ACS Pavilion magazine is an iconic annual edition that has celebrated outstanding achievements in Australian cricket for the past four decades.
Released most years since 1971, our 2016 edition has just been published with Steve Smith on the cover.
Two of the last three issues have contained presidents Ken Piesse’s features on Bryce McGain and Chris Rogers, which have won him Cricket Victoria Media Awards.
The 2016 edition includes some fine features from the likes of cricket disciples Mark Browning and James Grapsas and fellow long-term ACS members Simon Pinder and Wayne Ross. Mark Browning celebrates the contribution of West Indian legend Garry Sobers, Grapsas tells why Ricky Ponting remains the greatest Australian No.3 since Don Bradman, Pinder uncovers new research questioning the birthdate of the Melbourne Cricket Club and Ross delves into his expanding Wisden collection and names the greatest performance of all from a Test debutant.
There is also a tribute to 36 of Victoria’s finest cricketers, past and present including Warwick Armstrong, Bill Lawry and Shane Warne. Ken’s feature this year centres on the father of NSW cricket, Syd Smith jnr., the Bradman of cricket administrators.
Here is a sneak preview:
As movers and shakers go, Syd Smith jnr. was pre-eminent. Known as ‘The Father of NSW Cricket’, no one was as visionary, powerful or as enduring as Smith who served cricket continuously for 75 years.
Manager of the 1921 and 1926 tours to England, Smith was NSW Cricket Association president from 1935 to 1966, wrote books, changed laws and advocated tours to faraway places to expand cricket’s boundaries.
He was at the centre of the great revolt of 1912, his insistence that the Australian Board of Control select the manager of its choice for the 1912 tour triggering a boycott by six of Australia’s foremost including Warwick Armstrong, Clem Hill and Victor Trumper. Smith believed the players should play and the administrators control.
They were stormy years, Smith and selector Frank Iredale witness to the no-holds-barred upstairs brawl between Australia’s captain Hill and another selector Peter McAlister at the NSW Cricket Association’s George St. headquarters which resulted in furniture being upended and faces and egos bruised.
In 1914 he urged Sydney clubs to cover bowlers’ run-ups, to allow more grade cricket to be played, a successful measure which was soon adopted Australia-wide. In 1926 he even played two games, not mentioned in Wisden, for the Australians at the end of their Ashes campaign – and is central in a team photograph flanked by Arthur Mailey and Charlie Macartney to prove it!
A career public servant with the NSW Department of Agriculture, Smith was a cricket addict and would take his holidays and long service leave around tours and key Sydney cricket dates.
‘Whatever Grandfather was in, he became secretary of,’ said his grandson Geoff Spring, who also remembers Smith as being a great stickler for time. ‘Grandfather would pick my mother and I up at Chatswood and drive us into the ground and park, always with a cheery hello to the attendants. He knew all their names. Never once did we miss the first ball. ‘I’d sit with my scorebook beside Mum in the Ladies Stand. Often there were two Tests in Sydney and we’d go each and every day. Mum was a very keen student of the game.’ When his mother Marjorie died, aged 98, in March, 2015, the family were sorting through her possessions and unearthed a big trunk, brimful of Syd Smith’s papers, photographs, posters, diaries and cuttings. Geoff, now 74, kindly loaned some of the family treasures on a recent trip to Melbourne.
* Pavilion 2016, magazine of the Australian Cricket Society, 50 pages, $10 incl post. Members of the Australian Cricket Society receive this magazine and four quarterly issues of Scoresheet