David Simpson, a Sydney University cricketer of the early 1980s, lost his fight against a malignant brain tumour early on the morning of 2 November.
David attended Trinity Grammar School, where he earned a reputation as an outstanding sportsman. He was full back in the 1st XV in his final year at school, 1978, and was in the 1st XI for three years, from 1976 to 1978, playing alongside a number of future Sydney University cricketers (including John and David Loxton, Phil Logan, John Hurley and Max Bonnell). For several years, he and John Hurley were virtually inseparable, as they played Rugby and cricket alongside each other on most weekends throughout their school days. After achieving an excellent result in his Higher School Certificate, David entered Sydney University in 1979 to study Economics and Law. In 1980-81, he made his first appearance for Sydney University Cricket Club and it was a dynamic start: in his first season, he claimed 58 wickets at 11.50. He spent most of the season in Fifth Grade, where he twice took seven wickets in an innings, his best effort being 7-34 against Mosman. He was a member of the Fifth grade side that won that season’s Final, although his bowling was restricted after he broke a finger while batting.
Simmo was an opening bowler, with a fluid, athletic action, who was capable of generating slippery pace when his rhythm was right. He was also a capable left-handed batsman in the lower order, who frequently played strokes that suggested that he might have developed this aspect of his game further with more opportunities. Altogether, he played for the Club between 1980-81 and 1983-84, earning selection as high as Third Grade and scoring 283 runs at 14.89 and taking 128 wickets at 16.12. In 1981-82, he played in the Intervarsity matches against University of Queensland and Adelaide University, which were then games of a very high standard, and he performed strongly, taking seven wickets in the two matches. There’s little doubt that he could have performed well in higher grades had he applied himself to that goal, but he had made the choice to concentrate on his studies, with increasingly impressive results.
After he graduated with Honours in Law, David’s time with the club ended when he took a place at Cambridge University, where he obtained the degree of Masters of Law. Upon his return to Sydney he was recruited by the firm then known as Allen Allen & Hemsley, which was at that time the leading firm of solicitors in Sydney. David specialised in mergers and acquisitions, and was promoted rapidly to senior associate, and then to partner. After practising in Sydney, and later in Indonesia, he was appointed Managing Partner of the Allens Singapore office in 1997. In Singapore, he was recruited by the English firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and became Managing Partner of the Freshfields office in Singapore.
The stellar success of David’s legal career was interrupted in 2004, when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. He was treated with radical surgery, conducted in the United States, and faced this challenge with immense courage and incredible good humour. As he recovered, he decided against a return to full-time legal work, but soon he was in high demand as a corporate adviser and company director. He acted as Company Secretary of Magellan Financial Group, and was a director of various companies including Rubicon Asset Management and Boulder Steel.
A couple of months ago, tests revealed that a new tumour had appeared. David was treated in St Vincent’s Hospital, where he undertook further surgery and chemotherapy, but the cancer was advanced and aggressive. He spent his last weeks surrounded by the love and support of friends and family. Most people who knew David remember him not for the range of his talents and accomplishments – significant as they were – but for his qualities as a friend.
The Club extends its condolences to David’s family, especially his three children. A funeral service will be held at St Mark’s Church, Darling Point, at 1pm on Friday 6 November.