From humble beginnings
The origins of the club were forged on the hallowed fields of Barker College, in late 2004, when a few cricketing adolescents of below-average ability dared to dream. Initially known as the Barker Sixths, they nearly achieved the rare feat of the un-undefeated season. However, it was not be, as the men in blue and red prevailed in the final match of the season with a pseudo-glorious solitary wicket win. Many were so overcome with emotion following the victory that they hung their caps up for good.
With their scarcely successful but wildly enjoyable debut season still fresh in memory, the players embarked on a year-long HSC sabbatical. Twelve months in the wilderness decimated playing ranks but the crux of greatness remained. The five remaining devotees joined force with a motley C-Grade one day team playing out of Lindfield Cricket Club in late 2006. A controversial season of bickering, politicking and Harbhajan-esque monkey taunting ensued. By season’s end team morale had fallen to depths never before seen outside the England locker room. The end of one of the most promising cricketing dynasties appeared nigh.
To the makings of something special
2007 will forever live in Gypsies folklore as the year the dream became a reality. A move to play underneath the banner of Roseville Cricket Club signalled a return to the impassioned good times of yore, whilst a vigorous recruitment campaign ensured the team, for all intents and purposes, could operate as an independent body. The new cricketing incarnation’s first competitive match did not result in victory, but the unbridled eagerness within the squad left no one doubting that that many would follow. And follow they did, with pharmaceutical mastermind by day and Captain Australia by night, Steven "Senior" Waller guided the new team to a haul of five wins and a draw, rounding out the 2007/08 season in style. After a close vote, "Blue Ribbons" and "Roadkill" also polling well, the team took on the now famous Gypsies moniker to celebrate this coming of age. Inspired by the taunts of working class darts fans at long-haired sex icon Robbie Savage, the shoe was a perfect fit. The WAGS+FAF Day (Wives & Girlfriends + Friends & Family) fundraiser was established as another crown jewel in the Gypsies calendar. Duncan "KP" Davies collected the inaugural DD Treat Medal with Rory “Kov” Hayward and Michael “Elmo” Evangelidis claiming the RH Dark Horse and Gypsy Awards respectively, all but guaranteeing themselves future induction into the club’s hall of fame.
The 2008-09 season was no less evolutionary than those preceding. Still finding their identity in an IPL-dominated World, the Gypsies wore cricket caps for the first time and astutely dubbed the baggy black by pundits and fans alike. The club’s logo, now synonymous with success, also saw its debut and was emblazoned on any merchandise the club could lay its hands on, including limited edition Gypsies beer steins. The Gypsies “tabloid press” took its first tentative steps, inspired by dubious player conduct from cretins at North Shore Cricket Club and North Sydney Leagues Cricket Club, with the legendary Rumour Mill (focusing on faux-Gypsies player movements) and Leadership Spill (humorously lampooning national politics by focusing on faux-factional infighting with the club) Facebook Group threads receiving a torrent of contributions and never-ending laughter from a large readership. On the field, the Gypsies, revelling in their sudden stardom, at times experienced table-topping highs and finished with a respectable five wins and a draw once more. If it weren't for missed opportunity, the reward could have been so much more.
Taking the bull by the horns
With a very active off-season, featuring several transfer window bargains, unrivalled fanfare and a vigorous pre-season (including a Twenty20 inter-club bash), the 2009-10 season was the most hyped of any. A loss in the opening match had the media sharpening knives and players jokingly issuing dreaded "votes of confidence" to, new leader and wheeler-dealer, James "Magic" Waller. The team however, possibly inspired by the baptism of the club song (Ode to Gypsy), pre-match team huddles and “Yes, We Can” catchcry, roared back with an impressive seven match winning streak, the longest in franchise history. A tense battle ensued for the minor premiership with the Gypsies falling just short in a near dead heat. After twelve wins and a draw across the summer, the baggy black embarked upon their first ever finals series. The team dominated the semi-final and grand-final, exorcising demons of seasons past and claiming the franchise's first ever major honours. Celebratory fervour ensued and the site of the triumph, Blackman Upper, deemed the club's spiritual home ground. As champagne stained whites were condemned to the laundry, a film capturing the achievements of the year was published on what would eventually become the Gypsies YouTube Channel.
Promoted a grade in honour of their achievements the preceding summer, the nucleus of the highly successful side was retained. The team had barely finished congratulatory back-slapping when the enormity of the 2010-11 season dwelt upon them. Steeled by the challenge at hand, the Gypsies turned on some of their most impressive performances to date, dismantling no side more brutally than North Shore Cricket Club (all out for 20). Desperate to vindicate the season slogan, “The Best A Man Can Get”, the baggy black were sitting pretty on the table as they ho-ho-hoed into Christmas ham. A form slump in the new year, in conjunction with injuries to key performers, saw the franchise's form taper off and eventually miss the finals with a sobering five win season. The snarer of the first two Gypsies hat-tricks, both in dramatic circumstances, Robert "Rabbit" Hodgson was anointed DD Treat Medal recipient number four.
