Rob, James and Glenn Aitken Voted Life Members

At the Bears’ Annual General Meeting on July 28, Robert, James and Glenn Aitken were unanimously awarded the North Sydney District Cricket Club’s 46th, 47th and 48th life memberships. It was a terrific evening and below are extracts from the nomination speeches for each of the three brothers.

Rob Aitken

By Rob Lavery

In 2001, before some of his current teammates were born, Rob Aitken joined the Bears. He has since played over 300 first grade games for the club.


It is hard to know where to start describing Rob’s career. He has played the record number of Sydney first grade games. He is one of only two men with 11,000 first grade runs and 600 first grade wickets. He played in the NSW U19 and U21 sides before earning a NSW 2nd XI selection. He has won the Bill O’Reilly Medal for the best player in Sydney Grade Cricket and the Michael Bevan medal for player of the one day final. He has been a premiership player at the club and played in numerous finals matches. He is the club’s 2nd highest first grade run-scorer and 5th highest first grade wicket-taker. Numbers say volumes about Rob.

What won’t turn up in the record books, however, is the grace with which Rob carries himself in all elements of club life. There is not a player, volunteer or club supporter Rob won’t chat to. He’ll celebrate a ball well bowled in the nets whether it is delivered by James Campbell or the newest of Green Shield players. He will also brightly commentate a well struck drive if you’re foolish enough to feed him a straight half-volley.

It isn’t widely known that Rob is the club’s, and possible the association’s, foremost helmet painter and decorator. More than one bright-eyed young Bear has turned to Rob to have their helmet blackened and badged – and been delighted with the results.

Rob’s humility makes the club environment more pleasant to be around and his wisdom is available to anyone who wants to ask.

He has also been an active clubman, helping lead the team when required and going above and beyond to help get the club in the press. Rob is always generous with his time. In the past couple of years, Rob has provided incredibly valuable insights and coaching to our women’s players at mid-week trainings, and it has been genuinely delightful to see his daughter, Emily, coming through the ranks of our Brewer Shield squad.

For his tireless service, on behalf of the committee I thus propose Robert Aitken for life membership of the North Sydney District Cricket Club.

James Aitken

By Patrick Lindsay

J Aitken Ctown

James is unquestionably one of the all-time great Bears. Sitting 5th fifth on the club’s all-time first grade run-scorers’ list is reason enough. Since joining the Bears in the 2002/03 season and claiming cap 569, James has amassed over 8,050 runs at 27.47 for the club. 6,449 of those runs have been scored in the top grade. He has scored 7 centuries and 47 fifties for the Bears, with his top score of 142 coming in a victory over an Easts side boasting internationals David Warner, Peter Nevill and Will Sommerville.

For the majority of James’ career he was seen as a top order batsman, however, in recent years James has added seam bowling to his repertoire. He has taken 125 wickets for the club at 25 with one 5-for and has taken 58 of those wickets in first grade.   

I’ve played quite a bit of cricket with James over the years and can confirm is one of the best teammates you can ask for. Experienced, focussed, determined, committed are words that spring to mind. Delivers a great appeal as well!

I recall James took the catch for my first wicket in first grade at Sydney Uni. A long hop hit very hard to him in the box on the on side. I’m not sure how it didn’t break his hand! I also claim some credit for James’ development into a seamer having asked him to bowl in a trial game on the central coast many moons ago. This was after he snicked me off on multiple occasions in preseason nets – not too difficult I know! James took a couple of wickets in that trial and I remember Mike Lloyd bowling him in a 2s one-dayer at Raby. We were defending 164 and James nearly got us over the line taking 5 for 23 off 7 overs.

James has been playing first grade for 22 seasons and grade cricket for even longer. He has been a tremendous servant, not only for North Sydney, but grade cricket in Sydney. Cricket is a great game and James plays it the right way. Hard and fair. All players can learn a lot from James’ dedication to cricket and respect he clearly has for Sydney Grade Cricket and first grade. Playing first grade at any club is a serious achievement and James (and his brothers) have borne this out over their careers.

Finally, tonight is by no means a valedictory. We hope to see James continue to take the field for Bears and add to what has been an all-time Bears’ career. It gives me great pleasure to formally recommend Mr James Aitken as life member of the North Sydney District Cricket Club.

Glenn Aitken

By Justin Avendano

GA Slips

Today I have the honour of saying a few words about Glenn Aitken and his amazing family, outlining why they should be given life membership of the North Sydney District Cricket Club. To be nominated for this great honour while still playing says everything about this family. All three brothers are very unique and different in their own way.

I’ve never met a better role model on and off the field than Glenn. Everybody at this club has felt your presence in one way or another. You inspire so many people without even trying to, and regardless of your cricketing career, you could be inducted for just being a leader and the role model you are.

I thought I would start with a quick story about Glenn and what he has meant to me. As some people know, I foolishly gave the game away at 22 thinking I was done. Glenn was the first to call me. Glenn has the knack of making you feel like you’re his son and he’s trying to support you through any situation life throws at you. Cricket is a tough game and probably the most mentally draining of sports that anyone can play, but not to Glenn. We spoke multiple times over the winter’s break about cricket, work, life, my goals and what life without cricket looks like. He was there as a friend and a mentor.

Glenn then got me back for a pre-season training session knowing I didn’t want to play but just said to come anyway. Glenn told me to forget any doubts I’ve ever had about the game and just bat the way you want to bat. No one is judging, no one cares what you do because you’re not playing right?  I never had so much fun at training. I felt like a new person. Batting suddenly became easy just playing with freedom.  Glenn and a few others convinced me to play the trial game the next week. Still to this day the most important game of cricket  I’ve ever played. Cricket was suddenly fun again. Glenn, in two weeks, changed my whole few on the game.

I’ve seen Glenn do this with so many people at the club in the past nine years. Glenn doesn’t even know he does it. It comes naturally. Without you I would not be here speaking today and my life would be very different.

Now to his cricket. For the past few years Glenn hasn’t been able to bowl his beautiful drifting, dipping and ever so slightly turning off breaks since injuring his shoulder playing in England. Glenn was one of the dominant spinners in first grade for the better part of two decades. 215 first grade matches, 255 wickets at an incredible average of 28 for the Bears. He always plays down how good he was, saying Rob had the talent, but Glenn had his brain. He was working batsmen out like it was a game of chess.

Glenn also had an incredible ability to score some very handy lower order runs. He single-handedly got us to a first grade grand final in 2012/13 when he was given the chance to open the batting and play with absolute freedom. He finished the year as the leading run scorer with a strike rate over 140. He scored 86 in the final, then Rob bowled us to victory 5 for 17. Glenn scored over 3000 first grade runs for the Bears at an average of 20, but I’m sure 80% of those runs were scored when the team needed him to.

There are 2 sides to Glenn. As a cricketer he is fierce, aggressive, determined with a never-say-die attitude. Off the field he is a humble, kind and inspiring.

I know where you guys get your cricket passion, and that from your dad Bob, who unfortunately isn’t with us anymore but he would be incredibly proud of all your achievements tonight, and I can’t wait to see your biggest supporter, your mum, Jayne, cheering us when the season kicks off.