Randy Petes Builds on Solid Innings
Local Cricket Club Randwick Petersham will not only celebrate its 20th season this year, but they will also do so as defending champions of the Belvedere Cup.
The club, a local community fixture that is partially based at Coogee Oval, has over 250 years of combined cricket history in Sydney.
The first grade Randwick Petersham team was unable to play the Belvedere Cup final due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, they finished the season 11 points in front of the next team, head and shoulders above the competition.
Club CEO John Stewart said he was excited to go into their 20th season on top.
“It’s pretty special to go into our 20th year as defending champions, we’re really pleased about that,” Mr Stewart told The Beast.
Randwick and Petersham cricket clubs amalgamated in 2001 and began a new era of leadership under former Australian Test Cricketer Mike Whitney.
Looking back on the past twenty years, Mr Whitney says he is proud of what the club has accomplished.
“The club’s been really successful in its first nineteen seasons. Every grade’s won a premiership and we’ve produced players that have gone on to play for New South Wales and Australia,” Mr Whitney told The Beast.
As an entity in the Randwick and Petersham communities, we’re very strong and we play our part, and I’m really proud of that.”
Club players include Jason Sangha, David Warner, and Jason Sams, as well as Whitney himself, who played for the club from 1976-1994 and credits the club as the launching pad of his cricket career.
After a successful career in test cricket, Whitney had a strong desire to return to where it all began.
“I thought, without your grade club and their support and help, you don’t get a chance to play for New South Wales, and without playing for your state you don’t get the chance to play for Australia, and that’s sometimes forgotten,” Mr Whitney said.
While the club has a strong community presence and grass-roots focus, it is also unique as the only premier club in Sydney with a link to an international side. Randwick Petersham is partnered with Cricket Ireland and has had many Irish players represent the club including their current captain Andrew Balbirnie. The club also played a warm-up game against the Irish team before the Cricket World Cup in 2015.
Randwick Petersham’s 20th season will not be a typical one, with both the start of play and their celebratory gala dinner postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, Mr Stewart said the club is entering this season with a clear vision for the years to come.
“We’re definitely looking at the club from multiple perspectives, providing the best facilities we can so that we can provide the best environment for our players to train and perform,” he told The Beast.
“We’re really grateful for the support of the local councils, Randwick and Inner West, getting our practice facilities at Snape Park up to a high standard and preserving the historic pavilions at Coogee and Petersham Ovals.”
Following the explosion of women’s cricket, the club is also looking at establishing its first women’s side in 2021.
After twenty years as president, Mr Whitney is sure that running a club is truly a team sport.
“The club has only been really strong and successful because of a really strong committee that is dedicated and willing to give its time,” he told The Beast.
“I hope that when I step down the foundation stones are firmly in place for a long, long time. Twenty years isn’t too long – these past twenty have gone by in a flash – and I want it to still be going in 100 years.”