A prominent cricketer in the early history of Northern Division Club was Robert (“Bob”) Lorne Lindsay.
Bob Lindsay.as he was familiarly known,was born in Tamworth in 1873 and prior to becoming a member of Northern Division Club, began his cricketing career as a young schoolboy with the Albion Club. There he soon established a reputation as a fine left hand opening batsman and as a cricketer with real potential. Frank Iredale, an Australian Test player,who saw him in action during the 1890’s,gave him high praise,describing him as “a fine batsman” who has “every promise of developing into a really good cricketer … he has all the essentials of a good batsman, and has, moreover, what is a strong characteristic in him, absolute fearlessness”.
In the 1901-02 season when playing for the Albion Club against East Maitland on the Albion ground, he figured in a first wicket partnership of 444 with Charlie Onus. Lindsay scored 242 n.o. and Onus 192.
The Mercury reported that “Lindsay played with great judgment and gave no chances”. At the time the partnership was claimed as an Australian record and not surprisingly it has remained as a long standing district record.
Before coming to Northern Division, Bob was a regular member of Northern District representative teams. He played against Stoddart’s English X1 in 1894-95 and 1897-98 and against Archie McLaren’s English X1 in 1901. In the match against McLaren’s X1 at the Albion ground he had the distinction of becoming the first Hunter Valley batsman to score a century against an English touring team when he showed “great maturity and much variety in his stroke making” to score 104 in the Northern District 18’s mammoth total of 15 for 558. In recognition of his effort he was presented with a gold medallion by “his admirers”.
In 1900-01 Bob played in the Sydney competition with Central Cumberland and topped that Club’s batting average with 55. However, the following season he returned to play with Albion.
After coming to Northern Division in 1903, Bob continued to show outstanding form and to set new records. His best season was in 1904-05 when his aggregate was 842 runs including four centuries, establishing a district record for the highest aggregate and most centuries in a season – a record that has not been bettered to this day!
In the 1908-09 season he scored another double century when he hit up 226 against Western Division on the Albion ground.His innings included 28 fours and 3 sixes and was described as “a brilliant exhibition of all round cricket”. This second double century made him the only player in the history of the Association to score two double centuries – another record that has remained unbroken!
Bob was President of the Club from 1919-28 and continued to play first grade up until 1928 when a bitter dispute with the Association over the suspension of a player led to his retirement as a player and to his resignation as Club President. During his time with Northern Division, he was a prolific run-getter and frequently headed the District and Club batting averages.By the end of the 1924-25 season he had topped the Club’s batting average in 14 out of 18 seasons. It was also calculated that by that time he had played 154 innings for the Club,been not out 34 times, and scored 6214 runs at an average of 51.7. Even at the age of 49 he still headed the Club and District batting aggregate in the 1921-22 season with 423 runs at an average of 60.7. In addition to his batting prowess, he was also a useful left hand spin bowler and frequently figured near or at the top of the Club’s bowling averages for the season.
While with Northern Division, Bob continued to achieve representative honours. He played for a Northern District 18 against “Plum” Warner’s MCC team in 1903 and for a Northern District 15 against the touring South African team in 1910. He is also reported to have toured NZ with a NSW team but the date for this is unknown.
In his professional life Bob was an auctioneer – a popular and well known figure at the stock saleyards at Campbells Hill. For the greater part of his life he was associated with the firm of E.W. Sparke until he formed a company known as R.L. Lindsay in partnership with his son Robert Lindsay Junior.
Both of his sons, Robert Jnr and Jim, later played with Norths. Unfortunately, Robert Junior died in World War 2 on the infamous Sandakan “death march” in Borneo.
When Bob Lindsay Senior died in 1935 at the age of 62, the legendary proportions that he had achieved with Northern Division, were revealed by the remark of one of his fellow players, when referring to Lorn Oval which was his home ground in the later stages of his career: “That was his Park. We called it ‘Lindsay Oval’.”