Club Record Holder of the Adelaide University Football Club
I joined AUFC in 1970 from school and as happened in those days (and befitting my physique and skill level) started in the A3 Reserves (6th side) and worked my up during the year meeting a large number of people along the way, inc Geoff in the sides he capt-coached. I played in the lower grades from 1970 to mid-1972 when I made the A1’s. I thus played with Geoff under his astute leadership and could not help but be impacted by his passion for the game, the team spirit and sense of fun that he instilled in his players. His respect for the umpires and ensuring they knew his name and number paid off for the team and in the medal votes he accumulated over a long career. I ensured I always turned up early to games, esp away ones, when playing in the afternoon games and Geoff quite regularly had me fill in as an extra to “warm me up” for the later contest.
His fitness for a man of his age later in his career was remarkable. I often observed his runs from Uni Oval at lunch times when I was filling Coke machines or other Treasurer tasks which many of us senior players to shame.
He was often around Uni Oval for A1 games and was a great support for the A1’s and all the Uni teams at every level and a good sounding board along with his mate Chocka who transformed gthe club in the late 1970’s after a stint in the late 1960’s and 1970. By having some mature heads around a largely young student cohort meant so much to us. Particularly for “a young Barty” who took on the Treasurer’s role quite young and inexperienced and needed the support of the older club members of which Geoff was a key figure.
The excerpt from the 75th Year History Book was as follows:
Professor G .C. (Geoff) Harcourt – 1981
G.C. (Geoff) Harcourt started his career with ‘the Blacks’ in 1958 as a rover with the Club’s third side. He had the misfortune to miss only one game for the season – the Grand Final – when struck down by pneumonia.
After a brief appearance in 1959 he retired, only to reappear in 1963 and play half a season before travelling to Cambridge where, on study leave, he stayed for three and a half years.
This trip to England seemed to stabilize his football career, as on his return, Geoff captained sides in A5, A2 Reserves, A3 Reserves, and A4 Reserves from 1967 to 1972. His 1972 season as Captain-Coach of the A4 Reserves was interrupted by study leave after the sixteenth round – despite this setback the side went on to win the Flag.
Never one to say die, Geoff returned in 1974 to Captain-Coach the A3 Reserves and continued with this side until 1977 when he took control of the A1 Reserves. In this season Geoff had the distinction of playing his 200th game for the Club.
In 1978 and 1979 Geoff boundary umpired for the A1 Reserves with an occasional game to keep his eye in.
In a career that spanned 23 years, Geoff played 210 games and served on the Management Committee – he was Chairman in 1979 before setting off for a further stint overseas on study leave. In 1981 he returned to the Club as Deputy Chairman and A1 Reserves boundary umpire – an unusual combination.
Rarely has there been a Club member who has served the Club so admirably and contributed his unique character and skills to the betterment of ‘the Blacks’.
Through his contact with Club members in the Economics faculty, Geoff also made many personal contributions that made significant differences to the lives and careers of many Club members over an extended period.
In 1981 Geoff Harcourt was elected an Honorary Life Member of the Club. In 1982 the Club held a rare Testimonial Dinner for Geoff to celebrate his contribution to ‘the Blacks’ over many years and farewell him prior to taking up an appointment at Cambridge University.
Geoff Harcourt has a son, Tim, who was an active Club member in the 1980’s, playing 80 games between 1983 and 1988.
Adelaide Cricket Club
To a bunch of callow 18-year-old university C-grade cricketers well over half a century ago, the Prof was a subject of awed amazement for the way he had persisted in playing cricket, and captaining us, so deep into his sprightly old age. As all social scientists know, so much depends on your point of view. It seems Geoff was in his mid-thirties at the time.
But I harbour doubts. I strongly suspect he’s made the ton, and some agent is being allowed 10 per cent.
Happy birthday, Geoff. The cricket is only the beginning of many treasured memories – all of them adding to enlightenment and to fun – and the odd bit of shared mischief.