LIFEMEMBER: Lismore cricketing phenomenon and former Northern Star sports writer John McMahon.
LIFEMEMBER: Lismore cricketing phenomenon and former Northern Star sports writer John McMahon.

Cricket recognises ?McMahon effect


WHEN you become a life member of the NSW Cricket Association, most would think you would get the members bar of the Sydney Cricket Ground thrown open to you and free tickets to all Test matches and one-day internationals.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

But Lismore's John McMahon is not complaining.

After all, it's just nice to be acknowledged after an association with the game spanning more than 50 years.

And there are some perks.

Like a private box at the SCG for the first day of the upcoming Super Test between Australia and the Rest of the World.

"It was really a thrill," McMahon said on his life membership.

"It was completely unexpected.

"My kids found out three months ago but I only got a letter from Dave Gilbert (NSW CEO) a fortnight before the meeting."

McMahon was recognised with the life membership because of his massive efforts as an administrator and a coach.

Born at Five Dock in Sydney, McMahon began his cricket career playing for Balmain.

He eventually cracked first grade with Balmain at the age of 19 in 1951.

Bowling left-arm spin, McMahon took more than 300 wickets for the club in all grades.

A job transfer resulted in him moving to Lismore and he played locally before shifting to Brisbane for one season.

There McMahon cracked the Queensland State team after playing only four Brisbane first-grade games.

He played for the Maroons in their Sheffield Shield side for the 1959-60 tour of the southern states.

In the same season, he was the Brisbane first-grade's leading wicket taker with 48 scalps.

McMahon returned to Lismore shortly after and represented Northern NSW against the MCC and South African touring sides and NSW Country.

At the age of 51 he won the first-grade cricketer of the year in Lismore.

Then, at the age of 58, he made a comeback to play for Wardell, including the inaugural season of the FNC LJ Hooker League regional competition, which he was instrumental in establishing.

McMahon eventually retired in 1995 after taking 130 wickets for the club.

Only last year he was still playing veterans cricket, representing Lismore Veterans against the Queensland Cricketers Club at Allan Border Field.

Three of McMahon's sons, Brian, Michael and Terry, played first grade cricket in Sydney, with two of his daughters, Kathryn and Patricia, captaining Queensland women's indoor cricket teams.

His coaching resume is just as impressive.

He's had stints as regional director of coaching for the Far North Coast from the mid-1970s to 1988 and from 1992 to 1998, when he was appointed North Coast zone director of coaching, a position he still holds.

The former spinner was NSW Country team manager for the Australian Country Cricket Championship in 2002 and 2003 and was chief organiser of the championship when it was played in Lismore at the start of this year.

McMahon is a Level 3 coach.

The former Northern Star sports journalist has also made his mark as an administrator.

He's been Far North Coast Cricket Council secretary and North Coast delegate to NSW Cricket.

He remains FNCCC secretary and an accredited umpire.

In 2000, at the age of 68, he was honoured as Lismore Senior Sports Person of the Year.

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