A HISTORY OF BANKSTOWN PLAYERS : Mick’s Musings
Kevin Roberts was so impressed with Bankstown Oval and the Bulldogs he joined them in 1993-94. It was a brave decision as his Dad had been President of the Gordon club and involved with the Stags for many years. To say Kevin was an instant success would be a vast understatement. He smashed the first-grade batting record with 1160 runs eclipsing the long-standing record of 964 held by Ron Briggs in the Club’s inaugural year of 1951-52. Amazingly he only just won the batting average with 73 as Ken “Emu” Hall was only dismissed twice but failed by just 3 runs to qualify. The irrepressible Emu notched 247 at 122.3 which was an almighty effort. Kevin plundered centuries against Balmain, North Sydney and Campbelltown where he vanquished the dispirited Ghosts with 115 not out. However, the dashing stroke maker saved his best for last in the final vs Parramatta with a match winning 139. He did not proffer a chance in his superb unblemished knock until he holed out on the fence. By then the Bulldogs were impregnable at 5-304 and had a firm grip on the Belvidere Cup. He was Bankstown’s Player of the Year by a record margin and the Bulldogs cricket fans were all abuzz. The following season he debuted for NSW vs Victoria at the MCG. He played 23 Sheffield Shield matches and plundered 8 fifties in superb style and a magnificent 101 against Sth Australia. Kevin was a real crowd pleaser with elegant drives and powerful pull shots the feature of his batting. His second season was another run spree with 133 not out vs Petersham and he ripped the Panthers apart with a dynamic 160. The following season he averaged 57.15 and then the next year 62.14. Kevin Roberts is quietly spoken and was an intelligent captain who was extremely popular and always looking to attack. He became part of Bulldogs folk lore when he was chosen to represent NSW along with six from Bankstown. With more than half of the NSW side from Bankstown the Bulldogs not surprisingly won historic back to back premierships. He became the fastest Bulldog to 3000 runs taking just five seasons. As captain, he guided the side to a premiership in 1999-2000 and with his classical stroke play and outstanding fielding certainly led by example. Kevin was a big fan of Ken Hall and thanked him profusely for all he had taught the Bulldogs about competitive cricket. Ironically Kevin was in the winning Belvidere Cup five times exactly the same as Emu. Robbo achieved it all by the age of 27 which ensconced him as a Bulldog legend. In 2000-2001 he volunteered to play third grade which was a magnanimous gesture. It was a really enjoyable time for Kevin and he was worshipped by the youngsters. Skipper Geoff Spotswood was lavish in his praise of the champion. Spotty wrote that Robbo’s class shone through when he tore the attack apart in the quarter final and almost won the semi. He also helped his team mates with all facets of the game. His assistance to me was invaluable and his gully fielding with sixteen catches amazing. Kevin Roberts was set to return to the helm in the top grade but was enticed up to Queensland by a lucrative job offer. Kevin takes over from James Sutherland at an intriguing time for Australian cricket and all at the Bulldogs kennel wish him the very best. We are sure Aussie cricket will be the winner!!