Brilliant Bill remembered for cricketing achievements and farming passion

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Mt Barker legend Bill Sounness.
Camera IconMt Barker legend Bill Sounness. Credit: Bob Garnant

Mt Barker cricket great Bill Sounness will be remembered for his wonderful cricketing achievements and dedication to farming through his family cattle stud.

Sounness, 70, died in car crash last month.

He remarkably scored a double century in both innings of the 1983 Mt Barker Cricket Association grand final while playing for Narrikup — the only local player to ever achieve such a feat.

He was an accomplished sportsman, playing for South Mt Barker Football Club and was a regular at Mt Barker Golf Club.

His life was celebrated in a COVID-19-restricted service, fittingly held on the cricket pitch at his family farm Merryup.

Sounness made cricket history when he scored 201no in the first innings of his side’s total of 355, before smashing the same score in the second innings as Narrikup defeated Centrals in the decider.

Mt Barker legend Bill Sounness, far right, with siblings and cousins.
Camera IconMt Barker legend Bill Sounness, far right, with siblings and cousins.

A newspaper article at the time titled “Sounness blazes second double century in final” detailed the special moment.

“Narrikup batsman Bill Sounness created cricket history last weekend in the Mt Barker Cricket Association A-grade cricket final by posting back-to-back double centuries for his team,” it read.

Mt Barker played in 11 A-grade country week grand finals, including eight in a row between 1975 and 1992, winning seven with Sounness playing in all of them.

At the age of 35 Sounness helped Mt Barker Cricket Association win the 1987 A-grade country week grand final by scoring a superb 129 against Williams.

Sounness played for the WA Country XI against England in Albany in 1978 while he also played in a match against a fearsome West Indies side.

He started his cricket career at Blackwood Road Cricket Club before moving for a few seasons to the Narrikup Cricket Club where he spent his latter years mentoring young players.

Bill Sounness after making his remarkable two double centuries in the grand final.
Camera IconBill Sounness after making his remarkable two double centuries in the grand final.

A family statement said Sounness was remembered as a passionate and dedicated worker and a passionate sportsman.

“Tragically Bill did not reach his lifetime century but as we say farewell to him we remember a true-blue farmer who passionately dedicated his life to his farm and cattle stud,” the statement read.

“An all-round accomplished sportsperson, a person who stood very much by his personal beliefs and especially a devoted son to his mother.”

Sounness followed in his parents’ footsteps in developing a love for golf, winning the Mt Barker Golf Club championship several times.

Not only does Sounness hold records for cricket he also broke the course record for the Mt Barker Golf Club in 1971.

Living south of the Muir Highway, the Sounness family were historically linked to the South Mt Barker Football Club.

He played in the 1968 winning grand final team and was also president at the club for many years and was eventually awarded life membership.

The cricket pitch on the family farm ‘Merryup’.
Camera IconThe cricket pitch on the family farm ‘Merryup’.

Sounness began his schooling at Mt Barker Primary School before attending high school at Scotch College in Perth.

He showed his brilliant sporting talent at Scotch College, instantly making the interschool athletics team while going on to play first XI cricket and first 18 football, including a 6-27 against Guildford Grammar in cricket.

Sounness moved back to the family farm where his love for the country continued.

He assisted in the establishment of the Merryup Santa Gertrudis Stud and his passion for cattle developed. He would regularly show cattle at the Mt Barker, Albany and Perth Royal shows.

Sounness became a stud master and was an active member of the WA Santa Gertrudis Association, where he was the president for a number of years.

Bill Sounness with cousin Richard Sounness.
Camera IconBill Sounness with cousin Richard Sounness.

Long-time Mt Barker cricketer Graeme Wright said he was an idol to everyone.

“He was one of the all-time greats,” Wright said.

“He was a legend, fantastic bloke, fantastic cricketer that always led from the front in everything he did.”

Bill Sounness Country XI Cap.
Camera IconBill Sounness Country XI Cap.

Mt Barker Cricket Club president Stuart Duggan said Sounness’ many achievements did the town proud.

“A lot of the older members will miss him dearly, everyone has fond memories of him,” Duggan said.

“All the young cricketers (have) heard of him and looked up to him. The whole club has felt the loss.”

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