It is with deep regret that we advise of the passing of life member Bryan Hazell at the age of 88 last Friday. Bryan was instrumental in the formation of the Club and was a member of the first 1st Grade team that played St.George on 25 September 1965. His passing leaves only four members of that inaugural side still living – Bob Bain, Stan Gilchrist, Don Harkness and Grant Le Huray.
Bryan started his grade cricket career as a 14-year-old when he was called up to the Petersham 3rd Grade side in the 1942-43 season. He played for Petersham for three seasons before a check of his residential qualifications meant that he had to move to the Marrickville club. He played six seasons for Marrickville before the two clubs merged to form Petersham-Marrickville in 1951-52. He played a further 13 seasons for the merged club until 1963-64. During that time, he played in three 1st Grade premiership teams, in 1954-55, 1955-56 & 1961-62. Among his teammates in the 1954-55 team was a young Bob Simpson. In one match against Central Cumberland in 1961-62, he hit five successive boundaries off Richie Benaud, before Benaud bowled him with a flipper for 87. In his 22 seasons for the three clubs, Bryan scored a total of 7724 runs, including 3823 in 1st Grade & 2920 in 2nd Grade.
In 1964, the NSW Cricket Association was seriously considering the admission of a grade club from the Sutherland Shire. By this time, Bryan was living in the Shire and the Association felt that it would be beneficial for the proposed new club if Bryan were to transfer to the existing Sutherland Shire DCC that was playing in the Municipal & Shires competition and help with the formation of the new grade club. He duly did so and played the 1964-65 season in the “A” Shires team, as well as joining the steering committee that was charged with the establishment of the new club. When Sutherland DCC was officially formed on 30 June 1965, Bryan became the inaugural Deputy President.
Due to his previous grade cricket experience, Bryan was selected in the inaugural 1st Grade team in 1965-66 and served as Norm O’Neill’s vice-captain, filling in as captain in seven matches when Norm was away playing for NSW. He then dropped down to the lower grades the following season and captained various teams in 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grades over the next seven seasons till 1972-73. He filled in in a few matches in 1973-74 and then captained 5th Grade in the 1974-75 season, before filling in for a couple of matches in his last season in 1975-76 – 34 years after he first played for Petersham. In all, Bryan played 130 matches for Sutherland and scored 4189 runs, giving him a total of 11913 runs scored in grade cricket for his four clubs. He captained in 95 matches for the Club, in all grades from 1st to 5th Grades.
After the Club’s first season, Bryan took over as President and held that position for 10 years until the end of the 1975-76 season. He then stepped back to Deputy President for two seasons under the new President Alan Cramond before retiring from the Committee at the end of the 1977-78 season. Bryan also served as one of the Club’s two delegates to the NSWCA from 1965-66 to 1977-78. During that time, he served on the Grade Committee (which was the forerunner of the current SCA Committee of Management) for a number of years. Bryan was made a Life Member of SDCC in 1972 and a Life Member of NSWCA in 1977.
In retirement, Bryan and his wife Doreen moved to the Gold Coast; however, he maintained a close interest in the Club’s fortunes and often used to catch up with me in the Cricket NSW room at the SCG Test each January. He was delighted to be able to attend the Club’s 50th Anniversary Dinner at Doltone House in March 2015 with three of his grandsons. He was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours List in 1996 “for service to cricket as a player and administrator”.
To Bryan’s wife Doreen, his daughters and his grandchildren, we extend our sincere sympathies. Bryan played a significant role in the Club’s formation and early years and we pay tribute to that contribution.