|Name:||Lynch, Norman William|
|Date of Birth:||b 14 October 1931 (d 5 Jan 2009)|
|Career:||1950/51 - 1970/71|
St Kilda's longest-serving first XI player with 252 senior XI games, Norm Lynch continued the outstanding spin tradition at St Kilda, playing in two premierships and two other play-offs. He also captained the club in his 20th and final year of senior cricket in 1970-71. He was to continue, too, for three years as captain of the third XI, in all playing almost 300 games.
Originally from St James East St Kilda in the South Suburban Churches, he remains one of just five to take 500 or more first XI wickets. He also made the state squad, but others like Australian tourists Lindsay Kline and Ian Quick precluded higher honours and not once did he ever get to play on the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Highly-competitive, his humour bubbled even under the heaviest fire. When Fitzroy's Neil Harvey indulged in his famous six-hitting spree in the 1951-52 semi-final, one of his hook shots against Don Allen and the second new ball flew so hard and fast it thumped Lynch on the forehead and bounced over the pickets to take Harvey to 200! Teammates sure got some mileage out of that one!
George Murray loved to tell the story, too, of Norm's reaction earlier in the Harvey epic after it was suggested he should try to bowl as wide as possible outside the off stump in an attempt to stem the avalanche. "I'm already out the side of the pitch now!" said Lynch.
Lynch's strike-rate of a wicket every 39 balls compares favourably with legends Jack Hill (36), Peter Hosking, Bert Ironmonger and Don Blackie (all 40) and John Edwards (42). He loved to bowl from the city end with the wind blowing from point, assisting his curve. "I didn't spin it that much," he said. "I used to put a lot of top-spin on it (helping the ball to 'drop' in its trajectory)."
A three-time club champion, often he had only the tail to attack, given the earlier inroads made by the frontliners Edwards, Hosking and Hill. Relishing his new responsibilities with Hill's retirement after the 1961-62 premiership, Lynch took 34 wickets in 1962-63, including eight for 57 against Prahran and a personal best of 39 in 1963-64.
In 1957-58 he was shifted to Warrnambool in his job with Rothman's and played a season with South Footballers.
One of the best fieldsmen from his own bowling in club history, Lynch's record of 49 caught and bowled dismissals is unsurpassed (the next best being Blackie with 31). His clever flight and side-spin variations often also involved his wicketkeeper Bill "Torchy" Laxton, batsmen often being beaten by his drift and stumped.
He was also a handy hitter and a compulsive hooker who succeeded Jack Edwards as Bill Young's opening partner. "Normie was a different type of opener (to Edwards)," said Young. "He'd lay his ears back and go for them right from the start. He played it hard, but fair and must have been close to a game for the Vics as he was in the State squad. We used to knock around together, going to the races and the dogs. There was never any worries with Normie. He was so down to earth."
Ironically one of his best innings came from no 11 against Footscray in the 1964-65 final when he made 36 of a 44-run last wicket stand which saw St Kilda to a narrow first innings lead and ultimately the title. He was made a life member in 1970.
Norm's brother Ted played 21 first XI games, including the 1963-64 semi-final and was opening batsman and medium-pace change bowler in the 1958-59 second XI premiership. He was also a Club XI captain for more than a decade, including the 1975-76 premiership. In all, "EJ" took 400 wickets, including all 10 wickets in an innings (for 22) in a Club XI match against Old Xaverians at Albert Park's no 10 Oval in 1966-67.
From "Down At The Junction" by Ken Piesse