the Australian side had been.


Flipper, having coached at First Class level, could understand quite easily how Darren Lehmann didn’t know, and also with Boof being the quality bloke he is he would have stopped the shenanigans straight away had he known. Also agreeing that in reality that Darren’s job had become untenable and that he would resign, which sadly has proven to be true.


We discussed the potential penalties, the serious bigwigs not just in sport but overall, the Trade Commissioner in London, Prime Minister etc. who had become involved, and the ramifications on the game. More importantly we moved on to the mental health of the individuals and their family and friends (more on this vital aspect further in the article), this is massive and these guys are going to have to be watched so closely and helped after their huge error in judgement.


Naive and dumb, personally I think the penalties are pretty close to the mark
(and if only the ICC hadn’t been such a pathetic toothless tiger and displayed due diligence and governed the game correctly earlier).


Wayne went to Westbourne Park Primary School then to Daws Rd High School, finishing his education in Year 11 and 12 at Scotch ‘on the rocks’ College. Flipper was a gun junior in the South Australian Under 17 side then SA and Australian Under 19 teams. Ironically, when South Australia was playing Queensland, both teams caught the same bus to the game!


Flipper heads to the back of the bus where all the cool kids go and lo and behold who does he end up with, Greg ‘Mahatma Coat’ Ritchie, a friendship born with interesting repercussions down the track!


Flipper played cricket as a wicketkeeper at high school, but concentrated on batting once he started grade cricket. He would occasionally wicket keep and was a reserve wicketkeeper with Australian under-age teams, but soon established himself as a specialist batsman.


Wayne played district cricket for Sturt where Russell Vincent was well and truly the established long term keeper, so concentrating on his batting was definitely the go (it would be remiss of me not to mention the influence of Ken Cunningham as a mentor and influence over Wayne’s career from a young age).


He made his First Class debut during the 1977–78 season, when the state sides had been depleted to some extent due to World Series Cricket. Over the summer he played three Sheffield Shield matches and a single one-day match as a middle-order batsman, with a top score of 22.


Phillips did not play First Class cricket again until the 1980–81 season, when he was picked for South Australia’s last match of the Sheffield Shield. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring 111 and 91 as an opener against Victoria.


Phillips established himself as an opening batsman over the 1981–82 season, scoring 857 First Class runs at an average of 47.61, forming a fantastic opening combination with Rick Darling and making an important contribution to South Australia winning the Sheffield Shield that summer.


Wayne scored a century against the visiting Pakistan side and 260 against Queensland – the first double century from a South Australian batsman in ten years.


On a personal note I worked on the scoreboard during his innings against Queensland, Flipper was crook (he assures me not self inflicted), and would wander over to square leg and vomit. Flipper’s deposits were very clear from my vantage position, I am sure that the ground staff would not have enjoyed having to clean the oval up afterwards!


Flipper’s square cutting and placement off Carl Rackemann and Geoff Dymock in particular were exquisite.


South Australia had come home with a wet sail and meant  the last game of the season we had to defeat Victoria to win the Shield. On the first day the Vic’s were cruising until a brilliant piece of fielding by Brian Vincent to run out Julian Wiener, who had made a superb hundred, got us back in to the game.


Some late wickets from Andrew Sincock meant we ended day 1 in a reasonable position. The whole team as a batting group contributed, come the last day we had to bowl the Vic’s out, Brad Green running himself out helped and then the keeper Peter Sacristani was, if my memory serves me correctly, caught by David Hookes moving himself to gully on a hunch.


South Australia had a run chase which was done in style, Rick Darling, Wayne Phillips and then Jeff Crowe doing the job. Jeff swept John Scholes for four with the ball only metres away from me sitting on the cement close to the Victor Richardson Gates. Somehow I was invited by Malcolm Dolman into the rooms, I was 19 and stood quietly in the corner.


What a night! From the rooms to the Grenfell Tavern (I had Flipper smiling recalling the events of the wonderful celebrations).


Flipper was subsequently selected on the tour of Pakistan in 82-83, a score of 92 meant Wayne was chosen to make his international debut in One Day cricket, being player number 69 chosen to represent Australia only for the game to be abandoned after 6 overs due to a riot (almost poetic justice Flip)!


