Former Western Suburbs First Grade fast bowler Brian Rhodes has passed away aged 68.
At the age of 15 and 243 days, Mr Rhodes became the youngest to open the bowling in Premier Cricket and is the youngest fast bowler to take five wickets in an innings.
In just his second match, a week after his debut, he returned 5-9 against Central Cumberland, now Parramatta.
Between 1966-76, Mr Rhodes claimed 333 wickets for the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club including 256 in First Grade, now Premier Cricket, at the wonderful average of 18.89.
The right-arm quick was part of its premiership winning sides in 1971/72 and 1972/73.
In 1971/72, Mr Rhodes enjoyed a career best season of 56 wickets at 16.05.
He became the 418th cricketer to play First Grade for Western Suburbs in November 1966.
Throughout his First Grade career, Mr Rhodes collected 12 five-wicket hauls including best figures of 7-15.
He made one First Class appearance for NSW against South Australia in 1972 claiming two wickets during the fixture.
A week or so earlier, Mr Rhodes played for NSW Colts, at Under 23 level, against Victoria Colts and claimed 4-56.
His premiership captain, NSW and Australian great Bob Simpson was once quoted saying that he thought Mr Rhodes was unlucky he did not play more for New South Wales.
“He had a bit of an unusual action, though it was very smooth, and no-one hit the ridge at Pratten Park more often than he did. He bowled just the right length, not too short,” Simpson said about Mr Rhodes in the Max Bonnell publication, ‘110 not out’, that chronicled the history of the Western Suburbs club.
Bob and Brian remained good friends until the day Mr Rhodes died.
Mr Rhodes passed away peacefully last Friday, 28 June.
1pm, Monday, 8 July.
Mackay's Family Funerals,
249 Pacific Highway, Ourimbah.