The Gregorys

Published: 1994
Pages: 24
Author: Pollard, Jack
Publisher: Playbill
Rating: 3.5 stars

It’s unclear as to why this little publication was produced. It doesn’t appear to have been part of a series or to celebrate an anniversary to do with the Gregorys’ or the SCG (the full title is The Gregorys’ – Great S.C.G. Tradition). Still in 24 pages, which includes a number of illustrations, Pollard is able to provide some interesting facts mainly about the four family members who played Test cricket.

At the end of the book there is a pic of Ian Chappell unveiling a new gravestone for Dave Gregory. The monument was possible due to public donations, and was unveiled in 1993. So perhaps that was the reason for this little booklet.

It’s fitting that one of the Chappell clan unveiled the new tombstone for Dave Gregory. It must be between the Gregorys and the Chappells (including grandfather Vic Richardson) as to which lineage ranks as the number one Australian cricket family.

After reading Pollard’s little book you may well be learning towards the Gregorys for the title. Four Test batsmen, two Test captains and representations in the Australian team for over 30 years. There were also a number of other Gregorys who played at first class level.   

Having read the Gregorys you’ll be wondering why none have earned a full *biography. Dave was the first Australian captain and if he hadn’t declined the honour he would have been the first Australian cricketing knight and not Sir Donald Bradman. His brother Ned, played in just the one Test, but was the first curator at the SCG and also invented the modern scoreboard that became prevalent on all Australian grounds.

Ned’s son, Syd Gregory, played more Ashes Tests than any other player and was actually born on the SCG. His story was perhaps the most interesting. We learn amongst other things that at one point he was bankrupted and, at just 5 foot 3 inches, ‘Tich’ was one of the smallest Test cricketers there have been.

The last Test representative we learn about is Syd’s cousin, Jack, who never wore batting gloves and was a true all rounder; a devastating fast bowler, hard hitting batsmen and a fine slip fieldsman.

The Gregorys, despite its rather modest size, is an informative read and well worth securing. After reading it you too might agree that the Gregorys are the first cricketing family of Australia.

I grew up reading Jack Pollard, who was a prolific cricket writer. Some of his books are considered classics of Australian cricket literature. Six and Out is still the best anthology and his Australian Cricket the Game and The Players is the finest cricket encyclopaedia. Pollard had an entertaining writing style and a good eye for anecdotes, although his fact checking could be notoriously sloppy.

His prolific and ground breaking writing on the game of cricket made Jack Pollard the ideal person to have his name associated with the award for the best Australian cricket book. The Jack Pollard Trophy has been presented since 1984 with Gideon Haigh having won the award the most, with seven trophies.

*I once proof read a few chapters on a book about the Gregory clan. It was by Stuart Wark, who was writing for Cricinfo and briefly for CricketWeb. Hopefully if he sees this he can let us know what happened to his Gregorys’ project.

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