This is the last in a four part series I’ve done on unsuccessful Queensland Sheffield Shield Cricket campaigns of the 1970s – ones where we came second. The summer of 1977-78 was crucial in that it showed we could choke without Greg Chappell just as well.
The was the first summer of World Series Cricket – so it was a Sheffield Shield without fifteen top players, which is a big hole to fill.
Queensland lost Greg Chappell and Martin Kent, and would’ve lost Jeff Thomson too but his employer, radio station 4IP, refused to let him go so that was good.
Queensland had some solid players, including two Ashes tourists who had been ignored by World Series Cricket – Geoff Dymock and Gary Cosier (Cosier had been enticed by north by 4IP) – plus solid performers from previous years (John Maclean, Malcolm Francke, Phil Carlson), promising newbies (Trevor Hohns, David Ogilvie) and an overseas export: Alvin Kallicharran (on a $10 a run retainer).
4IP also employed Geoff Dymock (who’d considered an offer to play in Tasmania – he was on $50 a wicket) and tried to entice Craig Serjeant (who turned it down).
So in terms of team balance we hadn’t suffered as much as other states. John Maclean, reappointed captain of Queensland in Chappell’s absence, said “With Jeff Thomson and Geoff Dymock as the spearheads, backed by Gary Cosier, Phil Carlson and the spinners, we have the best attach in the competition.”
First Shield game of the summer was against Victoria. Greg Chappell said he “was shocked and deeply hurt” by his omission from the time. David Ogilvie surprised the hell out of everyone by scoring 194 off 219 balls in our first innings of 401. Victoria scored 242 (Thommo 5-96), Maclean enforced the follow on and dismissed them for 273, and we chased down 115 in poor light for the loss of two wickets (Ogilvie 53 off 58 balls) with 20 balls to spare. Queensland earned 25 points – 10 for the outright win, ten batting bonus points and five bonus points. WA were ahead of them on 26 points but they had played two games.
Game two was against WA. Queensland made 332 (Ogilvie 109!), WA 315 (Serjeant 140, Thommo 5-84), we made 7-392 (Kallicharran 86, Cosier 55), setting WA 410 to win… Game ended in a draw.
South Australia were next. We batted first, scored 5-300 (Ogilvie 100), they made 291 (Thommo 3-91, Carlson 3-68), Queensland made 9-297 (Carlson 110) and South Australia were gone for 172 (Graham Whyte 4-62).
It was promising – Greg Chappell was gone but Ogilvie was stepping up, Malcolm Francke only played the one game but Graham Whyte stepped up, and Carlson did better in Chappell’s absence.
When Australia’s team for the first Test was selected it included three Queenslanders, Cosier, Ogilvie and Thomson.
Queensland played India at the Gabba. The Indians thrashed us by an innings and 123 runs – they made 8-353 and dismissed Queensland for 119 and 111.
Anyway the Shield table was headed by WA (66 points) then Queensland (52 points) and NSW on 39.
Queensland played New South Wales led by Bob Simpson. We got 233 (Carlson 68), NSW were 274 (Dymock 3-77), Queensland responded with 8-378 (Kallicharran 129, Maclean 97) and we dismissed NSW for 205 (Thommo 5-70).
A the end of the year the table was Victoria (73 points from five games), Queensland (70 from four) and WA (65 from four). Then WA beat South Australia to go to 88 points.
After a break, Queensland played NSW. Got them for 275 (Dymock 4-80), made 305 (Max Walters 122, Ogilvie 104), NSW made 181 (Thommo 4-48), Queensland chased down 152 for the loss of wickets. This was worth 21 points, meaning we trailed WA only by seven points on the table.
Then things got depressing.
We lost Thommo and Cosier flor the rest of the season to go on the West Indies tour. At least we had Ogilvie who had been overlooked.
The non selection of him, John Maclean and Graham Whyte (!) from the Australian squad prompted the Queensland Cricket Association to move a vote of no confidence in the Australian selectors and state selector Tom Veivers threatened to select World Series Cricketers Greg Chappell and Martin Kent for the last games.
It didn’t happen – maybe it should have.
Queensland then played WA. Their captain John Inverarity said “Queensland have no outstanding players in their team.” Queensland coach Ken Mackay snapped back: “If Ogilvie, Whyte, Carlson and Maclean himself are not outstanding players them I’m the world’s greatest footballer.”
WA made 272 (Dymock 4-76), we scored 343 (Carlson 107), they declared at 5-252, setting us 182 to win in 15 overs, and we were 4-53 when the game ended.
WA were now on 122 points with two games to play followed by Queensland on 94 with three games to play. Victoria was equal second with them.
Disappointing. Especially as it was Kallicharran’s last game (he was required for the test series against Australia).
But not as disappointing as what followed…
Queensland played Victoria. We batted first, and were dismissed for 155 – someone called Colin Corstorphin took 5-60. Victoria made 251 (Maguire 6-62) and we were up against it but… no!
Queensland put on 363 (Ogilvie 106, Hurst 8-84), setting Victoria 268 to win. And we got them down to 7-134… but then somehow, isn’t there always a somehow, Victoria rallied – Mick Taylor, in his first class debut, and bowler Jack Douglas, added 123 runs for the eighth wicket and Victoria won by two wickets.
What was it with Queensland after Christmas?
WA were on 129 points, Victoria on 113 points and Queensland on 99 points. But those teams had just one game to play while Queensland had two.
Still a chance…
Queensland played Tasmania – in their first season in the Shield. We declared at 5-329 (Ogilvie 168), got them for 339 (Dymock 4-65), declared on 9-236 (Whyte 76) leaving Tasmania 227 to win. At 5-60 Queensland were on target to win, but Tasmania hung on to draw at 6-105.
WA beat Victoria – going to 147 points, a Shield record and clinching the Shield. Queensland moved to 110 points.
Queensland played SA at the Gabba. We batted first, declared at 8-387 (Langley 102, Carlson 82)… but South Australia dug in and made 8-389 (Causby 115, Sleep 105).
In their second innings Queensland made 268 (Ogilvie 69), setting South Australia 267 to win. It was a thrilling game… we got them 5-178, then 6-197, 7-204, 8-213, 9-227 and…. They held on for a draw.
WA won with 147 points, Queensland second with 121 points, Victoria third (117).
Ogilvie’s non selection on the 1978 West Indies tour meant he was able to take his Shield tally for the season past 1,000 runs (he eventually joined the tour due to injury),
A funny season 1977-78. We had a very good team on paper. Ogilvie was magnificent. Ditto Dymock (why didn’t he play more tests?) Maclean. Carlson had a splendid season. And Whyte.
And yet… we couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t do it. And would continue to not do it until 1994-95.