Anecdotes – Season best

On top of the World

First up – our theme music for Nirav’s achievement – Shawn Mendes Top of the World

In November, Nirav Desai (D1 Blue) and dual Premiership winning Captain (D2) made it to the Mt Everest Base camp.

Base Camp is no ‘walk in the park’. It is 5,364 metres above sea level – Mt Kosciuszko, our highest peak is 2,228 metres above sea level. If that isn’t hard enough between 5 and 15 people die along the way due to altitude. The trek is 130 kilometres long and takes around 12 days to help with acclimatization! Also, between 5 and 15 people die on the trek each year due to acute mountain sickness. So this is no easy trek.

Nirav made it to Base Camp. Nirav also had his photo taken with the famous West Penno Baggy Blue. Our players have had their photos taken all over the world proudly wearing their West Penno colours but none, so far at this altitude.

Well done Nirav!!

Photo: Nirav at Mt Everest Base camp with West Penno Premiership cap – November 2023

Space Cadets

First up – our theme Music for this important Award – Rocket Man

Nick Starr (A1 & A2)

Got to hand it to Nick Starr – star A1 & A2 player. With circumstances now allowing Nick to play again after a time away from playing he needed to register. So far so good. Problem is that Nick initially registered in the All Girls Cricket Blast program – a soft ball comp for Girls aged between 4 and 9 years. What makes this an even more noteworthy achievement is that Nick managed to complete the Rego – including details of parents / Guardians.

What better way to start the season than to have a Captain arrive late to a game thinking it was still a 1.00 pm start rather than 12.30 pm while the Juniors are not playing – freeing up ovals.

Eric Junkkari (C3 Red)

To quote Andrew Fiedler (Sklipper):

“Early in the day as Eric was enduring the opening bowlers’ spell, he copped one in the nether regions, and went down like a bag of you-know-what.

 After what seemed like a longer-than-usual recovery time, he trotted to the sideline & asked for a hector. Surely he had one on. But no – he had gone for a pre-innings number 1, and left the hector on the fence post near the mens’ room, forgetting to insert it afterwards.

 We questioned why he wasn’t in critical condition, and it seems it wasn’t flush contact.

 After deep interrogation, it seems that the ball had initially grazed his thigh, then proceeded to ‘kiss’ spherical objects #1 then #2 before falling to safety.

 After thinking about this while umpiring, the only conclusion I could make is that (to use billiards terminology) this was a classic Walter Lindrum ‘cannon off the side cushion’. Eric agreed and wanted 2 points for the effort.

 Amongst all the levity it was hard not to notice the sun beaming off the smirking hector on the fence in the distance…. “

Sparsh Polepalle (C4)

Our C4 boys under the inspired leadership of Hiresh, were playing in the first T20 game of the season at Campbell Park – the spiritual home of West Penno cricket. A note I got from Hiresh says it all:

“I have been instructed to inform you by several team members that for our match at Campbell Park today, Sparsh called me 12:30pm asking me where everyone was.

 Somehow he had ended up at a Campbell Park in or around Five Dock, even after I sent a google maps link of the ground to our group chat. Somehow he made it to the real Campbell Park just before the game began.”

Daanish Mahmud (D1 Red)

During the pre-season T20 game, while we were batting, Daanish Mahmud (D1 Red, counted the number of players on the sideline plus the 2 batters and came up with only 9 players and asked how come we only had 9 players for the game. Problem is, he forgot to count two 2 umpires.

Well done Daanish for this outstanding achievement.

Ian Diggers Digby (D1 Red)

Coming into bat and needing a special innings to get his Team across the line Diggers strode out to the wicket all set to dominate. One problem, the Skipper forget to bring out his bat. After going back to get the weapon he strode to the wicket confident making an impact.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way with Diggers watching on from the non-strikers end and the final wicket falling without having to face a ball – maybe he knew something after-all.

