Ray Cornell (1920 - 1955)
Ray Price (1958 - 1971)
Dennis Parsons (1971 - 1979)
Keith Frampton (1974 - 1984)
This club was formed in 1906, a few years before I was born. When I was very young I became very interested in the game of cricket and I decided that I would go and watch Mount play when they played on their home ground. I had to walk two or three kms north west of where the present ground is situated. The late McCarmody (Carmody property was situated on the south-west corner of Stephensons and Highbury Roads) let the cricket club have use of one of their grazing paddocks to play on.
In the year 1923 a wonderful event took place in our district. There was a large piece of land between 20 and 30 acres, bounded by Stewart Street, St.Albans Road and Charles Street. This piece of land had been neglected for as long as I could remember. The Council did all in their power to find out who owed this land. I suppose they wanted to get the rates that were owing. When the Council failed to find the owner, they gave half of this land to the local residents (about 10 or 12 acres) for the sole purpose of making a recreation reserve for the use of the local people. The other half of this land was taken over by the MMBW. There were no fences around this property, so it meant a lot of surveying had to be undertaken. The roads around this property were very rough dirt tracks, very wet in the winter and very dusty in the summer.
Many working bees were held and were always well attended by men, women and children. There were jobs for everyone to do. At first an area the size of the present playing field was cleared. Also some land big enough for two tennis courts in the north east corner was cleared. The local people must have worked very hard because after two years, in 1925, we could see that the ground would be ready for the first cricket match in October of that year. The playing area was looking very nice, the grass that had been planted was up and the ground started to look like a cricket ground. I must say that outside the playing area was still very rough.
Now there had to be a concrete pitch put down and I watched with great interest the progress of this pitch. I was still a school boy and I would always come home from school that way. I would stay for a while and watch the work that was going on. The late Mr Jim Bennett was the man in charge of this job and I remember him putting the finishing touches to the pitch. He was very particular in every detail and when he had completed the job he remarked to me that there would be many runs made and many wickets taken on that pitch.
How right he was, because during the whole of my playing days with Mount (a period of 30 years) that pitch stood up very well. Who ever picked the position for that first wicket must have known what they were doing because here we are over 60 years later and the present turf wicket is now in the same position and running in the same direction as the first concrete pitch was. By this time, I was 14 years old and my ambition was to become a playing members of the Mt Waverley first eleven.
So, you can imagine how pleased I was when the men started to have cricket practise. I would go along every Tuesday and Thursday evenings and field for them, also help find the balls when they go lost in undergrowth outside the playing area. I would always be rewarded with a few hits at the end of the men’s practise. I thought it was great to have the men bowl to me. I must have shown a bit of talent as a cricketer in my young days because when I was only 14 years old I was asked if I would like to be 12th man for the 1st eleven. You can imagine how thrilled I was to accept this position. My Mum got me a white shirt and shorts and white runners and off I would go every Saturday, hoping someone would be late or had to leave early so I could take the field.
It was when I was 12th man that I took my first catch in senior cricket. Strangely enough, it was against my own team. We were playing Burwood and they were a man short, so I had to field for them and in the first over of the match the ball was hit near where I was fielding and I took the catch. The Burwood players were very pleased with my efforts.
When the first match in 1925 was played on our own ground, there were very few conveniences there. No pavilion (the first pavilion was built in 1926(just two rooms)). There was a tin shed at the southern end of the ground which the footballers used as a dressing shed. There were four seats at the northern end, there was a fence of about 1/3rd of the way around the ground, there was no water and of course no electric power. There was a Ladies and Gents toilet right down in the south-west corner of the ground. To get to these toilets meant a long walk through the undergrowth and people had to watch where they walked because there were plenty of snakes about in those days.
In 1926 I was picked to play my first game with the first eleven. I was only 15 years old at the time. I held my place in the 1st eleven for the next 28 years. During those years I was never dropped out of that team. Altogether, I played for Mt.W.C.C. for 30 years. The last two years I played in the 2nd eleven. I don’t remember missing a game in all those years. I had success and failure, thrills and disappointments. I will tell one or two of those stories later in this article.
I well remember the make up of the first team I played in. It was a bit like a family affair. There were 5 Lechte brothers, 2 Pepperell brothers, 2 Hore brothers, the late Albert Moore and myself. The Lechte’s were a great sporting family - 6 boys and 5 girls. All the boys were A grade cricketers and the girls were all good tennis players. I had the pleasure of playing cricket with five of the Lechte brothers. I most likely would have played with them all, but the late Bert had the misfortune to lose a leg during World War I. The Lechte’s had a full size cricket pitch in their back yard and I learnt a lot of my cricket on this pitch, The late Don & Edgar took great interest in me as a young lad. Don was our Bible Class leader and Edgar our Gym instructor and leader of our boys club.