It was on this tour that Greg Ritchie started up his impersonations with Mahatma Coat being born, Flipper says this was hilarious with Greg using the accent to communicate with locals and even helping subdue the riot, Greg got so used to doing the accent that he couldn’t get out of the habit, and was talking to everyone that way on tour.



Wayne made his Test debut against Pakistan in Perth in the 83-84 season.


Now, it’s important for every one to have a ambition in life, Flipper’s is to make sure everyone in the universe knows that he made 159 on debut, Flipper is well on his way to achieving his goal! Flipper had a very good series, making 362 runs at a average of 60 in what turned out to be changing times in Australian cricket with Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee retiring.



Australia then went to the West Indies where Roger Woolley had been chosen to keep, a broken finger resulted in Flipper keeping in the 1st Test, making 76 batting 7. He went up and down the order like a yo-yo with easily the highlight being making 120 at Bridgetown, where West Indian greats such as Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge acclaimed Flipper’s knock to be one of the best they had seen.


Wayne was actually a very good keeper, he didn’t really enjoy it and admits he didn’t put in the work to improve his glove work to spin bowling. While we will never know, Flipper’s keeping ability may have been the worst thing overall for his career.



Wayne’s career floated back and forth re batting and keeping. He  originally decided to go on the rebel tour of South Africa but Kerry Packer may have helped change Dirk Wellham’s, and Graeme Wood’s minds as well (parallels between Woods’ running between wickets and Troy Chaplin’s footy career?).


Admitting, on reflection now, that there were probably depression issues involved but, as we know, hey you’re a bloke, don’t dare admit you’re struggling, be tough etc., thank goodness that is an area in which society has improved.


Wayne was one of the better performing players on the 1985 Ashes Tour, making 91 in the First Test nearly saving the game, then in the 3rd Test coming to the wicket at 5-65 chasing 127, putting on 51 with Allan Border, making 29 off 32 balls and then controversially given out when he supposedly hit the ball in to a player’s foot (impossible to see if it was foot or the ground, should have been benefit of the doubt).


Flipper’s career international wise unfortunately didn’t really progress, ending after the New Zealand tour of 1985-86. He did make a half century in his last Test match and a brilliant match winning partnership of 86 with a young Steve Waugh in a ODI with Flipper making 53 off 32 balls.


Bob Simpson’s arrival on the scene as Coach didn’t help Flipper or Greg Ritchie, their personalities and humour not Bob’s cup of tea.


In the 86-87 season Flipper and Hooksey broke all records with an unbroken partnership of 462 against Tasmania, both at their brutal, breathtaking best, a privilege to be there. Hookes ended up on 307 and Flipper 213.



Only a week or so later Flipper with 75 and Glenn Bishop 117 were the key players in our McDonald’s Cup win against the hapless Tassie attack (highlights follow immediately after the 462 run partnership link directly above).


Flipper was recalled to the SA team in 1991, I remember it vividly, we were playing Western Australia at Adelaide Oval. I wanted to watch Bruce Reid bowl so I sat up in the Sir Donald Bradman Stand. He was superb, geez he moved it late, Flipper was not on his Pat Malone struggling against Chook Reid.


Wayne overall had a fantastic career, the left hander was elegant, a fantastic timer of the ball and a pleasure to watch as a regular Shield game attendee (I have been at a Shield game with 16 other people, after working out that I knew every one of them I realised I may have a problem in my life!).


Wayne coached South Australia for 4 years, unfortunately we didn’t have much success, Flipper resigned in 2007.


Of course easily the most important day was in January 2004 when SA had lost a close one-dayer to the Vic’s coached by David Hookes. No one will ever make sense of what happened that night with Hookes losing his life.


Flipper struggled understandably after that for a while and to his credit went to the doctor and was diagnosed with depression. Helped by a good doctor, on medication now talking about his problems, recognising the warning signs and not doing too much are the keys to being ok.


Wayne has a masters of sports business administration and with the Australian Cricketers Association he has a role in helping the welfare of past players mental health in general (somehow I think he will be flat out with current players for quite a while).


There is a prominent photo of David and Wayne together re the famous partnership in the Phil Ridings Room, Wayne goes and regularly talks to Hooksey and this is really important for Flipper. I fancy a long meeting re what has happened in South Africa.


