David McNamara, or ‘Big Mac’ as he likes to be known, has had an amazing cricketing journey to date, playing cricket all across the world. Tours to New Zealand, South Africa, Barbados and watching Ashes tours in England ‘Big Mac’ has experienced it all.
Big Mac’s cricketing journey began in 1964 as an 11-year-old playing in the under 17’s as that was the only junior competition in Warrnambool. He played for Geelong in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association and won the premiership in the 3rds. He went onto play for his school team St. Joseph’s College Cricket Club. He was the fast-opening bowler winning the bowling average in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons. He then moved down to Melbourne in 1992 where he joined the Caulfield Cricket Club. He won the Best Clubman award in the 2013-14, 2015-16 & 2018-19 seasons. He’s still involved on the committee and recently got awarded life membership in 2017.
‘Cricket’s been a big part of my life,’ he said. ‘And I joined the Australian Cricket Society in 1996.’
‘Big Mac’ played in a final for Caufield against Geelong his former team in 1996. The game ended in a tie with teammate Wayne Stokes hitting a six off the last ball to tie the match. ‘We had a dinner at the MCC diner room after the game where each team was awarded gold medals. There was an invitation on the table for the ACS I’ve been involved with them ever since.’ He joined the committee in 1997. ‘Big Mac’ has enjoyed an extensive playing career that is still flourishing. ‘Big Mac’ plays cricket during the midweek and the Sunday competitions. He’s also very hands on off field being involved within various Committees. Including the ACS Executive Committee, Taverners Victoria Executive Committee, Primary Club Committee and a Caufield Cricket Club Committee. Through these involvements with clubs, he’s been able to go on multiple international cricket touring groups.
Through playing with Caufield Cricket Club ‘Big Mac’ got the great opportunity to travel on Ashes tours to England. ‘I travelled on Ashes tours with the Caufield cricket club in our younger days we played a bit of cricket now we just watch.’ ‘The most memorable Ashes tour would have to be the first one in 1993 at Old Trafford. We were seated at mid-off, right behind where Shane Warne delivered his ‘ball of the century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting.’ It happened to be that ‘Big Mac’ and his teammates were staying at the same hotel as the Australian cricketers. They ended up drinking with them all night. Players including Merv Hughes, Shane Warne, David Boon, Mark Taylor and the Waugh brothers. ‘All the players were very nice and approachable.’
Through his association with the ACS, he went on tours to New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. ‘Big Mac’ was the tour leader’. Air New Zealand in the past would host a Golden Oldies sport tournament. Cricket was one of those sports. ‘The first tour I did was to South Africa, Canada and Fiji. We used to tour with the Ringwood Possums to get flights and accommodation together, then we would play against each other it was a truly great experience.’
Big Mac’ was part of the first touring team that went to Botswana to play cricket. ‘Botswana is actually quite a rich and well-run country.’ The grounds they played on were all hard wicket pitches. Although, now they have turf pitches. ‘The game parks in South Africa and Botswana are just out of this world.’ A tour that ‘Big Mac’ remembers fondly is his trip to Barbados. ‘I was touring with a New Zealand touring group. On the bus driving towards the ground everything was surrounded by cane fields.’ Once they arrived at the little ground in Barbados. ‘I walked into the clubrooms I saw a West Indian man preparing sandwiches and introduced myself: ‘Hi I’m big Mac’. He smiled and said: ‘My name is Gordon, Gordon Greenidge.’ He was one of the best opening batsmen in world cricket(playing 108 Tests for the West Indies from 1974-1991). Desmond Haynes, who played more than 100 tests for the West Indies also showed up.
‘Once the game was concluded the women of the cricket club had made West Indian curries. We had them and drank cold West Indian beers long into the night.’
‘Big Mac’ loves the game and the camaraderie that comes from it he’s approaching playing over 70s for the ACS he shows no sign of slowing down. However, as a young fast bowler he wasn’t against ruffling some feathers.
‘I was playing against a team that was little bit chirpy I was probably 16 or 17 at the time, I came into bowl the batsman at the non-striker’s end walked out of his crease I knocked the bails off and Mankad him. They started abusing me I just threw the ball to the captain and walked off as he was the last batsman, we’d won the game.’