And riding it into stable
Having enjoyed four consecutive years of growth and consistently registered achievements both on and off the field, the Gypsies in the auspicious surrounds of Had To Happen Mexican restaurant to break away from Roseville Cricket Club and standalone on 21st September 2011. The franchise, affiliated with the good people of Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore, was now a club in more than just name. The election of the very first Board of Directors and ratification of a constitution followed suit. The innovative Board launched a website and Twitter Feed to compliment the club’s burgeoning online presence shortly thereafter. The club also modelled its very first strip, affectionately known as the Gypsies sash. Jibes from opponents that the club was in a beauty pageant proved spot on, as the baggy black were voted most beautiful club in all the lands for the fifth year running by a panel of fans. These achievements were further acknowledged by Commonwealth Bank who awarded the franchise their Grassroots Cricket Grant. Members were treated to a series of Julios vs Nerds social events, including ten-pin bowling and a Playstation cricket tournament. On the field, despite the celebrated Bring It Home addresses pre-match, the club fell exasperating short of a finals berth in 2011-12, finishing fifth on the table. Highlight triumphs against all finalists late in the season left fans with much to anticipate in the summers ahead though, the club’s latest marketing campaign, “This Is Gypsies, This Is Cricket” ringing in their ears.
The club unveiled ambitious expansions plans in July 2012, with the unanimous verdict to bring the joy of Gypsies cricket to the masses. A far-reaching promotional campaign saw the streets of Ku-ring-gai and Willoughby painted black with advertising. In response, the club swelled 200% and boasted teams in every one-day grading bracket of the NSCA. The franchise picked up Commonwealth Bank's Grassroots Cricket Grant for the second year running yet tomfoolery remained at the heart of the Gypsies, with a swimsuit calendar wowing females (and males) across the summer months. Founding father, Rory “Kov” Hayward, tragically passed away in January 2013, minutes after taking his fiftieth wicket for the GCC. He was, shortly after, annoited the club's first life member. The remainder of the season was played in Rory's honour, with the A-Grade and B-Grade sides only defeated in the semis courtesy of wet weather. Black arm bands will be worn on the second last Saturday of each January henceforth. In the off-season, the Baggy Black Around The World and Global Affiliates Network debuted as jetset Gypsies travelled to the furthest reaches of the globe with their sacred caps and made guest appearances for foreign cricket teams.
The sun rises on an empire
The growth of the Chatswood club continued apace in 2013-14, with the franchise's membership bolstered to five teams across three different grades. A record 50 Gypsies debuted in the baggy black across the season. Healthy recruitment translated to healthy on field performance; with Hamish "Hamo" Smith's chargers securing the A-Grade minor premiership, James "Magic" Waller retiring as captain with a second premiership (this time in B-Grade) and Chintan "Chinty" Gatecha's D-Grade team being denied in semi-finals. Meanwhile, the other A-Grade and D-Grade teams fought admirably in erratic campaigns that teetered on one-or-two key matches. The very first Rory Hayward Memorial Day was held in January, the first and only time that a clean sweep of wins has been achieved by the club, a remarkable tribute to the life member. Off the field, the baggy black fashion line continued to expand, with a varsity jacket appearing on the catwalks of Milan in time for winter.
The Gypsies were finally embraced as media darlings in late 2014, care of several articles in the local papers, winter cricket celebrity encounters and winning the CommBank Cricket Club Hero competition, the prize a coveted spot on Channel Nine's Boxing Day Test coverage. Whilst James "Magic" Waller choice of words, famously lambasting his idol Steve Waugh as a "limited cricketer", left a little to be desired, the club's stardom was very fulfilling, especially after it was revealed it had caused Scott Herden to choke on his Fruit Loops that fine Decembers day. The 2014-15 season is also remembered as the debut of the baggy black in NCU turf, NSCA two-day and SMCA winter cricket competition, Chatswood's premier sporting enterprise now supporting six teams. Sadly, whilst all summer teams qualified for the semi-finals, silverware proved elusive with the exception of an international match against a touring Indian side. Finally, $5000 was raised for both the Heart Foundation and Black Dog Institute in honour of Rory “Kov” Hayward.
And it glows gold
The baggy black channelled its irresistible energies towards the trophy cabinet in 2015-16 and were rewarded with a swag of collective and indivudal gongs. The club claimed premierships in NCU AR-Grade and NSCA D-Grade whilst the NSCA B-Grade side were only denied in a thrilling grand-final. Ultimately though, these achievements were overshadowed by the franchise's first NSCA-NCU club championship, an award that credits every run, every wicket and every ball across a season. In addition, seven sides now called Chatswood home. The NSW government, recognising the ongoing efforts of the men in black, rounded out the year by awarding a grant for the establishment of a women's cricket presence.
Now established as one of Northern Sydney's finest cricketing institutions and having garnered a reputation with fans and opposition alike, the Gypsies hope to continue their ambitious expansion plans in 2016-17 whilst celebrating a decade of decadence.
This is no ordinary club, you are no ordinary person. Rediscover your love for the gentleman’s game, sign up for this summer now to be part of the future of cricket. Every great journey begins with a single step. Every great season begins with a single ball.
: Democratically Appointed Board
: Gypsies, Baggy Black, Black Plague, Gypos, Chatswood's Finest, The Most Beautiful Team In All The Lands
: Robbie Savage & Darts Fans
Spiritual Home Ground
: Blackman Upper, Lane Cove West
Key Player Catchment
, Roseville Chase
, Castle Cove
, Middle Cove
, Killarney Heights
, Lane Cove
: North Shore Cricket Club, North Sydney Leagues Cricket Club, Neutral Bay Jets Cricket Club, Old Ignatians Cricket Club
: WAGS+FAF Day, DD Treat Medal Ceremony, A Very Gypsies Christmas Party, Julios vs Nerds Socials, Rory Hayward Memorial Day