Flipper is a very funny man and king of the one-liners. East Torrens DCC picked up some large sponsorship in favor of being a non smoking club, Flipper playing for Sturt, is facing the first ball of the game, as the bowler runs in Flipper backs away, pulls a packet of smokes out his pocket and asks “anyone want a fag?”.


Flipper nominated himself for the AFL draft years ago, describing himself as an elusive half forward not known for getting the hard ball (Flipper is a part of the reason why someone has to be aligned to a SANFL club to nominate, some peanut didn’t appreciate Flipper’s sense of humor!).


Some other Flipper gems re humour, when playing district cricket proclaiming, “hey I’m only 4 double centuries away from being recalled to the Australian team”.


In a district game Flipper in the drinks break is approached by the umpire Max O’Connell about the sledging, quick as a flash Flipper replies, “not enough Max?, ok we’ll step it up,” turning around quickly and walking away with Max ruefully shaking his head.


Wayne has worked in a variety of roles, including being general manager of the Adelaide Turf Cricket Association, and  South Australia Yachting. He has a media role with Channel 7 and 5aa where fellow Almanacker Nathan Watson and I are regular callers. We hear his dulcet tones over the public address system at Adelaide Oval.


Wayne is an esteemed after dinner speaker and compere of events. Heaven help you if you’re Flipper’s target, I may have been the victim on a couple of occasions! Flipper is the first person to put up his hand for charity hosting functions and is a gun in those roles.


Wayne has been married to Janine since 1981 (like most blokes quicker on cricket stats than marriage dates),they have two daughters, Abbi and Courtney.


Abbi showed she was a chip off the old block when a few weeks Flipper was carrying on like a pork chop about his 159 and she replied quick as a flash, “we’ll start your bloody funeral at 1.59!” (hopefully not for a while yet). Wayne and Janine have 2 grandchildren named Elliot and Arlo. Summing up it is always a pleasure to enjoy Wayne’s company or to speak to him on air, he is the quintessential good Aussie bloke.


Wayne Bentley Phillips

Australian Test Cap 320
Australian ODI Cap 69


1485 Runs at 32.28
HS 159
52 catches


852 Runs at 24.34
HS 75*
Catches 42
Stumpings 7

First Class Matches- 114
6907 Runs at 37.74
HS 260
Catches 154
Stumpings 7


List A One Day Matches- 83
1804 Runs at 28.18
HS 135
Catches 70
Stumpings 8



Thanks Flipper.
(love everyone to share the article and comment)



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  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful piece Rulebook.
    Well done WB Phillips on a fantastic career, on and off-field.
    I’ve read about that 120 at Bridgetown a few times before, sounds like it was an incredible innings to watch.
    I was at the One Day game between Victoria and South Australia in 2004, was a great game. Was in total shock waking to the terrible news on the Monday morning. The way Bushrangers and Redbacks players and coaches supported each other was a credit to them.
    More cricket profiles please Malcolm to go with your fantastic Norwood profiles!

  2. DBalassone says

    Always loved watching him bat, very entertaining. He should have played more for Australia, but the keeping thing got in the way – as he wasn’t selected as a keeper to begin with. That 120 in the Windies must have been a sight to behold. You’ve covered it well Rulebook, but I also remember a very handy knock he played in a WSC final vs. the Windies at the SCG in 84/85. A big partnersip with AB helped us a set a very competitive total, which led to a famous win.

  3. Kevin Lewis. says

    Wonderful article Malcom ,was so lucky to play against Wayne many times in grade cricket and was privileged to play 3 state games with him.
    My great mate Hooksie reckons that the 120 Wayne made at Bridgetown against a fearsome West Indian attack as the best test 100 he has seen.
    One of the great things about Flipper was his wonderful attitude to cricket. Would love to see our present test side play with the same enjoyment.
    Was lucky to play in a fantastic Flipper Hookes era.

  4. Flipper is a legend of SA cricket. I went to his cricket academy as a young lad. Another great cricketer who played too little with the national side. Thanks Rulebook.

  5. Great read as always Book. And a Chaplin reference as well!

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Another bottler ‘Book, Flipper is as South Australian as molten January bitumen.

    Was Ingle Farm’s Frank Scott running the scoreboard back then?

    Glad to see someone else pumping up the Bish legend too.

  7. Martin Rumsby says

    An interesting insight to the man behind the excellent cricketing performances. A great article Malcolm.

