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GAVIN BROWN – VDCC ENIGMA (PDF)

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					                       GAVIN BROWN – VDCC ENIGMA
The year was 1982 and Brisbane was in the midst of holding the Commonwealth Games, Joh Bjelke-
Petersen was still premier of Queensland, Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister, Roy Harvey was the
recently elected Mayor of Brisbane and Brisbane’s newest bridge, the Gateway was under construction.

1982 was similarly a cricketing world away with the Colts team still playing in the 10 team 1st grade
competition, Easts playing out of Bottomley Park, Norths out of Windsor Park and Valleys utilizing only
two fields at Ashgrove and its original oval at New Farm Park. Fifth grade was the lowest grade with all
games being played on synthetic and the under 18s competition was a mixture of turf and synthetic
fixtures. Dunlop Park and Mitchelton High School were synthetic wickets and Wynnum Manly had
recently moved to their two new fields at Boundary Street.

It was in this year that a brash young Brisbane Grammar student by the name of Gavin Charles Brown
walked onto the fields at Yoku Road not the slightest bit overawed by the challenges of senior cricket.
Little did he know that his cricketing journey would still be continuing at Valley in January 2009 with
no less than 10,322 grade runs behind him, eclipsing Gil Chapman’s impressive run scoring record of
10,301.

Browny, as he is affectionately known, has played through the grades at VDCC playing all bar 5th and 6th
grades over his years and continues to captain the club’s 3rd (1) grade side. He has been a member of 5
premiership sides over the years including successes in 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 4th grade.

And yet he continues to be a force in 1st grade when required. In 2007/08 he was seconded to play in the 1st
grade 2020 competition and didn’t disappoint scoring 74 and 58. As a 43 year old this is no small
achievement.

Suffice to say many still consider Browny more than capable of playing 1st grade despite his reluctance to
take a spot from a young cricketer.

He has had, and continues to have a particularly brazen approach to batting which until recent years was
not often seen. He brings pleasure to those who play with him with his cavalier approach to the game (and
his dry wit) which has unsurprisingly forged the respect of countless opponents over the generations.

There is a clear belief among many that he was a cricketer in the wrong era who had the ability for much
higher honors. Had the 2020 game taken hold in the 80s the name G Brown may well have been a
household name by now as former Valley 1st grader and current team mate Michael Jeh recalls:

‘….When I arrived in Manchester in 1990 I caught a taxi from Manchester Piccadilly Station to my new
home. The taxi driver was the first person I spoke to in England and we started talking about cricket when
he saw my cricket bag…..

"You should have seen this geezer we had last year at Oldham. Aye, he was a good 'un. Used to smash it
all over the park, he did. He'll play for Australia, he will. What was his name again.......Gavin Brown -
that was it! Ever heard of him?"

….The poor chap almost crashed his car when I told him that I had a beer with the great man just three
days before. I also agreed with him that GB would definitely play for Australia one day. I'm still hoping he
gets selected but looks like David Warner may have just pipped him…’

Browny spent a season plying his trade as a professional in the Central Lancashire League for Oldham CC
and was a member of the successful CC Wood Cup (one day) team that beat Littleborough in the final. He
was notably man of the match of the final. Littleborough weren’t too bad either as they had West Indian
internationals Collis King and Ezra Mosely as their pros.
By his own admission he was never an alter boy by cricketing or social standards. He started his Valley
career as a hot headed chain smoking teen more akin to a fast bowling rebel of the era. He has had his fair
share of regrets on and off the field as former Valley stalwart Dave Cottee recalls:

‘…it was a 1st grade at Peter Easton Oval and Browny had been cleaned up for a blob. As he walked off the
oval it was clear he was quite upset. With his brand new Stuart Surridge bat in hand he snapped venting his
anger at the nearby light pole with an immaculate straight drive. So well timed was the shot he was only
left with the handle of the bat in his hand. The blade was left lying next to the light pole for some time until
he retrieved it some hours later much to the amusement of his team mates…’

With the expiration of years a maturing Browny has made his mark as a captain of distinction at Valley.
Long gone are the cigarettes and the rebel lad replaced by a coarse and at times grumpy nature on the field.
Suffice to say it gives the clear impression to the younger guys he is not a man to be crossed. That said, the
older guys, as Michael Jeh recalls, knew that he was never far away from seeing the funny side of life
again…

‘He is possibly the grumpiest captain on a cricket field, especially when anyone drops a catch or an
opposition batsman nicks one through slips. Last season, he was regularly heard to cry out in frustration
"why am I surrounded by morons"? Naturally, everyone assumed he was referring to Ando.’

