Nightcliff Baseball Club, Darwin

Nightcliff Baseball Club, Darwin

Infobox aus sport club | clubname = Nightcliff Baseball Club, Darwin

fullname = Nightcliff Baseball Club Inc.
emblem = The Tigers
strip = White base with black pinstripe & black/gold trim
founded = 1969
sport = Baseball
league = Darwin Baseball League / Baseball NT
firstseason = 1969/70
ground = Nightcliff High School

song = Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
president = Brett Hagan
coach = Ashley Kendray
captain = Ashley Kendray
season = 2008
position = 4th

Nightcliff Baseball Club Inc. is an amateur baseball club located in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Also known as “the Tigers”, the club was formed in 1969 and competes in the Darwin Baseball League (DBL), latterly known as Baseball NT. It is also an affiliated member of the Nightcliff Sports Club.


Historically, baseball in Australia has been an amateur sport. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2007, p. 15). [ History: Amateur Baseball] . Retrieved online 16 September 2007.] [Gmelch, George (2006). [ "Baseball without borders: the international pastime"] . Lincoln: University of Nebraska. OCLC|64594333. ISBN 0803271255.] As such, the club operates or functions under a constitution by a committee of volunteers, elected each calendar year. [Dept. of Local Government, Housing & Sport (2007). [ Club Development] . Retrieved online 27 June 2007.] The club derives its income from player registration fees, sponsorship, grants, donations and fundraising activities. Beacuse the club is an incorporated body, it operates as a legal business entity. [Department of Justice (2008). [ "Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading: Why Incorporate"] . Retrieved on 26 July 2008.]

The club is based and trains at Nightcliff High School, Aralia Street, Nightcliff.


Founded in 1969, Nightcliff's origins stemmed from the Darwin Chinese Recreation Club (DCRC) Red Sox. [ [ Darwin Chinese Recreation Club] . Retrieved online 28 June 2007.] The Red Sox disbanded earlier the same year, but several former players adopted the new club. Bob Melville was elected as the inaugural President, but resigned shortly afterwards following a disagreement with another committee member. Bob was replaced by Alan Smith, who remained President for the remainder of the season.

Nightcliff dominated the competition throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. [Asia Rooms (2007). [ Baseball in Darwin] . Retrieved online 19 March 2008.] This period was known as Nightcliff's 'Golden Era' in which the club played in 12 consecutive Grand Finals, winning 9 of them. [Chin, J. and Tobin, M. (1996). "A brief history of Baseball in Darwin". Baseball '96, page 12.]

Many critics argued that if Nightcliff had not entered and played 2 teams during the 1972/73 season, they would have easily won that premiership. The 2 teams finished second and third. The 1974/75 season was cancelled following Cyclone Tracy and most of the clubs records were either lost or destroyed in the cyclone. However, in late March 1975, an unofficial Grand Final was played between Nightcliff and representatives of the other 5 clubs. Although Nightcliff won this game, it was not officially recognised by DBL.

Nightcliff Baseball Club was a foundation member of the Nightcliff Sports Club, but the committee held its regular meetings at the Seabreeze Hotel to discuss the affairs of the club. These meetings became well known as "High Masses" and continued until the Seabreeze Hotel was destroyed during Cyclone Tracy in December 1974. [Barter, Leith. (1994, p. 41). "From wartime camp to garden suburb: a short history of Nightcliff and Rapid Creek". Historical Society of the Northern Territory. ISBN 0-6461-9897-1. [ OCLC: 38361179] ] Thereafter, the club held its meetings at the Sports Club.

In the mid to late 1980s, the club suffered both competitively and financially, arguably from the competition swapping, in 1984, from wet-season to dry-season. Nightcliff did not compete in the inaugural 1984 dry-season competition due to lack of players, but rejoined in 1985. In 1988, the club faced financial crisis and considered bankruptcy as the DBL threatened expulsion from the league. However, a life-long Nightcliff supporter, Kay Thrupp, provided a financial lifeline and two major fund-raising efforts secured the clubs financial position.