The late Edgar was responsible for me doing two courses at the Y.M.C.A in Melbourne. One course on Public Speaking and the other as a leader of a boys’ club. I still have a certificate to show that I passed in both subjects.
In my first game I was cleaned bowled for a duck but the selectors gave me another chance. We were playing Burwood and they had a fast bowler named Snowy Finch and he thought he would try me out by bowling at my leg stump. In those early days there was very little protective cricket gear. All I had was a pair of pads and a bat. The gloves and protectors the club had were too big for me. I think that is one of the reasons that I developed a good eye for cricket. After I had been hit a few nasty blows on the body our captain, the late Mr Pepperell, thought that was enough of that sort of bowling so he sang out to the bowler. He said "Go easy on him Snow, he has got to go to school on Monday." I know I made 78 runs that day.
When I started to play cricket, we played in the Burwood District Cricket Association. There were 8 teams in the A grade, Ashburton, Burwood, Hartwell, East Burwood, Scoresby, Mulgrave, Glen Waverley, Mt Waverley. More teams were added later on. The three teams down the western end of the comp were very strong. The reason being these districts were going through the same transformation as we have in the district over the last 30 years. Many new people were moving in to their district. Many of the men were very good cricketers who had played much higher cricket. I played with and against some very good young cricketers in my early days and I often wonder how far some of the young men would have gone in the game if they had been able to be coached in those early days.
I will mention a few of these players: East Burwood had Ern Mullens, a brilliant batsman and Ted Martin, a good all rounder. Glen Waverley and later Wheelers Hill had the late Bill Herriott, a very good medium paced bowler who should have gone on to higher cricket. Glen Waverley also had a player a few years older than me. I admired his concentration. He could bat all the afternoon and at the end of the day he knew exactly how many runs he had made without looking at the scorebook. In our own club we had the late Tony Bridle who was a beautiful batsman and a brilliant wicket keeper. Also in out team we had the Rev.Ern Lechte. (Ern and I are the only two players of the first team I played with that are alive today.) Ern was in my opinion the perfect batsman who had every shot in the book. He taught me how to play a lot of these shots. If ever I had any success with the bat, Ern would say in his dry sense of humour, "Of course, I taught Ray all he knows about the game of cricket." We also had y brother Ken in our team and he was the best slow left arm spin bowler in the Burwood & District Comp and later in the Oakleigh District Comp. Ken’s action was such that he could bowl for long spells and is bowling just as well as when he started. What a pity the record number of runs made and wickets taken by batsmen and bowlers were not kept. It would make very interesting reading these days!
Mount found it very hard to win a Premiership. About two years before I started to play cricket, the club went through the season undefeated until the final game and after leading by 120 runs ion the first innings, they were all out in the second innings for 29 runs. The late Jack Hore carried his bat through the innings for 12 not out. Glen Waverley won the game by 2 wickets.
I must tell you that one of the rules we had in those days which could not apply these days, was that the final game had to be played to a finish. On the average, it took about 4 days to complete the game. Sometimes it would go into day 5.
Ken and I had the pleasure of playing in our first premiership in 1933 - 34. I don’t remember much about that game, but I know we won fairly easy. Our next premiership, about 2 years later, was the most exciting game I played in. We were playing Camberwell Municipal on the Hartwell ground. It was a very high scoring game. We were given about 300 runs to make in the second innings. Our opening batsman gave us a good start by scoring over 100 runs for the first wicket. We all contributed to the score and the last day started and we still needed 33 runs to win with only two wickets left. Brother Ken was in his late teens at the time and he and a young chap named Ric Anderson were the not out batsmen. Early on the last day, Ken hit the ball straight to the man fielding at point and he put ut down. At this point of time, Ken and Ric started to run for everything, with the result the fielding side went to pieces completely. There were misfields and overthrows and in the end these two young men made the runs necessary for us to win the game. The most relieved young fellow was Allan Rosco who had the pads on ready to go in if a wicket fell. He said he was pleased he did not have to go in to bat. There are many more memories that have come back to me, but they will have to be told another time because there are two personal experiences that I had I want to tell you about.
The first one is about the biggest disappointment that I had in all my career. I was only 15 years old and playing in my first final against Hartwell on our own ground at the time. I was a member of a young men’s Bible Class at the local MethodistChurch and every Easter we would go to Ocean Grove to a men’s camp, where men of all ages came from all over Victoria. It was a very big camp. This was to be my first camp. I had already paid my 5/- deposit (50c) and I was looking forward to this experience. Easter Saturday that year happened to be the 5th day of the cricket final if it went that long. Before the team was picked on the Thursday night I went to the selectors and told them I would be available for the first four days but if the game went on to the fifth Saturday I would be away at the camp. The selectors, in their wisdom or otherwise, decided they would take a chance and play me. They dud not want to change the team. You can imagine how pleased I was because I wanted to play in my first final. I will skip over the first 3 days and take up this story at about 4:30pm on the fourth day.
