Tigers of old recall glory days

TREMENDOUS MEMORIES: Stewart Forbes, Gary Burston, Bill Dethmore and John Hughes share what they described as tremendous memories of the 1970 North Gambier cricket premiership.

By Trevor Jackson

MEMORIES flooded back at the Mount Gambier Community RSL last week when four former North Gambier cricketers celebrated 50 years since their last premiership together.

Skipper John Hughes, Gary Burston, Billy Dethmore and Stewart Forbes caught up to reminisce about the 1970 grand final victory over West Gambier.

Apart from the usual banter associated with such a gathering, Burston and Dethmore had not seen each other since that grand final, despite both living in the Limestone Coast.

Forbes – a former police officer – had gone away to Moomba in the mid-1970s, returning years later.

Both Forbes and Hughes have since moved into Mount Gambier’s Hallmont Estate and together hatched the plan to catch up with Burston and Dethmore and simply went from there.

With the grand final now 50 years in the past, it was amusing to see the banter between the four former players.

As the captain, batsman and bowler, Hughes shared some of his memories, which did not quite match up with some others.

“We played West Gambier in the final and beat them,” he said.

“In the semi-final we played Kongorong and I made 150 that day.”

“Stop (fibbing),” came a colourful reply from wicketkeeper/batsman Dethmore.

After some laughter, Hughes continued.

“In the grand final Gary (opening bat) fell in a hole, I fell in a hole and Billy was our salvation really.

“We made about 150 – we were struggling then got on top of West.

“Stewart (fast bowler) got a few wickets – he was one of our opening bowlers.”

Dethmore suggested Forbes claimed five scalps that day, a statistic Hughes was not sold on.

Regardless, the memories flowed.

“We are about the only four left in Mount Gambier from that team 50 years ago,” Hughes said.

“It is one of those great memories we have.”

Burston recalled it was the last game for North Gambier in its then form, with the club amalgamating with Wandilo the following season to become North Sportsman’s.

It was also the last game for Hughes for a few seasons in the North strip, as he had been transferred to Kalangadoo for work and moved clubs after the premiership victory.

While it was a small gathering at the RSL club, all agreed they were tremendous memories to share.