What West Penno players do outside cricket

Justin Edwards (A2 Grade) was on national TV recently on ‘The Chase’ TV program. Justin was star of his Team and almost got them to a win but just went down in the final showdown. Not sure what his playing partner, Molly, is thinking – she is either in awe of yet another correct answer or just can’t take her eyes off ‘The Man’.

Photo: Justin Edwards on the Chaser TV Program – 1 September 2023.

A long time in the making

Way back in 1999/2000, David Carey (623 wickets) made his A1 debut after a 20 year apprenticeship and being our highest ever wicket taker. This is the longest apprenticeship in our history.

In Round 2, Rick Turner played his first game in the top Grade to cover for Team shortages during the Grand Final (NRL & AFL) weekend. Rick made his Club debut in in 2011/12 playing D1 Grade and has played & Captained most Grades up to A2.

While Dave Carey has the record apprenticeship, Rick’s debut is up there. When you think about it, Rick has scored over 3,000 runs @ 28 so this is an achievement that offers no surprises. Well done Rick.

Photo: Cam McBrien & Rick Turner on Rick’s A1 debut Vs Berowra @ Parklands Oval- 30th September 2023

The Sands of time

A great story from Andrew Fiedler, C3 Red from Round 3:

“Fieds (59 years old this month) is opening the batting & after his young partner, Jack Marsden, is dismissed after 10 overs, Dinesh de Silva joins him.

 Dinesh advises Fieds that he’s 61 years old, and to take it easy with the running between wickets.

 Fieds agrees to the demand.

 After adding 40 together, Fieds is joined by Peter Lees. Pete advises that at 62 years old, Fieds takes it easy between the wickets. Fieds obliges, but Pete gets out soon after.

 Fieds is then joined by Peter Harrison who has hit the magic 70+. Strangely there is no such demand from Harro about taking it easy between the wickets. So after running couple of 2’s, Fieds pushes the envelope & gets run out going for a 2nd.

 Fieds, the youngster, clearly doesn’t get the demands of his senior players. We really never do stop learning in this game. Always respect your elders!!”

Photo – Nathan Fathers, Andrew Fiedler, Dinesh De Silva, Andrew Fiedler & Eric Junkkari playing for C3 Red at Caddies Creek 5th November 2023.


Getting your priorities right

With so many demands on us all it is great to see one of our players get it right. Just sharing this comment about Ram Brahadesh (C4 Red). To quote his Skipper:

“…turns up 10 minutes after the start of play, we are batting ….

…”.I’m in trouble with my wife……

we are moving house this weekend from Cherrybrook to Stanhope gardens, I’ve got a mate helping with the move….

Ram leaving in his whites….mate says where are you going…

Ram says I’m going to cricket….

mate not happy, wife not happy……

 Side note.  We finished early with Ram padded up but no need to bat, so hopefully he got home to “help” with the move and not in too much trouble .

Photo: Ram (100 not out) & Ray Howard (127 no) after their unbroken 6th wicket innings 188 runs – century scorers – 12 November 2022

Brothers in Arms

During a Round 4 an achievement that will take a lot of beating.

In this game, brother’s Tom (Club Player of the Year 2020/21), Sam and Harry Hando (Club Outstanding Prospect 2022/23) all played – if Jack (Club Player of the Year 2021/22) wasn’t injured, it could well have been 4 brothers playing!

In our 92 year history only once before have 3 x family members played A1 Grade in the same season. Way back in 1963/64, 3 members of the Donaldson family played A1 but this included the father (Don) and twin sons (John & Ken) so this is a first for 3 x brothers and later this season when Jack is fit it could well be 4 brothers.

This isn’t the highest number of brothers playing in our Association A1 though.

In the early days of cricket within our Shire (1890’s), family teams were common. The South Colah Cricket Club had 18 sons of Patrick and John Duffy of Thornleigh, Dural CC was sustained by the seven sons of Thomas Best, Pennant Hills CC by the 10 sons of Arthur Thompson and Castle Hill CC by the eleven sons of John James (source: Claire Schofield: The Shaping of Hornsby Shire 1988 p86).

