On behalf of the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club, it is with extreme sadness to announce that our most beloved Bevan James has passed away.

The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club has lost its greatest son, as Wacka, who was inducted as a Life Member in 1976, passed away early yesterday morning.

In what is the most difficult article to write, our thoughts, prayers and hearts go out to June, Megan, Peter, Tony and family. He will be greatly missed.

Wacka debuted for the Spartans in 1960, quickly coming to prominence as a junior, and bowled a variety of spinners with great bounce, and he later developed into a superb all-round player being a very sound batsman and a magnificent gully fieldsman.

Wacka is without doubt the definition of a Spartan. His humility, passion and love for the Club has extended to almost six decades, and he, alongside June, have always been at the heart of the Club and loved by all generations of Spartans.

The complete embodiment of the Spartan Cricket Club, Wacka’s passing will undoubtedly have an unprecedented effect on our great Club and we will miss him dearly.

We are distraught at the loss of such a great friend, a true gentleman of the Club who lit up the room, and we thank you for the opportunity to know you personally.

Thank you Bevan James for being such a crucial part of our Club for the longest time, a Spartan through and through.

The Spartan Cricket Club loves Wacka, we are absolutely devastated – he means the world to us and he will be dearly missed.

Wacka (front row, fourth from the right) pictured alongside wife June at our 2016 Windup.

Bevan ‘Wacka’ James (second row from the front, far right) in a Spartan Club photo from 1973.

Wacka quickly became a pivotal member of the Spartan Cricket Club, and was held in high regard even as a youngster.

In 1966, just a mere few years since his debut, Bevan was establishing himself as a stalwart of the Club both on and off the field. He took 6 for 48 against Hamilton, which was the first of many occasions on which he was to rout that particular Club, and in the following season, he claimed 5 for 5 and 5 for 30.

He also took 5 for 49 against CBC in 1974, and gave proof of his developing status as an all-rounder, with scores of 58 and 52 not out.

Wacka would go on to become the Club’s greatest ever bowler, claiming a record 635 wickets which is still unmatched to this day.

His 4579 runs places him twenty-sixth on the Club’s leading run scorers, a list of over more than 1200 representatives.

In 1970, the dream became reality, and with Wacka now a regular in the first grade, the Spartans achieved their first First Grade Premiership in forty-four years. Bevan was instrumental in the victory.

“A most memorable season when a dream became a reality as the First Grade team thrashed Hilton Park in the Grand Final to win the club’s first premiership since 1925-26 at the top level.

The win was based on the inspirational leadership of Lew Read, great bowling by George Pluske and Bevan James supported by a superb display of fielding by all members of the side.”

Bevan James bowled magnificently to set up the Grand Final win when he mesmerised the opposition batsmen to take 5 for 28 in the first innings.

Wacka was, and forever will be, loved by all generations of Spartans. One of the few who was very much at the heart of the Spartan Club, Bevan is the definition of what we should all aspire to be.

Recent health battles proved incapable of slowing him down, Wacka and June would together be regulars at our Club up until last season, having frequented Windups, Grand Finals, events and more. Always with a smile, a story, and the love for whatever the Club was doing.

Forever popular amongst our members, Wacka’s approachability, kindness and happiness makes him truly special and absolutely irreplaceable.

Fellow Life Member Matt Smith recalled the “great stories” Wacka would share “about spinning a web and taking 8 on portable aluminium pitches at High Street. June said “if he coulda packed it in the car and taken it out every Saturday he would have taken 1500 wickets!”

“Another Spartan taken , this one will be felt a little harder by all of us. Your storytelling, humility and spirit will be remembered always. Condolences and love to June and all your family”

The immediate outpouring of grief amongst the Spartan family was proof of how much Wacka means to the Spartan Cricket Club. His infectious smile, kind personality and capacity to light up the room made him, to put it simply, one of our finest ever.

Additional messages of condolences from our Facebook Page include;

Sandy Boyes:

You were one of the best Wacka a true gentleman loved listening to your many stories and will be sadly missed my heart goes out to June, Megan & family.

Malcolm Johnson:

Condolences to June, Megan, Peter and familys Wacka was a gentleman a Spartan and yeh pretty handy hockey player a pleasure to know you Wacka. Drifty and Diane.

Paul Kalleske:

Rest in peace wacka. One of the true gentleman of the club, it’s going to be strange not having you watching us at the ground. Rest easy now my friend. Condolences to June and family he was a great man.

Ron McDonald:

RIP Wacka the pain has stopped now mate. Condolences to June and the James family. You will be missed by all the Spartan family.

June and Wacka arrive at the Sheraton Hotel ahead of our 90th Anniversary.

Wacka’s name is synonymous with the Spartan Cricket Club – he is featured frequently in all records and history pages, and his dedication and love for the Club and its members places him in extremely rare company indeed.

Wacka’s playing records are listed below;

Bevan James – Bowling Records:

Wickets Average Best Catches Debut
635* 14.8 7/11 146 1960/61

Bevan James – Batting Records:

Matches Runs Average Highest Premierships
280 4579 17.1 98* 5

*Wacka’s 635 wickets is a Club record.

On behalf of the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club, Bevan James, you are the definition of a true Spartan through and through.

We love and adore you, everything you have done for the Club, your generosity, humility, story telling, kindness, happiness and love for the Spartans makes you our greatest ever.

This Club will never be the same, but thanks to the unsurpassable standard you have set for how a Spartan should be, you will forever live on in our hearts.

Thank you and rest easy mate, a fantastic innings indeed.



Messages Of Condolence;

We invite all Spartans to forever immortalise Wacka on our website by leaving a message of thanks to the great man in the comments section below. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten.

Information On Wake;

Wacka’s wake will be held at the clubhouse, most likely next Friday, the 30th of June. Details will be confirmed and formally announced on our website in the coming days.

Photos Request;

We’re also asking you to please send in any photos of Wacka that you may have, we are hoping to compose a slideshow for our website.

Wacka and June (front row) celebrating the Life Member induction of Craig Pereira at the 2016 Windup.

Wacka (front row, four from the left) in a Club photo from 1976 (the year he was inducted as a Life Member)

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  1. Graeme Ashley

    Extremely sad new of the passing of Wacka James. My priviledge to have known and played with Wacka over many years. LIfe’s work now completed. Condolences to June, Megan, Tony and family. You will be sadly missed by all the Spartan family.

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