Anecdotes – Best of 2020/21 season

Covid-19 – how this season was different

2020/21 was a season like none before it – we had to play under CovidSafe protocols. Apart from starting the season late and having games cancelled this meant:

  • No hand shaking before, during or after games
  • Team sheets are to be avoided with MyCricket Team listing preferred
  • Umpires do not be holding caps, helmets or any clothing of players
  • During play all players must be at least 1.5 metres apart. The only exception is between w/k and 1slips field
  • No use of sweat or spit to polish the ball
  • The ball will need to be sanitised after the fall of every wicket
  • There is no sharing of any equipment
  • Dressing rooms were closed
  • Club kits are a thing of the past – all protective equipment. This is particularly includes helmets, batting and wicket keeping gloves, and batting wicket-keeping leg guards.

The following video probably best summarises the Covd-19 requirements and the game management protocols: here

‘One Day you might play for Australia”

Lisa Sthalekar, is one of Australia’s greatest Women cricket players and was recently inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in recognition of her amazing achievements – here .

This brings to mind a story about Lisa. Way back in January 1991 I was sitting next to Lisa at North Sydney Oval. She was 12 years of age, with her dad and playing Juniors for West Penno. They were at North Sydney Oval watching Australia play India and another West Penno Women’s ‘great’, Denise Annetts who was on her way to another century was batting.

Lisa still remembers the conversation that went along the lines of “One day you might even have the chance of playing for Australia.”

Her reply to this question: “I will.”

187 games for Australia, 3,913 runs, and 229 wickets later – if only we knew then what we know now.

While on Women’s cricket

At the start of the season we got a great email from Belinda Clarke, Executive General Manager of Community Cricket for Cricket Australia acknowledging that we are one of the top 30 Club’s Australia wide for Women and Girls Cricket.

“West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Cricket Club has played a vital role in the amazing success story of Australian women’s cricket over the last four years…Your Club has been identified as one of the leading clubs in Australia for girls’ participation”

The Space Cadet Awards

Our theme music first for this significant achievement has been refreshed from David’s Bowe’s classic to another classic – the theme from Lost in Space to reflect the significance of these Awards – here

Of all the Awards on offer to Club Members, a Space Cadet Award is around the top. Think about this – for a Club of just on 800 players around 6 are awarded each season. I do get the occasional request about the history of this Award.

It is awarded to someone who has achieved something that many aspire to but few could ever achieve – a spontaneous act of dumbness without even trying.

Let’s celebrate our Space Cadets for 2020/21:

  • Rob Knapman (B2 Skipper) for batting a night watchman substitute for 3 balls and got out, preventing a ‘Supreme’ batsman Nikhil Ninan from batting the following week
  • Sreeni, Zia and Kamran (C4) for going off to a Café during a lightning break and arrived at the game after it has re-started
  • Connor Mayoh (D1 Red) for bringing an Esky to a game with 40 degree temperatures with a lid that didn’t fit making it useless
  • Tarun Lath (C2 Blue) – covering himself with spray on chalk while marking a crease
  • Rahul Tripathi (B1 Blue) being agitated in a C2 game when there was no opposition at 1.00 pm. There were in fact 22 players in the same Club colours – you guessed it – a Sheep Station Cup
  • Lachlan Edwards (D1 Blue) for scoring in his full batting gear including gloves
  • The Captain of an Opposition side in the Grand Final who forgot to bring a 2nd new ball and asked us to help them out.

Spirit of Cricket

A good news story about B2 that typifies the way we play the game. In the Round 2 B2 game, our stand-in Captain, Tim Worthington, made the call of the season, although it was pretty much a Team decision.

Playing against Hornsby, one of the top order bats went to play a shot and damaged his knee badly enough to be out of his crease and not be able to get back. The boys fielded the ball and rather than run him out they instantly decided not to take the wicket but rather look after the batsman.

So while Wortho was the Captain and made the call, every player in this Team had the same view and put duty of care above a wicket. As it turned out the player couldn’t bat again anyway but no one knew this at the time.

How it all ended? The boys went on the be Minor Premiers & Premiers proving the good guys can finish first.

