WAYNE WILLIS – A DOMINANT ALLROUNDER
One of only three Wistow players to have played SACA ‘A’ Grade District cricket in Adelaide, the others were Jim Thring (1972) and Daniel Jenner (2016), Wayne returned to play country cricket with Wistow in 1993/4. He was soon known to be an intense and fiercely competitive player who said ‘we were an unruly bunch’ and acknowledged captain Andrew Kleemann on his management skills to steer Wistow to the premiership that season. This grand final saw Wayne as top scorer when run out on 73, having had a big partnership with ‘Raz’, Darren Rasmussen (50 runs) – a team mate Wayne held in high esteem for his ability and cricket ‘know how’. Wayne also top scored (59) in the 2007/08 premiership.
Wayne Willis was the ‘A’ Grade captain for the 2002/03 premiership season Grand Final in which Brett Lynn was extraordinary in scoring 110 runs – more than all his teammates runs combined – and then taking 4/12 off his 10.3 overs! Brett was to become a stalwart of the club, ‘A’ Grade captain for five seasons, including premierships of 2004/05 and 2007/08.
During his 20 season career, Wayne Willis played in nine grand finals for five premierships. An aggressive middle order batsman, he scored 666 runs in 1998 and 631 runs in 1999. Overall, Wayne won the club Batting Aggregate eight times and the average eight times. Wayne’s 228 runs on 22 November 1997 against Hahndorf is a club record (12 sixes, 29 fours). Another great innings in December 2002 with Wistow on 8/70 and all out for 204 saw Wayne make 162 runs (eight sixes and 10 fours). He also scored two other 150 plus innings on two other occasions! Furthermore, at retirement in 2013/14, 39 year old Wayne had notched up 14 centuries and scoring 4,608 runs at a very impressive 53.5 runs average per innings. He played in the Association Team, Meyer Shield, during three of his seasons. Surprisingly, he won the Association Batting Aggregate trophy only twice.
As a wicket keeper of class and polish, it would be fair to say that Wayne has been the best keeper to have played at Wistow over a long period. To add to his allrounder status, when rarely not keeping, he was a capable ‘whippy’ medium pace bowler.
It all began as a 10 year old Colts cricketer at the Macclesfield Cricket Club where he progressed to U/16s and in the afternoon would play ‘C’ Grade and soon was a regular in ‘A’ Grade. During the next 2 or 3 seasons Wayne honed his skills at SACA Club Sturt and then Prospect where he progressed to ‘B’ Grade at both clubs, and played about 3 ‘A’ Grade matches at Prospect. After a half season stint at Wistow in 1994 Wayne returned to SACA competition, this time at Elizabeth where he played two seasons of ‘A’ Grade District before returning to Wistow where he proved to be a dominant player of his era.