Photo Credit: Cricket NSW
Cricket NSW is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former NSW captain, Warren Saunders OAM, who died this morning in the presence of his family, aged 88.
Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon, paid tribute to the man who, in 1955, earned NSW Blues cap number 497 and in 1977 was made a Life Member of Cricket NSW.
“Cricket NSW would like to extend to Warren’s family our sincere condolences,” Germon said.
“Cricket in this State has lost an outstanding servant of the game, but we are all far richer for benefiting from Warren’s enormous contribution as a player and administrator over many decades.
“On the field, Warren was highly respected by his teammates and captained the State with his well-known desire for positive cricket. Off the field he was a source of knowledge and was always willing to mentor younger cricketers.”
A right-hand batsman, Saunders made his First-Class debut in the 1955/56 season, in a famous match at the SCG in November 1955 when Keith Miller took 7/12 and Pat Crawford 3-14, to dismiss South Australia for 27. New South Wales had batted first and Saunders top scored with 66, and in the second innings he scored 31 of the 1-67 New South Wales needed for outright victory.
In all, he played 35 first-class matches for New South Wales (1955/56 – 1964/65) and in 55 innings he scored 1701 runs at 32.71. His highest score was 98, one of his 11 half-centuries. He captained New South Wales twice, in 1962/63.
Warren’s 11 half-centuries is the most without a century by a New South Wales player. He scored 87 and 98 in one match, against Victoria in January 1964. In another match he made 78 batting with a hand swollen by a bee sting.
He later served as a State selector, team manager and on the board of Cricket NSW. He also represented on the board of the then Australian Cricket Board of Control.
In Premier Cricket, Saunders was a product of the St George DCC, where he played three years of AW Green Shield before quickly progressing to First Grade.
At age 24 he assumed the team’s captaincy and in his 14 years at the helm, led the team to five premierships, on three occasions finishing as runners up. In the same period the club won seven Club Championships, finishing runners up three times. He still holds the club record for the most runs in First Grade with 10,952. In his last season he scored 782 runs @ 48.8. Still at the top of his game.
Off the field, Warren Saunders was affectionately known as ‘Mr St George’, having served St George DCC on their committee for 37 years, including 10 as president, then as patron for the last thirty years.
He was a wonderful mentor and support to players, young and old, and it’s fitting that this week five St George DCC players are in the NSW Sheffield Shield squad to play Victoria in Albury.
His impact on the St George DCC and local area was such that in 2018 book written, by John Rogers, titled “Mr St George” – Warren Saunders and the culture of success he inspired was published.