Spirit of Cricket

Our A1 side was cruising in 2nd position after 5 Rounds until they lost on the last ball of the day to the last placed Glenorie side. It isn’t easy losing but to lose to the last placed Team who were 9 wickets down is painful. What made this worse is that the top score was 38* and the batter was a 13 year old on debut and batting at no 9.

Anyway, I got a note from Bruce Wood (Association Coaches Association):

“…..Glenorie CC (defending Premiers) have had a slow start to the season and were sitting in last position on the A Grade competition table, playing WPHC CC (second place on the table).

 WPHC were heading for an easy win before young Riley came to the crease at No. 9 and steered his team to victory, in partnership with Adam West and Glenn Gittins.

 You could imagine that the WPHC players were very disappointed in letting the match slip away and losing to the team in eighth position, however to their great credit, they put all that aside and warmly congratulated Riley on his batting.

 Riley’s proud father, Jack McDowell, sent me a few messages today, which I have copied (with his permission) for your information.

 Jack has asked me to pass on his thanks to the WPHC Club……”

We lost a game but the players involved gained a lot more and built on our Club reputation of fair play and sportsmanship.

The most exciting Sheep Station result – ever!

The Sheep Station trophy was started on 16th December 2017 by Simon Smyth & Rick Turner when for the first time in Club & Association history, 2 x West Penno A2 teams clashed in the same Grade. The Captains that day were the 2 worst tossers (coin that is) in our history: Simon ‘couldn’t toss a salad’ Smyth & Rick ‘couldn’t catch a cab’ Turner.

The Sheep Station Cups are traditionally tough Sheep Station Cups are always tough but good run. The Round 2 game played between the B1 Reds (Rick) & Blues (Knapper) was played on steroids. Excerpts from Snumpty Smyth’s Match Report are priceless. Read and enjoy:

“…A cracking game with a few twists and turns. It’s very hard to get too excited when you play against your own club. Credit to Snumpty and Rick as they weren’t real keen on pushing for an outright against their own club, but at the start of today’s play I asked them to take it like it was any other club. They could use 10 points and we needed to battle it out and toughen up if we were to step up to B1.

 Both teams then got together and decided to play a 2nd innings. This was mainly due to the fact that no one wanted to go home to their wives and kids, knowing that an arvo with the boys was a far better option. For those concerned, I do love my wife and kids, but just not on a Saturday. It was written into my wedding vowels #clever.

 A wicket 2nd ball to Deano, had the Reds up and about. A good partnership then formed, before a bowling change brought Manas ‘Labuschagne Warne’ Dhargalker on to bowl. Gunny ‘Chin Strap’ Jnr smashed one to the keeper, and in a blatant attempt at cheating, he didn’t walk. I heard the noise Diggers. There was then some cricket played, until Birdcage gets another website mention, for skying a catch to me. That’s twice I caught you champ.

 More cricket got played, and there was more runs and more wickets. It got down to 16 needed off 2 overs. Everyone was as nervous as a virgin on his honeymoon, as it was going down to the wire. Both teams could still win outright. With 10 needed off the last over, then 2 off 2, Dan struck again, to leave 2 needed off 1 ball. A lucky French cut from Rahul through mid on for 4 got the Blues home outright, and they celebrated in an un-COVID like manner.”

Picking the fieldsman

Dylan Bish (C2 Blue and pictured left) scored a match winning 83 in Round 4 to steer the boys to an exciting win – effectively 9 wickets down. DB had a bit of luck though, as is the case with most big innings, in being dropped 3 times by the same fieldsman off the same bowler – a Masterclass in picking the right fieldsman.

There was also a Karma with this one. The fieldsman was also the most vocal about an LBW appeal being turned down from his great position at square leg. Adding to the Karma was the square leg umpire at the time who made the decision and must have taken a lot of pleasure from his fumbling opponent.

Coin Toss – the un-broken run comes to an end

In Round 6, Stu Fiedler won his 21st consecutive toss. Using some elementary maths the probability of this happening is close enough to 1,500,000 to:1 to have a 38% chance of seeing 21 heads in a row.  For those who want to check the formula is to calculate fib21 (1,000,002) and then divide it by 21,000,000.

