MCC Members’ Lounge
Saturday January 10, 2015
The Jim Stynes Room was once again a hive of activity as MCC members and their guests descended on the MCG for another fantastic MCC Members’ Lounge on January 10.
More than 100 people enjoyed the top-class facilities and prime location of the Jim Stynes Room to take in the energy and excitement of the Stars v Renegades match, as the two Melbourne teams battled to take the points in their Twenty20 Big Bash League clash. The room was full of excitement as the game came down to the final ball with a controversial victory awarded to the Melbourne Stars.
Included in the function package were beverages, a delicious grazing menu and mouth-watering dessert station. Some lucky attendees also walked away with some great door prizes. These functions are a great way for members and guests to mingle with each other and enjoy a great night out in Melbourne.
Keep an eye out for further Members’ Lounge functions throughout the 2015 football season.
Women in Cricket Test Breakfast
Saturday December 27, 2014
This year’s Women in Cricket Test Breakfast hit record numbers with just under 450 members and guests in attendance. In wonderful surrounds, those in attendance were treated to a fantastic breakfast and entertainment.
Hosted once again by Angela Pippos, members and guests were treated to an interview with Southern Stars captain, Meg Lanning who gave a wonderful insight into the challenges of captaining the Australian women’s team and the tribulation of victory at last year’s World Cup.
This was followed by a frank and personal interview with Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland who spoke honestly about the difficult time surrounding the death of Phil Hughes. He paid particular gratitude to the Indian cricket team and administration for their patience and understanding throughout the uncertainty leading into the first test in Adelaide.
James also spoke passionately about Cricket Australia’s commitment to the promotion and development of the game for female participants. The success of the Southern Stars has no doubt helped increase the profile of women’s cricket at the elite level and with over 200,000 female participants at the grass roots level, which is about 22% of the game’s total participants; women’s cricket is looking strong. The challenge that Cricket Australia now face is continued participation beyond the primary school years.
He concluded with a proud dad moment telling those in attendance about his daughter Annabel’s recent wicket haul in an U/15 match between Victoria and NSW where she took 5/2. Annabel, in the room, received a rousing applause.
Ravi Shastri took to the microphone just after breakfast and immediately had an impact. He answered questions with great passion, honesty and at times, humour.
He spoke about the young Indian team that is touring this year and how his message to them was to bring the right mindset to playing overseas. Shastri strongly believes that to play well whilst touring, a team must want to play overseas and embrace the country’s conditions. He said his young team an only learn from their experience this year.
Pippos posed the question as to whether the IPL was having a negative impact on the Indian Test team and that some members of the media believe it is more important to Indian cricket players than representing their country. Shastri was quick to defend that notion but did say that IPL was the injection the cricket needed. He said that it has brought a new audience to the game, both in attendance and in the media and in turn additional money to the game which Shastri says filters into the future development of test cricketers as well.
The function finished with its traditional auction to assist the WOMCC raise money for their 2015 charity and once again was well supported by those in attendance with over $4,500 raised.
We look forward to another great breakfast in 2015.
Boxing Day Breakfast
Friday December 26, 2014
On a brilliant sunny morning in Melbourne, 490 members and their guests attended the clubs traditional Boxing Day Breakfast in the Members Dining Room.
Hosted by affable former Test bowler Damien Fleming, the morning commenced with a visit from MCC Head Curator David Sandurski who gave us a pitch report prior to the biggest day on the MCG’s cricketing calendar. Comedian Rusty Berther and his trusty guitar then warmed the crowd up with his satirical songs and musings on test cricket.
After a wonderful cooked breakfast Richard Cashman, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney joined Damien on stage to give us an insight into his latest book, which is a wonderful recollection of the life and times of Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth, famous for taking the first-ever Test Match hat-trick at the MCG in 1879. Richard explained how the reaction to Spofforth’s hat-trick was not surrounded by the fan-fare that surrounds the accomplishment now, with the feat only being reported in the papers as purely a ‘‘three-wicket innings’’ from Spofforth.
The crowd was then to be regaled by our guest speaker for the morning, former Test-bowling great Glenn McGrath. The rapport between the former team-mates Fleming and McGrath set the scene for a wonderful Q & A segment. The pair took pleasure in reliving their cricketing accomplishments with a humorous slant, McGrath taking us through the morning he achieved his 300th test wicket and hat-trick in the same occasion at the WACA Ground against the West Indies.
Fleming made McGrath, who was never renowned for his batting ability; reflect on some of his greatest batting accomplishments as opposed to his bowling feats.
One of his favourite batting partnerships he explained was here at the MCG with Mike Hussey, where they put on 111 for the 11th wicket, Hussey making over 100 and Glenn contributing with a ‘’solid’’ 11. He gave us an insight into a batsmen’s dislike for seeing ducks anywhere prior to batting due to their unfortunate association with a score in cricket. One particular morning during a GABBA test match he was joined for a warm-up swim by the likes of Gilchrist, Clarke and Hayden, as well as bowling counterpart Jason Gillespie. After being greeted by a flock of ducks on the pool during their morning swim the batsmen were nervous it would mean a doomed day at the crease for them. As McGrath came in at 11 that day he then recounted as he went out to the middle seeing his team mates prepare to head out into the field on the change of innings, not having much faith in McGrath’s batting ability and the length of time he would spend at the crease. He then went on to make his maiden test-match fifty and a score of 61, batting with Jason Gillespie who also on that occasion made his maiden test-fifty. Glenn continued to look for ducks throughout his career believing they were a good-luck charm for him.