Between 1985 and 1989 the club entered a 'Rebuilding Era' with an emphasis on junior player development. Ultimately, the strategy proved too successful with several home-grown players subsequently pursuing baseball careers in southern states, where their opportunities were greater. [Clark, Joe. (2003, p. 80). [,672064.aspx "A History of Australian Baseball: Time & Game"] . University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-6440-2. [ OCLC: 52127597] ] Since 1990, the club has remained competitive. The period between 1990 and 2000 was known as the 'Kendray Era' in reference to Nightcliff's star player who dominated the competition, coached and led the club. During the 1990s, Nightcliff played in seven Grand Finals, winning a further 3 premierships.

In 1989, the club built a permanent baseball field at Nightcliff High School. In 1997, the club became an incorporated body, to reflect the changing way amateur sport was being administered in Australia. [Deakin Law Review (2003). [ The Law of Tort & Amateur Sport: An Incentive to Stay at Home?] Retrieved online 9 August 2007.]

Between 2000 and 2006, Nightcliff played in 6 of the possible 7 Grand Finals, but failed to win any. [Australian Baseball Federation. (2006). [ "Groundhog Day"] . Retrieved online 9 August 2007.] This period was known as Nightcliff's 'Bridesmaid Era'. This era officially ended in 2007, when Nightcliff won the Grand Final against their long-time rivals, Tracy Village, 11 - 4.Aloia, Andrew. (2007). Nightcliff ends dynasty. NT News. Monday, 24 September 2007. Page 34.]


(13) - 1970/71, 1971/72, 1973/74, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1991, 1993, 1999 and 2007.

Runners Up

(13) - 1969/70, 1972/73, 1980/81, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.

Life Members

The constitution allows for Life Membership and is awarded on the basis of outstanding volunteer service to the club. At least 10 years of predominantly non-playing service is generally considered necessary to achieve Life Membership. Current Life Members with their year of induction follow:

= Honorary Life Members =

* 2008 - Brenda* & Bob Kendray(*) Deceased

Honour Board

Memorable Moments


* 23 November 1969 - Nightcliff defeat Blue Jays 53 - 1, a Darwin Baseball League record that remains to this day. Fred Schmidt, Fred Bush and Peter Goodchild all star for the Tigers. [ NT News (1969). Baseball lacking in lustre. Thursday, 27 November 1969. Page 31.]
* 17 January, 1971 - With scores tied at 6 all after 9 innings, Pints score 1 run in the top of the 13th. With one out in the bottom half of the inning, Fred Schmidt singles and Peter Goodchild ends the game with a walk-off Home run and 8 - 7 win against Pints. Fred Bush pitches all 13 innings for the win. [NT News (1971). Nightcliff Pints in great game. Thursday, 21 January 1971. Page 31.]
* 17 March, 1974 - In the 1973/74 Grand Final against Waratahs, Gary Guimelli walks and scores before another pitch is thrown. Nightcliff win the Grand Final 14 - 2. [Call, David (1974). Nightcliff scoop the baseball awards. NT News. Monday, 18 March 1974. Page 19.]
* 13 March, 1977 - In the 1976/77 Grand Final against Oilers, Wayne Longstaff hits the lead-off hitter with the first pitch of the game. He then retires the next 26 hitters in a row, before allowing a bloop single with 2 out in the 9th. Nightcliff win the Grand Final 6 - 0. [NT News (1977). Tigers cap great season. Thursday, 17 March 1977. Page 24.]
* 15 October, 1978 - Wayne Longstaff throws 18 strikeouts in a 7 innings (mercy rule) game against South Darwin to tie the league record of 18 strikeouts in a 9 innings game.
* 29 October, 1978 - Wayne Longstaff throws an 18 strikeout, no-hit, shutout, in a 7 innings (mercy rule) game against Northern Districts, to tie his own league record.
* 3 December, 1978 - Gary Giumelli steals 7 bases in one game from 1 hit and 4 walks, to set a new DBL record and Wayne Longstaff throws 15 strikeouts, to help defeat South Darwin 9 - 1. [NT News (1978). Pints down East in 7 - 2 upset. Tuesday, 5 December 1978. Page 42.]