‘Last season, a certain VDCC player missed an important catch at mid-on and Browny was fuming. At the
end of the over, the player walked up to us and said "I got there but just forgot to close my hands in time".
This only served to infuriate Browny even more until I said to the individual "if only your mother had
closed her legs in time....". At that point, Browny began to see the funny side of life again.

A common thread amongst respondents for this article was that their stories were inappropriate for
publishing. That said the admiration and friendship of those parties towards Browny is evident as is the
lasting impression he has made upon their cricketing lives.

Though no article can do justice to his statistical achievements, his ongoing nurturing of VDCC grade
players, his ongoing VDCC volunteer work and the pure entertainment value he provides to lovers of
cricket.

We have taken the liberty to talk to some of his opponents, some more of his team mates and the man
himself in celebration of his recent run scoring achievement.

‘….my memories of Browny cross a generation having played at Valley and against him subsequently
whilst at Sandgate and Sunny Coast. He hits the ball as far anyone in the current game and had he been
playing as a 20 something year old today I have no doubt IPL sides would be looking at him…’

‘…. It is great to see him still around the game. If we had more guys like Browny running around the
grade competition today the game would be much better for it .....’ (Gavin Fitness – former Sheffield
Shield player and current Toombul 1st grade captain)

‘….One of G Brown’s greatest traits was that he was always willing to back his own ability and to live only
for the moment..’

‘….Who else could of on their first overseas trip saved $4000 for living and spending money for 6 months
and then proceeded to spend half that amount on the 3 day stopover in Bangkok before arriving in
England. Somehow he managed to survive the next 6 months living in dark and gloomy Oldham, his
bedroom door opening into a bar, sharing a flat with a man of alternative persuasions as well as being
robbed and bashed…’ (Geoff Foley-former Australia A, Queensland, Valley and University player)
‘…..100 partnership opening the batting with Dean Reeves in a 1st grade one day game in 1993 v Norths @
Peter Easton Oval… I can vividly recall Reevesy being 5 not out when the 100 was reached …Browny was
just warming up…’(Michael Dudgeon – Valley Life Member and current Valley player)

‘….I can recall a running between the wickets training drill in the 1980s with Browny when we using
stumps instead of bats….in the midst of hurrying through for a single the sharp end of the stump lodged
into the ground and the other end embedded itself in Browny’s thigh causing a bad open wound. In his
typical fashion he was unfazed and went off with Kel Rogers for stitches whilst other players were dry
reaching…tough as nails Browny..’ (Gill Chapman – Valley Life Member and former run scoring record
holder)

To categorise Browny’s achievements in solely VDCC terms over the last 27 years would be an injustice.
He was an accomplished Rugby League player playing 1st grade for Wests in the mid eighties (pre Broncos
era). He also gained representation in the Australian Public Service rugby league side in 1985 and 1987.

………And of course his greatest achievement was being married to Deb in 1996 and having Kaidyn and
Tayla.

As the renowned coach Peter Philpott once wrote, you owe it to your team to display the full array of shots
once you have your eye in. In the world of G Brown ‘the ball you let go is the ball that doesn’t go for four’.
You have to love it!!

Cheers Browny.
                                 60 seconds with the man
Memories of first game with VDCC:

Under 18’s at New Farm Park and Hilda Rd State School – quite an eye opener New Farm Park for an 18
year old. Parents had to make sure there were no vagrants hanging around the change rooms before we
went in.

Most memorable VDCC innings:

I have a couple – my first 1st grade one day hundred against Toombul in 1987/88 and my hundred in the 2nd
grade Grand Final v Uni in 2003/04

Most memorable premiership:

2nd grade Final in 2003/04, we had lost 3 or 4 finals before that plus numerous semi finals by narrow
margins. This meant a lot to a number of the players in that side. The fact I scored runs also makes it more
memorable for me.

