Rod Johnston honoured with Hall of Fame induction

HALL OF FAME HONOUR FOR ROD JOHNSTON

Champion of Country Cricket’s cause as a player and an administrator Rod Johnston was deservedly honoured at the Australia Country Cricket Championships presentation dinner.

He was the second person connected to South Australian cricket inducted in the ACCC Hall of Fame, following Don Woon, who was one of the inaugural four honoured in 2016. 

Initially a decorated Broken Hill sportsman from the 1970s and 1980’s Rod Johnston was honour for his serviced to Country Cricket, at Wollongong last Wednesday night, January 11. 

Johnston was one of two inductees into this year’s ACCC Hall of Fame along with Queensland’s Gary Madsen.

“It was a pretty big honour,” Johnston explained

“Cricket Australia advised me just before Christmas – telling me they were flying Trish and I over to Wollongong for the presentation.

“When I got that initial phone call I was pretty shocked I must say.

“I was captain of SA Country first three trips of the Australian Country Cricket Championships from ‘85.”

Johnston played 13 games in those initial three tournaments making 310 runs at an average of 23.85 including a pair of half centuries and a highest score of 72 not out against high class New South Wales outfit. 

On the administration side he was also the Team Manager of the SA Outbacks for a nine year period from 2001 to 2009 and between 2002–2009 was also the SA Outbacks chairman of selectors. 

Johnston was a delegate for SA on ACCC management committees from 2010 to 2015 and a proxy for seven years before that.

“I did play in five games against international touring teams during the 1980s,” Johnston continued.

“There was a couple against the Pakistan sides, a game against the West Indies and a match against England.

“I also captained an Australian Country XI against India on Adelaide Oval in 1986.”

Johnston played against Pakistan in ‘81 at Port Lincoln and in 1983 at Whyalla at making 39 and 20 respectively. 

He captained SA Country against the West Indies in 1984 at Loxton, facing Caribbean great Courtenay Walsh and also against England at Wudinna in 1986.  

Johnston won the inaugural 1985 Cec Starr Player of the Carnival award at the SACA country carnival.  

He was a SACA Country Cup Team of carnival selection on nine occasions and won the Broken Hill’s player of the championships for six successive years from 1981.

You can also add four Broken Hill “Cricketer of the Year” awards to his extensive list of accolades.   

“Among my personal batting highlights was 72 not out in the inaugural ACCC tournament Beenleigh against a potent NSW side,” Johnston reflected.  

“I was captain of a SACA team of the carnival side when we defeated the SA state second XI in 1984, which was pretty special.

“They are a couple that stand out among many moments.”

Johnston was a true all-round sporting talent, being captain Broken Hill representative football side in 1982. There was a pair of footy premierships with Wests in 1978 and 1980; the second as captain.   

He was Robins A grade football Best and Fairest winner in the winter of 1979 and 1981. 

Johnston also represented the Silver City in a third sport, being a member of the Broken Hill Hornets baseball team that played Port Adelaide back in 1975.

 “In my speech there were three important figures I mentioned,” Johnston continued. 

“Geoff Delbridge, who was a top country cricketers in his own right, along with being a long time Robins administrator and coach. 

“Norm Fox was our country carnival manager for 10 year when I captained.

“… And Doon Woon, who was an inaugural inductee into the ACCC Hall of Fame last year.

“Don was a larger than life figure who was critical in the early years for the cause of country cricket and our first Team Manager at the ACCC.”