  8. Thanks for a great article about Flipper and his life and career, Book, also great to hear your guys summary on the cricket crises, particularly liked the references to importance of men’s mental health.

  9. Great article and a very interesting read about his life behind the great performances he had.

  10. Fantastic article Malcolm. I was at that last day of the 82 game when SA won the Shield. Dunno why you didn’t wave to me from the scoreboard? Phillips was a very wristy dashing batsman. Not the traditional type of stodgy opener, but devastating when he came off. I think because he was left handed and played so much with Hookes, I underestimated how good he was. I didn’t realise KG was his mentor, but when you mention it I can see those same wristy cuts and square drives to the short square boundaries at Adelaide Oval.
    Onya to you and Wayne for opening up about his mental health challenges, and you are both spot on about the best way to approach it. I think Smith and Warner will eventually be ok because they have the money and ongoing career opportunities to rebuild. Not so Bancroft who seems an intense soul, and was only just starting to establish himself. What does a man know of cricket, who only cricket knows……….
    Your best profile yet (I am still getting over the Rocky Roberts one). Regards.

  11. PS – been listening to the Joburg Test on the radio late at night here in Perth. Commentators are very complimentary about your Chad Sayers. Probed away all day and restricted De Villiers when he was getting on top of the other bowlers. Then in the final overs with a new ball he got De Villiers to feather a very fine inside edge. What a batsman to have as your first international wicket! (Better debut effort than 159 I reckon). Got Rabada the night watchman 2 balls later with one that bounced more and he spooned it from high on the bat.
    Croweaters rule! Somehow a bit of humble pie has made the Test team seem more likeable to me. Must be the West Torrens in me – I can only love them when they lose. Cheers.

  12. Great article Malcolm fond memories watching flipper and hookesy play such an entertaining brand of cricket

  13. Graeme Adams says

    I’ve known Flipper for around 30 years now and always loved spending time with him. A very funny man. I must relate a very funny story about Flip, told to me by his great mate David Hookes. The two were batting on Adelaide Oval when Flip brought up his 200. Hook went down to congratulate him and found Flip studying the scoreboard. When asked what he was looking at, Flip replied “34 more, and I equal Sir Donald Bradman”. Hook, always the man for cricket stats thought to himself “200 … plus 34 …. equals 234. What’s he talking about?”. When he asked, Flip responded “I’ve made three double centuries. 34 more and I equal Sir Donald”. I could tell many more funny stories but that’s one of my favourites.

  14. Darren Adams says

    He was guest speaker at my old club’s 50th year dinner. My favourite story was about when he was coach of SA and NSW bowled them out for 29 and he was supposed to include something positive in every chat after the day’s play. “Something positive… something positive… hmm… ok, got it. I’m absolutely POSITIVE that was the worst f**king batting performance I’ve ever seen!”

  15. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke Chook Edwards and I had a huge night listening to Flippers innings at his place I remember we were both struggling big time during the day and thank you.DB I do remember that knock now yes Flip at his sublime best.Kevin yep I can remember,Hooksey saying that as well and we discussed re the way cricket is not only played but the cool downs etc not spending time with the opposition allows garbage to fester.
    Thanks Marc,TC thought it was time for Lord Voldemort to get another mention.Swish agree totally and yep,Frank Scott was the man I thought of you giving,Bish a mention.thanks,Martin.Ben mental health angle just so important.Campbell thank you.PB I knew you are one who truly gets it re mental health and incredibly I woke up re the exact ball when,Chadd dismissed,AB they’re they well have been some messaging back and forth with Stef definitely,Chadd’s better half and rapt for a quality family.Raj totally agree,Grizz and Darren I knew plenty of other stories re Flip would come out as quick a wit as any one
    thanks folks

  16. Wayne was a wonderful SA cricketer who represented his country with distinction. Wonderful to see him making a contribution in helping others deal with mental health. A great spokesperson.

  17. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great memory Book. Class knock with some fantastic cuts and drives. Remember coming home, I was in year 8 and watched most of it. Wayne and Graham Yallop took them to the cleaners. Would have liked to have seen how Phillips would have played in a better team.

