Parkes’ – and certainly one of Australia’s – all-time greatest cricketers Cec Pepper has been honoured with the release of a full-length biography.
Australian sports journalist and one of Australian sport’s most publishing authors Ken Piesse launched ‘Pep, the story of Cec Pepper, the best cricketer never to play for Australia’ in Pepper’s hometown of Parkes, at the Parkes Library on November 16.
Ken said the sports legend – who played alongside the gods, like Keith Miller, Garry Sobers and Don Bradman – would have been thrilled to know that someone cared enough about his story to document it.
The launch featured many members of the Parkes cricketing fraternity as well as local cricket fans, Cowra mayor Bill West, former Parkes Champion Post editor Bob Aitken, ABC presenter Geoff Mann from Dubbo and Parkes councillors.
Members of the Pepper family were also present, including Cec’s brother 97-year-old Keith Pepper, who now lives in Wollongong.
The gathering also began with a ring-in welcome from Parkes’ town crier Tim Keith.
Parkes mayor Ken Keith OAM, cricket historian Michael Greenwood, Geoff Mann and Parkes’ own Mr Cricket Greg Morrissey all took a moment to talk about the book before Ken took to the stand to say a few words.
Cr Keith praised the “very important” occasion and said that the Pepper’s 165 yard hit at Woodward Park which landed at the foot of the showground’s gates was a much-loved historic tale still told today.
Michael read out a 1936 article from a Bowral newspaper that mentioned Pepper.
“Can I commend Ken on the way he’s traced Pepper’s career,” he said.
“He’s provided a very balanced account...I think he’s done a magnificent job.
“It puts to bed finally the true story of Cec Pepper and the role he played, certainly in Parkes but also on the international cricket scene.”
Meanwhile Geoff said “this is a story that needs to be told and it’s been told beautifully”.
Greg, who first enlightened Ken of Pepper’s remarkable feats, was thrilled to see the release of such a book.
“I’ve known Ken for many years and he’s well and truly a cricket tragic,” he said.
“It’s a wonderful tribute on the magnificent cricketer he was.”
The book was five years in the making and features first-hand accounts of Pepper’s sons John, first born Hugh and youngest son Paul.
“He was the best all rounder in the world and the highest paid cricketer,” Ken said.
“To have those first-hand memories of the boys is really special.
“I’m just so grateful to be here.”
Cr Keith thanked Ken for his work and presented him with a Parkes medallion following the speeches.