* 9 March, 1980 - With 1 out in the top of the 9th inning, Kieran Cassidy hits a 2 run Home run to tie the game at 3 all. Nightcliff go on to score 5 runs in the top of the 11th inning and win the 1979/80 Grand Final against East Darwin, 8 – 3. [Nason, Dave. (1980). The Tigers show Easts errors of their way. "NT News". Monday, 10 March 1980. Page 32.]
* 14 March, 1981 - Behind all game and down 5 – 3 with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th inning, Bill Fryar & Fred Bush both double to win the Preliminary Final 6 – 5 against Pints and qualify for their 11th consecutive Grand Final appearance. [NT News. (1981). Tigers back from the baseball grave. Tuesday, 17 March 1981.]
* 6 October, 1983 - Lance Schmidt throws 17 strikeouts and 17 walks in a 5 hour rain soaked ‘night ball’ Grand Final against Rebels. Nightcliff eventually lose 19 – 17. Nightcliff players Gary Giumelli, Paul Rider & Gary Lambert are all ejected from the game. [Zeroni, Tiziana (1983). Troubled Tigers to meet cup foe. "NT News". Saturday, 8 October 1983. Page 38.]
* 16 August, 1987 - In the upset of the season, cellar-dwellers Nightcliff defeat league leaders and eventual Premiers, South Darwin, 4 - 1. Lance Schmidt throws a complete game for the Tigers while Andrew Kendray hits a 2-run Home run and Bill Fryar hits 2-sacrifice flys. [NT News (1987). Premiers downed. Tuesday, 18 August 1987. Page 30.]


* 9 September, 1990 - Nightcliff finish the regular season as minor premiers, ending a 6 year drought of not appearing in the finals. [Geracitano, Ted (1990). Rabbitohs steal place in play-offs. NT News. Monday, 10 September 1990. Page 29.]
* 29 September, 1991 - Already down 1 game in the best of 3 Grand Final series and behind early in the second game, Andrew Kendray hits a three run Home run to tie the score at 4 all. Nightcliff never look back and go to win the game 6 – 5. [Geracitano, Ted (1991). Nightcliff tie series. NT News. Monday, 30 September 1991. Page 36.]
* 6 October, 1991 - Playing with a broken right hand (after being hit by a pitch the week before), Peter Jackson goes 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs to help win game 3 and the Grand Final against Tracy Village, 8 – 5. [Geracitano, Ted (1991). Nightcliff turns up the heat. NT News. Monday, 7 October 1991. Page 31.]
* 18 September, 1993 - Behind all game and down 7 – 2 in the top of the 8th inning, Nightcliff turn a triple-play to end the innings. In the bottom of the 9th inning, Nightcliff rally with 4 runs to win game 1 of the Grand Final series, 8 - 7. [Sunday Territorian (1993). Nightcliff goes one up. Sunday, 19 September 1993. Page 37.] They go on to win the 1993 Premiership the next day against Tracy Village, who until now, had only lost one game throughout the season. [Wade, Angela. (1993). Tigers wrap up final with easy victory. "NT News". Monday, 20 September 1993. Page 32.]
* 8 May, 1994 - Playing in his 300th 'A' grade game, Bill Fryar goes 5 for 5 with 4 RBIs, 3 stolen bases and 2 runs scored, to help seal a 6 – 4 win against Pints. [Wade, Angela. (1994). Fryar's 300th proves winner. "NT News". Monday, 9 May 1994. Page 33.]
* 29 May, 1994 - With the scores tied at 8 all after 9 innings, Bill Fryar leads-off the bottom of the 14th inning with a triple, and is singled home by Hamish Cameron, to defeat Pints 9 – 8, ending the longest game in DBL history. Peter Cole throws all 14 innings for the win. [NT News. (1994). Marathon. Monday, 30 May 1994. Page 39.]
* 18 May, 1995 - With 2 out in the last innings of a night game, Andrew Kendray ends the game with a walk-off Grand Slam and a 5 – 3 win against Tracy Village. [Brown, Peter. (1995). Kendray boosts Tigers' chances. "NT News". Saturday, 20 May 1995. Page 64.]
* 19 September, 1999 - Needing to win the final game of the regular season against Pints to finish Minor Premiers, scores are tied at 4 all after 4 innings until with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th. Andrew Kendray doubles and scores on a single by Brett Edwards to end the game 5 - 4. [Earle, Richard (1999). Pints ride their luck. NT News. Tuesday, 21 September 1999. Page 35.]