  18. Thanks Rulebook

    Can I add that as a young wicket keeper for Sturt Under 14s Wayne Phillips often gave me extra coaching. And KG Cunningham was fantastic to young kids as a coach and seemed very different to his media personality

  19. A brilliant tribute, Rulebook. Well played!
    You are correct when you say that we will never know what effect keeping had on his career.
    I attended a Variety Club lunch in Nov 2016 prior to the Adelaide Test, Flipper in his role as MC was an excellent host.

  20. Good choice to write on here Rulebook. He and Hooksey used to get more than relatives and pets through the gate at shield games.

  21. Cameron Glenn says

    A great article. Wayne Philips does a great job at Adelaide Oval.

  22. Andrew Sincock says

    Wayne has been a monument to the game of cricket with wonderful exploits both on and off the field. When he was “on” all bowlers were there just for his batting entertainment and the spectators loved it. Behind the stumps there was always humour particularly when a wide ball down leg side escaped him so he told the bowler that ” I don’t take balls down leg side. Bowl at the off!”

  23. Aphid Heinrich says

    I’ve known Wayne for the past 4 years, as president of Kangaroo Island Football Flipper has been MC for our Mail Medal night. He does it for nothing and we have raised money in the past two years for his number one charity Beyond Blue. We are very thankful for his work he does for us each year.

  24. Sharon Coad says

    Great article. I remember watching that partnership with Hookesy on tv (when they used to show sheffield shield on tv). I remember him keeping & Rod Marsh was in the players box, showing him how to move to the ball ?. Great career Flip.

  25. Wayne was certainly a talented batsman and a handy glovesman. I vaguely remember his record-breaking partnership with David Hookes where it seemed like they’d stay out on Adelaide Oval forever!

    He also hit the winning runs in the Final Test against Pakistan at the SCG which brought to a close the brillant careers of Chappell, Lille and Marsh.

    I also agree that his international career was cut far too short. Imagine if Flipper played in the current era, where we different players filling the 3 Australian sides. Flipper would no doubt be at the top of the order!

    Given the challenges he had coaching the Redbacks and the loss of a great mate in Hooksey, Flipper has persevered brillantly and should be proud. Also, it should be known that Flipper can brag that he is the best Wayne Phillips to ever play Test Cricket for Australia (it should be noted that another Wayne Phillips played 1 Test for Australia at the WACA in 1992).

    Great article on Flipper, Rulebook. Well done mate.

  26. Peter Warrington says

    Was a real fave of mine, dashing with the bat and just generally. we were at the Cricketer’s Club after work when he made the 159. they destroyed Qadir that day.

    i never understood the tos and fros, how Wessels and Phillips and Ritchie were pretty much gone in a hectic 12 months, Border’s 3 best batsmen at the time I thought.

    the above re Simmo may answer that…

    great story!

  27. E.regnans says

    Thanks OBP.
    Wonderful piece.
    WB Phillips was a big favourite – seemed to have that glint in the eye.
    A bit maverick, a bit of an ideas-man.

    All the best to WB Phillips in navigating the road ahead.

  28. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well said,Peter.Phillip Flipper was all class and totally agree re a better side.Plug both Flipper and KG plenty of time with kids and respected the game,KG all quality.Smkie than you and very much so.Raf yes a rush to Ad oval when those two were on on more than a few occasions.Cameron thank you.Evil yes have heard that story re Flippers keeping on a number of occasions always makes me smile and yes Flipper has been a fine servant of the game.Aphid thank you,Flipper does a hell of a lot behind the scenes for charity and sporting organizations.Sharon I vaguely remember that Paul yes definitely the best Wayne Phillips to don the baggy green thank you.Peter glad I gave you a insight of the interesting situation at the ACB at that time.OBP good description of Flip thanks folks

  29. Great read, Rulebook.
    I was there in 86/87 for the massive partnership (vs Tas) and it was a pleasure to watch both bats in action. No-one there could say it wasn’t entertaining cricket. Different story for the bowlers…

  30. Great tribute ‘book. He certainly cut a dash as a batsman.

    With his wife having a Kapunda connection he spoke at the cricket club’s 150th anniversary and it was a witty affair in which no one was spared including the Don, Kim Hughes and himself.


  31. Jeff Milton says

    Great well researched article. So tough to have to go out and bat straight after keeping at Test level. Played some outstanding Test innings and I suspect would have played even more if he hadn’t been lumbered with the keeping role.

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