Brian Booth And Warren Saunders Tribute



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    BRIAN BOOTH AND WARREN SAUNDERS TRIBUTE
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    Mr GREENE (Georges River) [8.08 p.m.]: Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending a function at Hurstville Oval when Hurstville City Council named its new pavilion in honour of two cricketing greats, Mr Brian Booth and Mr Warren Saunders. The opening of the new VIP lounge and pavilion was a magnificent occasion, which was attended by many well-known international and State cricketing celebrities and representatives of the local community. It was an opportunity for the cricketing community to acknowledge the contribution these two great Australians have made to cricket in the St George area, New South Wales and Australia.

    I also had the pleasure of attending a tribute function organised by the St George District Cricket Club to again honour these two great Australians. The function, which was held on Friday 18 February at the St George League's Club, was another magnificent occasion when the greats of Australian cricket came together to pay tribute to these two men. That evening Richie Benaud, Arthur Morris, Alan Davidson, Frank Misson, Bob Simpson, Kerry O'Keefe, Gordon Rorke, Peter Philpott, Peter Burge, and many others came together to offer their tributes to these great Australians. Brian Booth played 29 tests for Australia in the early 1960s and averaged in excess of 40 runs per innings. In addition, he averaged over 40 in his career with New South Wales and also scored in excess of 10,000 runs for the St George District Cricket Club, also at an average of well over 40.

    My father used to tell me that Warren Saunders was the best opening batsman never to play for Australia. However, he certainly did captain New South Wales in the 1960s when New South Wales was by far the strongest cricketing State in Australia. Warren also scored in excess of 10,000 first grade runs for St George, also at over 40 runs per innings. In addition, Warren was captain of the first grade side in what could only be described as a golden era, and led them to five premierships in the 1960s, when, as well as Saunders and Booth, St George also had players of the calibre of Norm O'Neill, Bill Watson, Kerry O'Keefe, who were test players who automatically spring to mind as representing St George at that time.

    As well as their cricketing exploits, which were outlined in great detail on that night to a crowd of approximately 500 enthusiastic supporters of cricket, the real exploits of both Brian Booth and Warren Saunders cannot merely be recorded as cricketing exploits. Warren Saunders and Brian Booth have both made enormous contributions to their local community. Brian Booth was a schoolteacher. The Minister for Agriculture, and Minister for Land and Water Conservation tells me that Brian Booth taught him at Narwee Boys High School in the Minister's youth, and Warren Saunders went into the insurance business and established a very successful insurance brokerage firm. These two gentlemen have gone out of their way to devote considerable amounts of their time to the local community and those who are perhaps disadvantaged. Certainly they have made an enormous contribution in ensuring that future generations of young cricketers have been tutored well in the basics of the great game of cricket.

    These facts were very much highlighted on the evening of 18 February. The mixed crowd there was extremely enthusiastic in their support of these two great men. When we look at the contributions that people have made to our society, we evaluate them in many ways. Warren Saunders and Brian Booth are great family men, and they have been great supporters of the St George Cricket Club, both now as patrons, both having served 10 years as president of the club, and in the great contributions they both have made to cricket. But they have also made great contributions to the youth of our district and, very generously, to community organisations. It was a privilege for me to be able to attend both functions to honour these two great Australians.