John was a natural athlete. He was twice Victorian champion diver (U15 and U16). He played competitive tennis, played football for Hawthorn reserves in 1951, prior to being part of the National Service intake.
John was an outstanding all-rounder. His hard hitting quickly changed games and he was a very good fast-medium pace bowler. His name apperas 4 times in the all time best 50 bowling performances for Riverside A Grade. He was such a talented player that he was recalled to the A Grade team when in his mid 40sand played in the 76/77 Grand Final, a game Riverside lost narrowly.
John's massive individual contribution does not compare to the dynasty that he and Maureen provided for his beloved Riverside. Each of their 5 sons played A Grade as 16 year olds! John has treasured memories of playing A Grade cricket with 2 of his sons. He proudly recalled that "my kids kept me going" to play cricket. For 20 consecutive seasons, John was driver, umpire, scorer and babysitter from when Kevin started as a junior and Stephen finished his junior career.
There are many outstanding cricketers that John played against. Fred Leslie (Lower Plenty) "for his defence and ability to compile runs"; Frank Milne (Plenty) "for his flair and preparedness to take a bowler on"; Don Fisher (Plenty) "ferocious attitude to batsmen - plenty of mongrel"; Peter Barnett "overall bowling ability". Then there were the Riverside greats. Batsmen Lou Balcombe, Kevin Fitzpatrick and the late Jack Morrissey. Bowlers Shane Barry, Tony Corcoran and Leo Hart.
John recalled the time when Umpire Bill Cousins told John that it was just as well he hit the ball otherwise he would have been bowled. This was saidas the ball disappeared amongst the trees up on the hill at Greensborough Park.
Upon the sudden death of Brian Barclay, John became DVCA Treasurer, making his first book entry on 1 October1991. He was as meticulous and diliget as ever.
John's advice to budding cricketers is " Enjoy what you are doing as a young player and always demonstrate commitment as you mature".
John Gleeson is a genuine legend of the Diamond Valley Cricket Association.
Riverside Cricket Club
Seasons: 57/58 - 77/78
Runs: 5021 @ 23.5 High score 113, Centuries 1, Fifties 23
Wickets: 386 @ 13.9 Best Bowling 7/66, 5 Wickets x 10
Life Member: 76/77
Hall of Fame: 2003/04 (only 1 of 4 members)
Official: "Countless Years" (Committee, Club Delegate to the Association)
Sire: 5 A Grade cricketing Sons
Life Member 2003/04
Treasurer 1991/92 - 2005
The Gleeson Medal is awarded to the best player in the Money Shield competition every season.