Photo: B2 2020/21 Minor Premiers & Premiers after winning the Premiership Vs Castle Hill RSL  The players are:

Back row:

Steve Ozvatic, Scott Chapman, Tom Hando, Peter Lee (Umpire), Tim Worthington, Phill Hando (Captain), Damien Lewis (Umpire), Basil Butler, Sam Hando

Front row:

Ben Dunkerley, Cameron Bliss, Alec Silins, Campbell Wallace, Jack Hando, Harry Hando


Remembrance Day 2023

Round 5 was the 105th anniversary of Remembrance Day – the end of World War 1. Being a weekend it is easy to lose track of the significance of the 11 November but not our U13 Red Mixed Team.

The Reds were playing Oakhill College at Annangrove and the adjoining RFS were having their own Remembrance Day ceremony with a flag and anthem ceremony and 2 minutes silence.

So how good was it to see the players stop the game to allow both Teams to link arms and show their respect.

Well done to the players, Team Managers, Coaches, parents & families of both Teams for being involved.

To finish-up – a great tribute to this important day by Terry Kelly – Remembrance Day 2023

Photo: the U13 Reds with Oakhill during the 11 November commemoration – Annangrove Oval – 11 November 2023.


Dream come true

How would you feel being 13 years old Harry Whitehouse (D1 Red). Rocking up to play against Glenorie Harry played against the original Yellow Wiggle (Greg Paige). To kick-off this anecdote what better than a Wiggles Classic – Fruit Salad

So how did the match go? Harry go a rare duck with the bat and bowled brilliantly, creating many chances in his 1/31.

Photo: Harry with Greg Page- Northholm Grammar – 8th December 2023.


Extra’s outscoring runs

How about the D1 Blue game against ARL at Foxglove Oval in Round 7. The Blue’s had an exciting win over ARL by 1 wicket late in the day – we scored 9/170 chasing 165 for the win.

Of the 170 runs we scored, there was only 98 runs scored off the bat.

The remaining 72 runs came from Extras: 8 wides; 49 no balls; 1 leg bye & 14 Byes. We don’t have records on this one but to have 42% of our total runs being Extras this would be up there.

Just on this photo, 2nd from right is Nirav Desai – fresh from his Mt Everest Base Camp walk. Playing in 40+ degree temperatures would have been a walk in the park after this effort.

Photo: the D1 Blue’s enjoying dinner after their big win.


What a performance from Raynaldo Howard (C4 Red) who scored 131* in the Round 10 one-dayer. Not only is this our 535th ton but it also accounted for an amazing 77.1% of the total team score. Then innings included 10 x 6’s & 11 x 4’s. After 17 over mark of the 35 overs he was just 27* so he scored the next 104 runs in just 18 overs!

We have had a big season with players dominating Team totals:

  • Sean Clarence (A1) scored 128* out of our Team Total of 7/191- 67% of the Team total (191 runs) and to top it off, 95% of the Opposition score!
  • Harry Hando (A2) with 52% of the Team total on a difficult The Glade pitch

This effort from Raynaldo now ranks as the 2nd best individual contribution to a Team total in our history. The latest list is:

  1. Wally Howard (B1 Grand Final in 1968/68 @ Campbell Park. We were all out for 4 and Wally Howard scored the only scoring shot – a boundary. This is 100% of the total score
  2. Raynaldo Howard (C4 Red on 13/1/2024 @ Fred Caterson 4) scored 131* of the Team total of 7/170 after 35 overs – 77.1% of the total score
  3. Glenn O’Connor (C3 Blue 31/10/2010 @ Campbell Park). In a team total of 191 Glenn belted 145 – 75.9% of the team total
  4. Daniel Anderson (D2, on 20/12/2008 @ Holland Rd scored 81* out of an innings team total of 112 (72.3% of the total score). DA was 13 at the time
  5. Sean Clarence (A1, on 16/12/2023 @ Parklands Oval scored 128* of the Team Total of 7/191 (67% of the Total score)
  6. Jason Goddard (C1 on 14/2/2015 @ Cheltenham Oval) – scored 78 out of a Team total of 119 – 65.5% of the total
  7. Greg Fiedler (C1 on23/10/2004 @ Thornleigh) scored 95 out of a team total of 146 – 65% of the teams total
  8. Brent Larkham (B2 on 04/11/2017 @ Annangrove Park) scored 200* of a Team total of 5/313 – 63.9% of the declared Team total

