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November 24, 2011
DON Bradman scored three con-
secutive centuries on the main
cricket oval at RAAF Base
Richmond in 1945 and nothing
is likely to bump that off in a hurry as
a talking point.
But RAAF Richmond Cricket
Club (RRCC) does have something
new to spruik.
It has a new roller.
No, not that kind of roller.
This one is a heavy, vibrating
compact roller that is used to prepare
wickets at the Richmond ground
behind the Officers' Mess and adja-
cent to the base gym, and is the latest
chapter in the club's rich history.
Of indeterminate age and origin,
the two-tonne roller had been left to
rust outside a machinery workshop
for nearly eight years -- until it was
rescued and restored in a remark-
able sequence of community support
topped off by a $5500 donation from
the RAAF Welfare Recreational
Commander Air Lift Group
AIRCDRE Gary Martin was among
cricket fans who gathered at the base
on October 27 to see the cheque
"This is a great day for RAAF
Base Richmond, and it shows that
the great spirit of can-do is alive and
well," AIRCDRE Martin said.
Club president SGT Ian Smith, of
285SQN, was delighted to accept the
contribution on behalf of the RRCC.
"Our club is basically self-funding,
and the costs of a new roller of around
$30,000 was far beyond our means,"
SGT Smith said.
Despite the club's success (it fields
three teams in a range of competi-
tions and these have won four prem-
ierships in the past eight years), it
lagged behind in the way the wickets
were prepared on its five-pitch centre
The club acquired its former roller
in the 1960s and until recently it was
towed behind a 4WD.
The new roller has had an immedi-
It has reduced the time required to
prepare the pitch each week from 15
hours to less than five hours.
And in the first round of the new
It seems the historical
tidbits just keep coming
for cricketers at RAAF
season, 710 runs were scored in the
second grade competition against
Bligh Park in the Hawkesbury District
SGT Smith is well versed in
Richmond's deep well of cricket his-
tory.In 2008, while playing for Air
Force in the International Defence
Cricket Carnival (IDCC) in Canberra,
he met the late SQNLDR Stan Sismey
who was the commanding officer of
the 1945 Australian Services Cricket
which played five Victory matches
against an England XI and then India,
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Australia.
The team was captained by WO2
On finding out SGT Smith was
president of the Richmond club,
SQNLDR Sismey, who was a guest
speaker at the IDCC, sought him out
in a break in play between Air Force
SQNLDR Sismey told SGT Smith
he had fond memories of playing at
"He told me as part of the prepara-
tion towards the tour, training was
conducted at Richmond and a series
of games were organised and played
at the base cricket oval," SGT Smith
"He said that in all three matches,
Sir Don scored a ton, which demoral-
ised the local competition."
It took three months to bring the
club's new roller back to life.
The club can only trace it back
to 2003 when it was found languish-
ing at the back of a shed at a Sydney
cricket club and sold as scrap metal.
The owner of the scrapping yard sold
it because he thought his uncle could
use it for spare parts at his workshop
at Windsor Machinery Company.
He didn't. It was forgotten and
stayed untouched, exposed to the ele-
ments until this year when G.W.S.
Machinery decided that it could be
brought back to life.
G.W.S Machinery provides
machinery support to many businesses
around the Hawkesbury District,
including Serco at Richmond.
When SGT Smith heard about the
roller, he organised a meeting with a
view to the club getting its hands on it.
"G.W.S. was aware of the club's
money restraints and agreed to pro-
vide labour and only bill for out-of-
pocket costs," SGT Smith said.
"Once this was arranged, a
proposal was put together and
forwarded to the RAAF Welfare
Recreational Company for con-
sideration. The company receives
numerous requests each year and
although not all are supported, it
was more than happy to support this
The RAAF Welfare Recreational
Company's primary role is the provi-
sion of discounted holiday facilities,
but it also supports Air Force sporting
associations and welfare clubs.
The restoration did not go off
without a hitch.
The roller's diesel engine had to be
stripped and rebuilt.
One of the pistons was found to
have a large hole in the crown and
the only way to salvage the engine
was to source a complete set of new
pistons, which had to be exported
A new canopy was built and,
finally, the roller was given a full
RRCC draws its members from
across airmen and officers from
37SQN, 1 Combat Communications
Squadron, 22SQN, Air Movements
Training and Development Unit,
176 Air Dispatch, Air Force
Improvement, 285SQN and 1
Airfield Operations Support
Squadron, including several mem-
bers who travel each weekend from
81WG at RAAF Base Williamtown.
For more information, contact SGT Smith
WINNING PITCH: RAAF
Richmond Cricket Club
president SGT Ian
Smith, right, accepts a
cheque for $5500 from
AIRCDRE Bob Rodgers
of the RAAF Welfare
for the purchase of the
roller. Photo: LAC David Said
BLAZING BAT: Left,
the day Don Bradman
scored one of his three
centuries, captured in
a souvenir photo, with
SQNLDR Stan Sismey
behind the wicket.
AIR Force golfers finished
second in the ACT inter-
service golf competition
at the Mollymook Hilltop
course from October
17-21, making a vast
improvement on their last
place finish in 2010.
Hot favourite APS won
the title for the third year
in a row, getting off to a
great start by beating Air
Force 8.5-2 in the first
The Air Force players
hit back in the second
round, thrashing Navy
7.5-3. In the final round
Air Force beat Army 6-4.5
in a tight tussle.
WOFF Brett Tassell,
who was playing in his
first ACT inter-service
competition, won all three
of his matches.
Navy finished third
while Army came last.
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