Maurice Ryan, Mary Johnston, Fiona Smaha, Charlotte Grigg and Warwick Cricket Association president Michael Bourke after the presentation of a life membership to the late Paul Johnston.
Maurice Ryan, Mary Johnston, Fiona Smaha, Charlotte Grigg and Warwick Cricket Association president Michael Bourke after the presentation of a life membership to the late Paul Johnston. Gerard Walsh

Volunteer recognised for contribution to cricket

CRICKET: The Warwick Cricket Association has honoured the long service of the late Paul Johnston in awarding him a life membership.

After he retired from Warwick cricket, Paul played on with the QI Zingari social team and died in 2001 at the age of 62 but such was his contribution to the sport, a life membership has now been presented.

Paul and wife Mary and their family moved to Warwick in 1962 and he was senior principal plant breeder at The Hermitage Research Station when he passed away.

When he moved to Warwick, he had already played Brisbane A-grade cricket with University and also played A-grade cricket in Canberra and Adelaide.

In the early 1970s, he joined with Don Seccombe in starting the Australia Day Cricket Carnival in Warwick.

Past Warwick cricket president Maurice Ryan spoke at the life membership presentation and said Paul put many hours into Warwick cricket as fixture secretary, a role he fulfilled for two decades.

"It is only through the efforts of Paul Johnston and Len Prendergast that the new clubhouse was build at Slade Park,” Ryan said.

At the life membership presentations after the grand finals on Saturday, Paul's wife Mary Johnston was at the presentation along with their daughters, Charlotte Grigg and Fiona Smaha.

She recalled on the day the three of them making salad rolls in the kitchen of the Australian Hotel and delivering to the grounds during the first carnival in 1972.

One of her most famous memories of cricket was when Paul was excited to be part of a Warwick team which won the Slade Shield in an era when teams from Ipswich to Roma participated.

For many Warwick cricket fans, one of their best memories was in a game at Slade Park in the 1970s between a South Queensland Invitation XI and the South Australian Sheffield Shield side when Paul hit a score around 70 which included six sixes towards Canning St off the bowling of Test spinner, Terry Jenner.

Then Test captain, Ian Chappell was in the South Australian team.

Paul first played cricket for St Mary's but mainly made his mark with his batting and off-spin bowling with the Australian Hotel Cricket Club which were premiership winners in the era.



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