Photo: Raynaldo after scoring his 131*

Man Vs Wild

Move over Bear Grylls – we have our own version on intrepid adventurers with Harry Whitehouse (D1 Red) – all 13 years of age. Apart from being one of the best bats in the Team Harry is also prepared to take on nature with a fearless predator – a Kookaburra who he was giving the eye to show who was boss.

The result of the staring match – a draw with both Harry and the Kookaburra not giving an inch.

Photo: Harry with the Kookaburra – Samuel King Oval – 13 January 2024.

One of those days

B1 star bat, Lachlan Edwards, was brought into the C1 side to kick-start their Premiership run. Lachie scored 10 runs in 41 deliveries. He did though top score as the Team was out for 38 runs – the 2nd lowest C1 score in our history and just missing out on the lowest ever score of 35 back in 2005

He then bowled the last over of the Lions ‘run chase’ and went for 14 runs in 5 balls.

Being a Club Man Lachie then went to help out B1 in the field. He dropped a catch and cost Chris Williamson his first 5 for since 2018/19.

Photo: Lachlan Edwards after the C1 game. With him are – Paul Vink & Nathaniel Chidgey (standing) and Michael Banner – Sports Club – 20th December 2023

The Final farewell

Last week we did a story on Steve Quanborough’s (D1 Red) last game before retiring from cricket after 25 years of amazing service. It was great this this happened to be a Sheep Station Trophy game between the Reds & the Blues. It was a fitting finale.

Before going out to bat, Quan took a call from Denise Annetts, the great Women’s Test cricketer wishing him well. Add to this James Makin, our Seniors Director and the person who brought Steve to our Club was in attendance. Finally, both Teams formed a guard of honour as he went out to bat.

How did he go? He scored a boundary first ball and finished with 24 runs.

It doesn’t get much better.

Photo: the Guard of Honour for Steve by the D1 Red & D1 Blue sides.

Legends reunion

On Friday 23rd February at the Sports Club 17 players from the great A1 sides of 1979/80 to 83/84 gathered for a reunion. These players formed the basis of our first ever A1 Premiership in 1988/89 and finished their dynasty with 3 straight Titles. At a high level, their collective performances are:

  • Total games played – 2,329
  • Total runs – 48,870
  • Total wickets – 1,505
  • Catches – 932

Acknowledging our Greats of the past is important as we all owe an enormous gratitude to those who have gone before us – without them the Club would be a lot different to what it is today. How about this for starters:

Photo: Legends reunion – A1 Grade 1979-80 to 83 – Stuart Dickson, Ken Donaldson & Greg Stoneham – WPH Sports Club – 23rd February 2024

Welcome to the World

The best News coming out of the weekend was the birth of Bonnie Kathleen Maria Williamson to Alexa and Chris Williamson (B1 Blue). Welcome to Bonnie who is now our latest West Penno family member and a big congratulations to Alexa and Chris.

What makes this even more special is that Chris played Juniors for us and started playing Seniors way back in 2004/05. During this time he has scored 3,747 runs and taken 242 wickets to be up there with our best. How good is this photo of Bonnie with Chris’s prized West Penno cap and B2 Premiership top from last season.

As an aside, Chris was only 1 ball away from winning their Semi Final last weekend and playing in the GF this weekend. Typical of the selfless commitment from Alexa, she even worked her magic to give birth the day before the GF should our boys have qualified.

One of the great pleasures of playing cricket, especially for our Club, is to have the opportunity of parents playing with their children. More often than not it is a father & son combination. Maybe, this might be the beginning of a Williamson dynasty with Chris playing with Bonnie in a father / daughter combination.

