With Peter Johnston stepping down as chairman of the Barrier District Cricket League, we are chronicling the life and career of this Silver City legend. Here is the final part of our interview with the man who has spent more than 40 years in charge of the game he loves.
BARRIER TRUTH: Having served as chairman for 42 years, what do you think your legacy in the league is?
PETER JOHNSTON: Besides the facilities we have developed over the years, I’d like to think, is starting women’s cricket, which began five years ago here in Broken Hill. It’s been a privilege to be around, and watch women’s cricket grow here, with the girls enjoying their cricket.
I had a vision for women’s cricket that probably started with my daughter. I had a lot of broken back windows when she was young. She plays tennis in Adelaide now, but she was probably the real cricketer in the family. Unfortunately, though, we never had a women’s cricket competition – so there was no real opportunity for her.
BT: So, how did it come about?
PJ: I had a vision of having women’s cricket here and thought it was an opportunity. The women are organised in the football clubs, I thought, so why not tap into the football club scene and see if we can get some cricketers out, which we did, and it’s gone from strength to strength.
BT: Hearing you say that, it almost seems fitting that South, the club you have been so connected with, won their first women’s premiership in the last season of your chairmanship.
PJ: I think those girls will cherish that moment because the year before they finished last, and they came from third to win the 2022 premiership. Premierships are great, but the ones that are hard fought – they’re the ones that you remember. I think some of those girls were still celebrating halfway through the football season (laughs).
BT: What can you tell us about the person who will take up your former role as Chairman for the 2023 season?
PJ: We were very fortunate. I’ve been looking to step back from the chairman role for a few years, and we’ve had a new guy come into town who’s got a lot of cricket experience behind him: Matthew Apps. He’s played District cricket in Sydney and has represented cricket throughout New South Wales country. He’s going to umpire as well, which is great because he’s had a fair bit of umpiring experience.
I feel confident that we’ve got someone who can continue working where we left off. I’ll hang around for another year or two. I don’t want to cramp his style; I’ll just be available if he needs someone to fall back on and ask questions.
BT: You’re sticking around as treasurer for this season, but what does the future hold for you?
PJ: I’ll continue working down at Jubilee Oval for as long as I’m physically capable. As you said, I’ll stick around as treasurer for this year, and I am still associated with South Cricket Club. So, I go down and score for the A Grade. I have been doing that since I stopped playing – so I still get to see almost every A Grade game. I get to watch South and celebrate the occasional win they get here and there, which is nice.
BT: Thanks, Peter. Before I let you go, is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
PJ: I think I should thank my wife, Sandra. We have been married for 48 years. She is not a sports person and I have been very fortunate. She has tolerated a hell of a lot with me, and cricket and I really couldn’t have achieved any of the things I have achieved without her support.