McGrath then gave a gentle ribbing to his batting colleagues being able to raise their bats on making 50, and 100 for recognition from the crowd. He couldn’t believe there was no tradition for the bowlers, no matter how many wickets they took. It was on an Ashes tour in England where the ‘’fast-bowling cartel’’ of McGrath, Fleming, Gillespie and Kasprowicz decided that the bowler would raise the ball in the air when taking a five-for which has remained into the game today, McGrath being the first to reach the achievement at Lords that tour.
Fleming questioned McGrath as to the batsmen who he used to target and try to get out every time he bowled against them. In particular one of his targets being Michael Atherton who he played against in 18 test matches and dismissed 19 times. He recalled the last time he played against ‘'Athers’’ in 2001 in what was Atherton’s retirement match at the Oval in England. As Atherton left the field that day being caught off the bowling of McGrath again, McGrath actually admitted to this time being the only time he felt sorry for a batsman on the field.
McGrath and Fleming then reflected on some of the lighter moments they had experienced on tour over the years, some wonderful stories touring with David Boon were the highlight.
McGrath then gave us his opinion on the current crop of young Australian fast bowlers coming through, such as Josh Hazlewood and Ryan Harris who he is particularly impressed with. McGrath talked of his immense pride to present Hazlewood with his Baggy Green in Brisbane at the previous Test Match.
In closing the crowd were given an insight into McGrath’s current involvement with the game and two things he said upon retirement he would never do, become a commentator and coach of which he is now doing both. McGrath also commented on his continued involvement with the McGrath Foundation, something very close to his heart.
Nine lucky attendees then received lucky door prizes at the conclusion of the Breakfast, taking home wine, chocolate gift packs and books.
The candour at which the mornings interviews were conducted meant the breakfast was again cemented as one of our most popular and enjoyable functions. We look forward to a fantastic function in 2015.
Monday December 15, 2014
On a warm night in Melbourne, 300 members attended the Members Dining Room for the club’s annual black-tie Members’ Dinner, our traditional welcome to the cricket season.
On completion of pre-dinner drinks and canapés in the Long Room, members were greeted by the beautiful sounds of the violin and classical guitar as they walked the red carpet in the Members Dining Room, which set a wonderful tone for the night’s proceedings.
Consummate professional and cricket aficionado, Tim Lane, hosted the evening’s proceedings which began with MCC Vice-President and Chairman of Cricket, David Crow proposing the loyal toast.
After a formal welcome from MCC President Paul Sheahan, entree was served among the thoughtful musings of many members who also were commencing the evening’s cricket trivia quiz at their tables.
Following entree, Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide was invited to take the stage to propose the evening’s toast to cricket. Tony spoke of cricket and the opportunities it can provide, the games recent adaptability with the introduction of shorter forms of the game, and the entrenched sense of community cricket can foster – particularly given the challenging times most recently faced and the support networks throughout the cricket community which were exhibited during this time. He took us through the personal opportunities cricket has provided to him, from a young boy growing up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs playing grade cricket for Footscray, to being presented with baggy green cap number 343 in 1987, to serving as the Head of Cricket at the Marylebone Cricket Club which led to afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth in the grounds of Windsor Castle. All of things eventuating through his devotion to the game of cricket and the pathways it has provided.
In a sentiment which resonated throughout the evening he proposed his toast to the essence of the spirit of cricket and reminded us all that through change, courage and respect is required whether on the sporting field or within communities.
The evening’s respondent to Dodmeaide’s toast was esteemed Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, who has been referred to as the “Richie Benaud” of Indian commentary. Tim Lane, having known and worked with Harsha extensively over his career, introduced him with a wonderful quipping of Harsha’s introduction to the commentary team 23 years ago when an ominously arranged late call up led to Harsha’s introduction to the Australian public through ABC Grandstand.
Harsha spoke of his emotional connection to Australia and the home-like feel it has for him on his visits here, mainly he believes due to the influence through his commentary partners, the likes of Kerry O’Keefe and Ian Chappell, who he credits as his inspired work ethic guru. Harsha engaged the crowd with his honest perceptions of cricket today. He believes with the strong emergence of competitions like the IPL, this has led to greater sense of community in the cricketing world, with many different individuals from across the globe drawn together by their love for cricket, yet having so much more in common despite cultural differences. He spoke of the resistance by some to the emergence of the short form game and passionately implored the crowd that while this form is different, it does not necessarily make it inferior. He encouraged viewers to open their minds to the newer aggressive styles, while not letting the history and passion of a day of Test match cricket change. He marvelled at the example this development of the game has had on someone like Steven Smith, whose shot selection through his highest test innings of 162 not out in Adelaide was a culmination of both tradition and emergence, in a beautiful Test match innings.
Harsha closed by echoing Tony’s sentiments from earlier in the night. Cricket has stood up as a sport
, and a necessity in our communities like never before in the recent weeks where it has been faced by one of its greatest tragedies. It has been invigorated and learnt to move forward with a wonderful renewed courage and respect for competitors and spectators, whether in the international arena or on a make-shift pitch in Mumbai, leaving us with the thoughts that the spirit of cricket must be embraced in all forms of the game for its ongoing success.
All attendees thoroughly enjoyed the insight both Tony and Harsha were able to provide and we now look forward to a fantastic Boxing Day Test.