Well done again Alexa and Chris we are all thrilled for you both.

Photo: Bonnie Kathleen Maria Williamson – 15 March 2024


The man and his bat

In Round, 14 Mat Marsden (C2 Blue) copped a bit of heat from the opposition about his antique bat. Well we have a photo of the Blues plus Mat with his bat – a 1985 MN Scoop bat – all 39 years of history. This story was all good news: Mat scored his 3rd career ton (100 not out) in a Team total of 9/205; they rolled the Opposition for 94 runs to get 1st innings points plus the Team they beat would have made the top 4 had they have won and as a result of the loss they finished in 6th spot. This allowed our C2 Red side to make it into the Semi’s.

So this is a great story about good guys finishing first.

Photo: C2 Blues 2023-24. The players, from left to right: Mat Marsden with the bat he scored his latest ton with, Bronson Marsden, Sohan Gowda, Rizul Gulati, Vris Patel, James Lubrano, Martin Lubrano, Rob Hitchcock, Fin Hitchcock (kneeling). Howson Oval – 24 February 2024.

Run machine

Going into this season Lakshya Rao didn’t play in 2022/23 but in the previous season (2021/22) he played C3 and scored 33 runs @ 11 in 7 innings. In 2020/21 he played D2 and scored 197 runs @ 22.

Going into the Grand Final he had scored 3 x tons (137*, 116 & 111). How did he go on the weekend? How about 96 not out of the Team total of 4/137. The only thing that stopped another ton was that we ran down their total. He finished the season with 763 runs @ 58.7!

Apart from being the highest aggregate in the whole Club this season he also achieved:

  • Lakshya’s 763 runs is the 10th highest season run aggregate in our history (the best is 1,361 runs by Laurie Tuckerman in A1 back in 1951/52)
  • It is also the 2nd highest for D1 (the best is 935 runs by Dave Meiziz in 2005/06)
  • Had he finished with a century in the GF it would have made it 4 in the season – 2nd only to Laurie Tuckerman who scored 7,

Photo: Lakshya being carried off the field by Team mates after the D1 Grand Final – 17 March 2024.


Season wrap-up

The dust is now settled on another season, our 94th. The highlights are worth calling out – a big thanks to James Makin for compiling this info:


  • Lakshya Rao was the season’s highest run scorer with 763 runs @58.7, followed by Rizul Gulati C3 Blue (586 @58.6) and Sparsh Polepalle C4 Blue (572 @44)
  • Lakshya’s 763 was the 10th highest season tally of all time, and the 2nd highest in D1. Sparsh now holds the record for the largest C4 season on record
  • Sean Clarence (A1) will retire with the 3rd best batting average of all time (for those scoring over 1,000 runs) – 47.9
  • Rishab Iyer’s (C2 Red) 163 was the highest score for the year, followed by Rizul’s 150no
  • Raynaldo Howard’s (C4 Red) 102no was only the 2nd T20 century ever scored, and is the highest T20 score of all time. He also scored the highest C4 score ever (131no)
  • Raynaldo is also the 1st player in our history to have scored a century in every form of the game – T20 / 1-day and 2-day games
  • Michael Banner (B1 Blue) notched up his 7th century to equal Laurie Tuckerman’s record (from the 1950s)


  • Pat Watkins (C3 Red) topped the wicket tallies with 33 @12.1, followed by Jack Marsden also C3 Red (31 @12.3) and Aayush Kumar C1 (30 @8.9)
  • Pat Watkins’s 8/23 were the best bowling figures for the year, followed by Henry Kelly’s 7/41
  • John Rose (C2 Red) now has the 6th best bowling average (12.5) of all time (for bowlers with over 100 wickets), and the 5th best economy of 2.6 runs / over (we only have records back to 1990 for this one)


  • Cameron Bish (B2) took the most dismissals this year with 24 (19 catches, 1 run out and 4 stumpings)

Photo: Raynaldo Howard (C4) after scoring 131 not out of his Team’s total of 7/170 – the 2nd highest contribution in our history.