Johnny Martin Oval named CRICKET royalty

Johnny Martin Oval named

CRICKET royalty descended on Taree on Wednesday, January 11, 1989 when the Johnny Martin Oval at Taree Park was officially named.

This coincided with a Tooheys Cup match between Taree and Port Macquarie that featured future Australian captain Mark Taylor, test allrounder Greg Matthews and State skipper Greg Dyer. However, a golden oldies match featuring some of Johnny Martin's contemporaries was also organised to mark the occasion. Alan Davidson, Brian Booth Ian Craig and John Benaud were among those who took part in teams skippered by Martin and Doug Walters.

It was a big week for Martin the Manning's only test cricket representative as he was feted at a testimonial dinner the night before naming of the oval.

"I've scored tries, taken wickets and scored centuries on this oval,'' he said before a big crowd at the naming ceremony.

"But I've never felt so much emotion walking on to a cricket field as today. I cannot thank the people of the Manning and from further afield enough.

"I also thank Ald Ray Green for the initial thought of naming this oval and the unanimous support of council.''

Council adopted a mayoral minute from the then mayor, Ald Ray Green, in January 1988 to name the oval in John Martin's honour, Mick McDonald reported.

"Johnny Martin is a worthy son of the Manning,'' Ald Green told the crowd at the naming.

Mayor Ald Ralph Metcalfe said Martin's outstanding achievements in cricket remains on of the keys to fostering the game among young people in this area.

Then in his late 50s, Martin was still playing in the Manning B-grade competition with Burrell Creek.

Times photographer Ron Badger was on the scene. His work appears in Throwback Thursday on our website tomorrow.

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