* 13 August, 2000 - With scores tied at 3 all after 9 innings, Brett Beaton doubles with 1 out in the bottom of the 11th and advances to third on a sacrifice fly to right field. Warwick Southwood picks up the game winning RBI with an infield hit and 4 - 3 win against Palmerston. [NT News (2000). NT Scoreboard. Tuesday, 15 August 2000. Page 35.]
* 17 September, 2000 - Needing to win the last game of the regular season to make the finals, Nightcliff thump league leaders Palmerston, 26 - 1. Pitcher Brett Niddrie throws a 2-hitter for the Tigers. [NT News (2000). NT Scoreboard. Tuesday, 19 September 2000. Page 35.]
* 10 September, 2006 - In the Elimination Final against Palmerston, the Reds have a 6 - 5 lead late in the game. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Nightcliff send 16 hitters to the plate and score 10 runs (all earned) against 3 Palmerston pitchers. The Tigers win the game 15 - 7 and advance to the 2006 Grand Final. [Dawkins, Greg (2006). Tigers' rally ends Reds' title hopes. NT News. 12 September 2006. Page 38.]
* 20 May, 2007 - In one of the tightest games of Nightcliff's history, the Tigers defeat Palmerston 1 - 0 after they score in the 6th inning following safe hits by Tim Rolland and Danny Dong. Pitcher Brett Niddrie throws a 2-hitter for the Tigers. [NT News (2007). Tigers claim their first kill. Monday, 21 May 2007. Page 37.]
* 16 September, 2007 - Tiger pitcher Brett Niddrie scatters 7 hits, in a stellar 128-pitch complete game. He also doubles in the game winning RBI in the 8th inning, to win the Preliminary Final against the Palmerston Reds 4 - 3, as Nightcliff advance to their 10 Grand Final appearance in 11 years. [NT News. (2007). Tigers all-rounder earns his stripes. Tuesday, 18 September 2007. Page 38.]
* 23 September, 2007 - Nightcliff score 6 runs in the top of the 9th inning to break the game open and go on to win the 2007 Grand Final against Tracy Village, 11 - 4.


Claxton Shield

Between 1981 and 1988, the Northern Territory competed in the national Claxton Shield competition and the following Nightcliff players represented the NT.

* 1981 - Bill Fryar, Lance Schmidt, Leigh Halprin & Wayne Longstaff
* 1982 - Bill Fryar & Dennis Kerin
* 1983 - Bill Fryar, Lance Schmidt & Paul Rider
* 1984 - Bill Fryar
* 1985 - Lance Schmidt
* 1986 - Nil
* 1987 - Bill Fryar
* 1988 - Andrew Kendray & Scott McCormack


Several Nightcliff registered players have represented Australia and they appear below.

* 1983 - Bill Fryar (Australian Invitation team to play 3-game series against Japanese amateur champions, Toshiba) [NT News. (1983). Japan side full of stars. Saturday, 19 November 1983. Page 45.]
* 1987 - Andrew Kendray (Under 18 National team to tour the United States)
* 1997 - Andrew Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
* 1999 - Andrew Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
* 2001 - Andrew Kendray & Greg Cran (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
* 2003 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
* 2005 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
* 2007 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)

Retired Numbers

The constitution allows for a player’s uniform number to be retired, if that player has played 15 or more seasons at ‘A’ grade level with the club. Players with their corresponding retired number follow:

* 13 - Fred Bush (career. 1969 – 1983)
* 11 - Kieran Cassidy (career. 1972 – 1988)
* 14 - Leigh Halprin (career. 1973 – 1989)
* 21 - Bill Fryar (career. 1980 – 1999)
* 12 - Andrew Kendray (career. 1985 – 2001)


External links

* [ Nightcliff Baseball Club Homepage]
* [ Darwin Baseball League]
* [ Baseball NT]
* [ Australian Baseball Federation]

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