Ernest Leslie McCormick

b. 16-May-1906 | d. 28-Jun-1991

In 1926 a rangy 20 year old wicketkeeper named “Ernie” McCormick who hailed from the local club Richmond Ramblers, attended a Richmond Cricket Club practice session at Punt Road in pursuit of a district career.

It was while he was having a bowl in the club’s second eleven net that Ernie came under notice of the First Eleven captain, the experienced Les Keating. Les noted the extreme speed generated by a lethal right arm and how uncomfortable the batsmen were. Keating remarked that Ernie’s days as a wicketkeeper were over, Richmond had a new fast bowler and as early as 1929 he was opening the bowling for Victoria. Up to his last state game in 1938-39 he represented the state 43 times taking 134 wickets.

He possessed a classical high action and released the ball at tremendous speed causing former Richmond player Doug Ring who was a team mate of Ernie to voice the opinion that he was a faster bowler than the legendary Australian duo Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller.

In 1935-36 he was selected to tour South Africa with the Australian team, playing the first of his 12 Test matches for Australia and in doing so became Richmond’s sixth Australian Test player. He also played Ashes Tests against England in Australia 1936-37 and in England in 1938; he collected 36 wickets in his test career. In the first Test match of the 1936-37 series against England at the Gabba, he started the Test in sensational fashion by having Worthington, England’s opening batsman caught at the wicket from the very first delivery of the game.

Ernie played 97 senior games for the Tigers, taking 271 wickets and winning club bowling awards on 4 occasions. In the 1933-34 season he took 49 wickets and won the club championship. He played his last game for Richmond in 1939 then served a three year term on the committee.

He was a jeweller in private life and in 1960-61 manufactured the “Frank Worrell Trophy”, an award that has been played for by Australia and the West Indies since that time.

Ernie was recognised as being among the most genuine of characters to play cricket in Australia, his good humour rubbed off on all who came in contact with him and he created a happy atmosphere in which to play cricket.

Club honours bestowed on Ernie include Life Membership in 1944, selection in the Club’s Team of the Century and, in 2009, induction into the Richmond Cricket Club Hall of Fame.