Come Round 7 in the Sheep Station Trophy game and Stu came out to toss the coin against the experienced ‘Buzz’ Burrows. Buzz all his experience and thought after 22 straight wins that run had to come to an end and let Stu test his luck on calling 22 consecutive Heads.

If Stu had won he would have cracked odds of 2,750,000 to 1. Without doubt this is a Club record and most probably the highest number of straight wins in the world history of cricket coin tossing.

Let’s hope for Stu that the Laws of probability don’t even too soon.

“The ball went that way”

What do you do in a top of the table clash when an Opposition player is motoring towards 200 with lots of time and overs to go? You go to your best bowler.

Enter Rob Knapman (Skipper B1 Blue pictured centre with Matt Digby and Brent Larkham) who is 2nd in the Association B2 bowling ranks. Showing tactical genius this is exactly what Rob did with the over, taking over 20 minutes to bowl. The only problem is that it went for a lot and included 3 lost balls at Greenway Oval of all places.

Rob perfected each ball and each one went further over the boundary and further down Shepherds Drive. When the boys had no idea where the last ball went someone who parked over 100 metres away was almost collected. When the boys jumped the fence, something they were becoming skilled at, the bloke pointed down Shepherds Drive and said, ‘the ball went that way’ – still rolling down the hill and probably at Pennant Hills by now.


We have had some great songs written by our Club Members with none better that Bryce Morley (2002/03 to 2012/13) who had a classic about his B2 side that lost every game in the season despite scoring over 300 on 3 occasions.

Now we can go one better. Eric Junkkari (B1 Blue), and one of our greatest ever players (490 wickets & 5,800 runs) has written a song about one of his Team mates – Tanay Hiray. The song is sung to the music of The Beatles, ‘Yesterday’. What a great excuse to give a lead in to this song with the original by The Beatles from 1966– here

As background, the B2 boys copped a hammering in Round 11 Vs Kenthurst (refer to story above), with one player scoring 261 out of a total of 7/383 in 58 overs! All the bowlers went for big runs with Tanay also going big – 15 overs 2/83 (2 maidens).


Yes-Tanay You’re our best bowler far and away

Just grab that ball and blow them away

Oh we believe, in our Tanay

Then suddenly

He’s not half the man we thought he’d be

The ball now lives out near the boundary

From Hero to Hira, came mortality

Why’d Rob take him off, I don’t know, he wouldn’t say

He was just a little off, but we believe, in our Tanay


Cricket was such an easy game to play

It gets harder as you move up the grades

But we still believe, in our Tanay

Yes-Tanay One, two, three wickets come quickly

This could be the collapse of the century

Our man is back, that’s our Tanay

Yes-Tanay You’re bowling is what the opposition fear

They walk on happy, but plod off in tears You’re the best, our Tanay

You’re our Tanay

Written by Eric Junkkari. Copyright 2021 Mobile 0411-429670 Season 2020 / 2021 West Pennant Hills Red

End of one Chapter and opening of another

Playing your last game in Juniors is a bit like a parent’s emotions in having a child’s first day at school. It is filled with memories, good and some not so good but importantly it is a moment to reflect on the many good things. Our Photo shows Jane Bish and Wendy Paton reflecting on the last game for their kids back in 2018 – what a special moment from 2 of our most amazing mums.

During the week one of our wonderful parents from the U17s commented on us winning the Club Championship, against all odds. This is worth sharing as it says everything about what we aspire to as a Club and why we have such a high retention rate from Juniors through to Seniors:

“🌟Congratulations🌟 to the Club.

I have had 3 sons go thru Juniors. I have managed & scored their teams, my husband has umpired. We have had Rob & Steve always on hand for any queries (good or bad) they have gone above & beyond.🌟👏

I have always encouraged anyone thinking of getting their child to play cricket to go to WPHCCC, even Dads. I have said “it’s participation over results” they will GET a GO batting AND bowling.

As we say goodbye to Juniors we will remember the fun times, and of course the washed out semis & GF which could have been. The Tamworth carnival, Academy, Pink Stumps days, the u12 Cup victory, the many batting/bowling trophies, the scoring squabbles (😂), the funny tantrums & bat throwing, the coffee runs, gazebo putting up & downs, everything! Such wonderful memories.


