The Shoalhaven cricketing fraternity was saddened to learn of the death in Western Australia on July 21, of Albatross club life member, John Allan Clayton, just three days after his 70th birthday.
After joining the Royal Australian Navy in February 1969, he was stationed at HMAS Albatross by the early 1970s, and during that decade his bowling in the Shoalhaven District Cricket Association earned him a reputation as a second grade finals specialist.
Over an eight-year period starting in 1974-75, Clayton played in seven final series in seconds, six of them with Kangaroo Valley. He never lost a semi-final, although two were washed out, and in those five games he took 40 wickets at 6.85 runs apiece.
The sequence started in 1974-75 when he took 5/32 (including a hat-trick of lbws) and 5/9 against Bomaderry RSL; and the following season he took 5/42 and 5/28 against Ulladulla United. There were also nine-wicket matches against Berry in 1980-81, and the following season when he joined Albatross - against the Valley!
From those seven finals campaigns, he also took 25 wickets in grand finals, which came at 9.64 runs apiece - making a total of 65 second grade final series wickets (at 7.92).
Apart from his five-second grade premierships, Clayton played in one winning combination in third grade with Cambetross (1972-73) and one in first grade with Albatross (1982-83). He continued playing with Albatross until 1989-90 when his life membership was conferred. Along the way, there had been clubman and most valuable player awards as well.
While with Albatross he gained representative selection and played his last games with Shoalhaven's senior XI in 1987-88 at the age of 36.
Clayton's final Shoalhaven stats reveal that he took five or more wickets in an innings on 20 occasions with a best of 7/38 against Bomaderry seconds in 1978-79. His aggregate was in excess of 350 wickets, including 200 in seven years with Kangaroo Valley seconds.
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