Most influential people during your VDCC career:

Terry Khan in the early years instilled a good work ethic in all players. Michael Ephraims was a similar
character who demanded 110% at all times whether at training or in a game. He always stated the
importance of training in all parts of the game, not just in any single facet. And Gill Chapman who has
showed over many years the importance of being a part of a club like VDDC by still being an active
playing member.

Best player you have played with or against:

Obviously Matthew Hayden, first playing with Matthew in 2nd grade as a teenager and than watching him
become one of the best Test opening batsmen of all time has been a pleasure to watch.

The team and/or players you most looked forward to playing:

I’ve always had a good run against University over the years so I would say they would be the team I look
forward to playing the most….. plus they are generally a good bunch of guys to boot.

It was always fun and a challenge to play against the State players when they came back to grade cricket
such as Broad, Gaskell, Trimble, McDermott, Rackermann, Bichel, Kasperwicz and others.

Funniest moment on the field:

We were playing a 1st grade one-dayer against Sandgate-Redcliffe at Peter Easton Oval, Sandgate were
batting and the batsmen hit a ball into the gap at covers. Due to recent poor weather the grass had not been
cut in the outfield and when Geoff Acton turned to chase he lost sight of where the ball had gone. The
batsmen kept running as players searched frantically for the ball in the grass. Shane Beckey eventually
found the ball after coming up from fine leg to help search, the batsmen went on to run six from a shot that
finished no further than 30 metres from the stumps.
The biggest change you have seen in grade cricket over the years:

In the 80’s and early 90’s grade cricket was very strong due to the fact that the state and test players,
certainly the state players played a lot more club cricket than players of today. This created a very
competitive 1st grade competition with much higher quality all round teams. As the game has become more
professional and players earn more money they seem to participate less in grade cricket, whether this is to
prolong their careers or because they play a lot more cricket I don’t know. Certainly the player of today is a
lot fitter than those of the past and there is no doubt they train a hell of lot more.

In 50 words or less how do you like to approach the game:

I’ve always been a player who prefers to take the aggressive approach when batting, sometimes it comes
off others times it doesn’t. I have no doubt it costs me places in teams over the years but I’ve always been
one to let batsman play their natural games. I always play to win games as I feel draws don’t do the game
any favours. Past captains like Terry Khan and Michael Ephraims instilled a win at all cost attitude in me
which I’ve carried on through the years.

Hopes for the future:

We have had a lot of success fast tracking younger players into grade cricket over the past few years, I
would like to see that continue. And hopefully I can hang on for another 5 years or so and play a game of
grade cricket with my son Kaidyn who also seems to have habit of hitting the ball in the air.
                                                 The Stats

2 Day Saturday competitions
(as at 31 December 2008)

Career Totals


Matches Innings      N.O.         Runs    H/S   Average Overs   Mdns   Runs   Wickets   Average Catches

292        358       17           10322   164   30.27   168     20     697    16        43.56   172 / 1 s

(12 x 100’s)

1st grade (1983 – 2002)

51         56        5            883     71    17.31   1       1      0      0         -       23
    nd
2 grade (1983 – 2007)

140        179       7            5084    145   29.56   102     11     441    11        40.09   71 / 1s

3rd grade (1983 – current)

82         101       4            3597    164   37.08   29      4      123    2         61.50   63

4th grade (1982 - 1983)

1          2         0            24      19    12.00                                           1

Under 18 (1982 – 1984)

18         20        1            734     120   38.63   38      4      151    3         50.33   14




Sunday limited overs competitions
(as at 31 December 2008)

Career Totals


Matches Innings N.O.              Runs    H/S   Average Overs   Mdns   Runs   Wickets Average Catches

81         78        2            2094    153   27.55   12      0      94     2         47.00   32 / 1s

(3 x 100’s)

1st grade one day (1985 – 2004)

48         46        1            1030    120   22.89   1       0      7      0         -       16


Open Age Grade (1998 – 1999)

1          1         0            5       5     5.00
Over 40 grade (2005 – 2008)

5         5          0         219   95    43.80   5   0   29   0   -       1

2020 1st grade (2006 – 2009)

5          4         0         134   74    33.50                            1
2020 3rd grade (2007 – 2008)

4         4          1         126   44    42.00                            2

Under 19 grade (1982 – 1985)

18        18         0         580   153   32.22   6   0   58   2   29.00   12 / 1s

				
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