For those of us who have just come out of Juniors it will stir up recent memories. For the mums and dads it will have more significance and bring back priceless memories of great friendships and lots of fun times of what being part of our great Club means.


Here is a story about dedication during the Covid-19 pandemic that will take a lot to beat.

Cameron Croucher plays C3 and he played in 8 games of the 11 in the 2020/21 season. So far so good. But….read the story – here . Cameron’s job has required him to spend 70 of the last 148 days in quarantine with another 6 more international trips in the next 7 months or 84 more days of hotel quarantine!

Despite all this Cameron he only missed 3 games all season. Cameron’s claim to fame doesn’t end there – his family owns a brewery in New Zealand and the C3 boys have been known to share a Croucher Pale Ale after the odd game.

A record that may never be broken

Records are set to be broken but maybe not this one. On the 5th October 2019, The 5 members of the Hando family played C1 Grade – the first time 5 family members played for us in the same Team.

In the B2 Grand Final (26th & 27th March 2021) the Hando’s played together and won the Premiership after also winning the Minor Premiership. Refer photo of the B2 Premiers: Back row: Tom Hando (3rd left), Phill Hando (6th left), Sam Hando far right). Front row: Jack Hando (2nd right) & Harry Hando (far right).

This is a remarkable achievement. What makes this even more special is that they also won the abandoned C1 Premiership in 2019/20.

So 5 family members playing together in the same Team, in a Grand Final and winning successive Premierships.

In the early years of cricket in our District, the South Colah Cricket Club had 18 sons of Patrick and John Duffy (Duffy Ave), Dural CC was sustained by the seven sons of Thomas Best, Pennant Hills CC by the 10 sons of Arthur Thompson (Thompson’s Corner) and Castle Hill CC by the eleven sons of John James. However, to win successive Premierships is an achievement that has never been achieved.

Apart from being a tremendous honour for Phill and the boys as a Club, we are so proud of the family, their achievements and the way they play the game.

What a season

This season has been the toughest on record – late start and December stoppage (Covid-19), games played under social distancing, rain & floods. We achieved amazing results:

A lot has been achieved by our people off the field that has been amazing:

  • Danielle Chivers won the CNSW & the Cricket Australia ‘Young Community Leader of the Year’
  • Lisa Sthalekar was inducted into the Cricket Australia Hall of Fame
  • Maddie Jones won the Good Sports Award for NSW Champion & also Australian Club Champion Runner-up for the Good Sports Award with the ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra
  • Kirsty Newbury has been awarded a special achievement award by CNSW for her work on Child Protection
  • The McGrath Foundation awarded us the prestigious ‘Pink Service Award’ recognition for being among the top 7 supporters of the Foundation over the last 10 years.
  • At Association Level, Andrew Miedler (President) and Rob Hanich (Junior Secretary) were elected to significant Leadership roles.
  • Cricket Australia invited us to be the Club they are using for the national Coaching instructional video that will be viewed by many thousands of people around Australia and globally. Why the offer? Our reputation for inclusiveness and support of all forms of cricket is well known at levels at CNSW & CA.

Cherrybrook Community Centre now open

On Tuesday 30th March 2021 the new Community Centre was officially opened. This facility is different to any other in Hornsby Shire. It was fully funded ($1.9m) by the Federal Government and local sporting Clubs with no contribution from Council. It is also administered by the local Clubs – Cricket, AFL, Baseball, Little A’s, Rugby League and Netball). A few highlights:

  • The main room fits 350 people seated
  • The viewing balcony is brilliant
  • Apart from a main meeting area, there is a bar and fully equipped professional kitchen
  • The main wall has 2 giant HD TV screens with the best being a roof mounted super HD video projection unit (worth $55k) that projects onto the wall. Next season the balcony will have a HD camera allowing live streaming of the game while player’s lounge inside with air conditioned comfort
  • There will also be Trophy cabinets where each Sporting Group will be able to display major awards
  • In the Meeting Room there is a large wall where each Club will be able to display Special achievements – Life Members, Highest run scorers and wicket takers and so on

Next season, our Juniors & Seniors playing at Greenway Park will be able to use the facility.