We were in a bit of trouble, we were 7 wickets down and till needed 130 runs to win when my turn came to go in to bat. Before I went in to bat, our captain had a talk with me. He said he knew that I could play a straight bat and he told me to wait for the loose ball to score off. Then the last thing he said to me was "Don’t do anything silly!" In my young days I would be batting OK and all of a sudden I would loose my concentration and go for a big hit, especially if I saw another player hit a six. I would try to do the same and would be caught out. I was not strong enough to hit a six in those days. This day I was going along very well. I had scored about 15 runs when a nasty incident developed. Hartwell had a very good wicker keeper who stood right on top of the wicket to the medium bowlers. He cramped my style a bit because I always liked to use my bat and go down the wicket to meet the bowler. But with the wicker keeper standing on top of the wicket I had to be very careful. This keeper had a bad fault. He was a very bad sport and would do anything to get you out, fair means or foul. I had the stitch and the bowler bowled a beautiful ball to me. It beat me all the way. I don’t know to this day whether that ball bowled me or not. I did not hear the ball make contact with the wicket. In my cricket days, if I knew I was out I would walk off but this day for some reason I just stood there. The wicker keeper put on an act. He said to the bowler you cleaned bowled the kid. What amazed me was there was no appeal. This man then turned to me and said young man, you had better walk because you were clean bowled. He said, "Just have a look at your wickets." They re in a mess but I noticed they were al leaning towards me and the ball and the bails were near my feet. Now, all you cricketers know that when you are clean bowled the wickets go backwards not forwards. Anyway, I thought I must be out and I started to walk but when I go a few yards down the wicket my partner said "Get back in your crease." But it was too late. This wicket keeper came from behind the wicket, picked up the ball and pulled all the wickets out of the ground with me stranded down in the middle of the pitch. That is when the first appeal was to the square leg umpire. I can still see those two umpires conferring and they gave me not out. The wicketkeeper was quite right when he asked the umpires why he gave me not out and his answer was that he declared the ball to be dead after such a long delay and also he said in his opinion it was unfair play. The keeper then appealed to the umpire at the bowler’s end. He said to the umpire how was that for being bowled. The umpire gave me the benefit of the doubt. They said their view was blocked by both the batsman and the wicket keeper and also the position of the wickets. Now in fairness to all the other Hartwell players, they accepted the umpire’s decision, but not the keeper. He said some nasty things to me and being only a lad I wasn’t game to answer back. If this had happened later in my career, I would have had something to say. By this time it was getting on towards stumps and at 6 o’clock we were still together and had reduced our leeway to 78 runs. I had made about 20 or more and was very pleased with my effort. When we were going off the ground that evening, my partner said to me, "What a pity you won’t be here next Saturday to continue your innings. In all the excitement I had forgotten that the next Saturday I would be away. What a position I found myself in and I had to make a decision there and then. I decided I would stop home and finish my innings and the match.
The next Saturday my mate and I carried on from where we had left off the previous week. We were still together at afternoon tea time and now we were only 28 behind. I had reached my half-century and was thrilled to have made that many ruins in m7 first final. After the tea break the Hartwell captain put on a slow bowler who got my partner out off the very first ball he bowled. So now we only had 2 wickets left and still needed 28 runs to win. The next man in was the late Don Lechte who was a very big hitter and he loved slow bowlers. Off the second ball he received he hit clean out of the ground and the next two balls received the same treatment. I had been batting for the best part of two Saturdays for my 50 odd runs and here was Don after three balls had made nearly half as many runs as I had. The next ball we ran a single and we were only 9 runs away from victory. That was the worst single I ever ran in my life because it gave me the strike and when I saw Don hit those sixes I lost my concentration and did that silly thing that I was told not to do and was caught at mud on when we only needed 9 runs to win. The last wicket fell without any more runs added to the score. I am sure you will agree with me when I say at that moment I suffered the biggest disappointment of my cricket career. My advice to any young player who may read this is never take any notice of the way of the other man bats, Always play in your own game.
My final story is about my greatest achievement in all my years in the game.
This happened in 1936 in the depression years. At the time, I was working for the late Jack Hore who had a market garden in High Street Road, right opposite the Riversdale Golf Links. Can you imagine from Warragul Road to Stud road was all market gardens, orchards and dairy farms. There was on shop, two churches, the Horticultural Hall, 1 Hotel and a Cool Store with a few houses scattered in between (but that is another story).
My wages at the time was 2Pound 8 shillings per week (about $5). I paid my Mum 2-pound for my board so I did not have much money left. I was trying to save up to get married. Also, I had to save up some money to buy myself a new pair of cricket trousers as my old ones were getting worn out. I think a new pair of trousers was worth about $5 in those days. The clothing firms were coming out with all sorts of gimmicks to try and sell their goods. One crowd brought out a pair of trousers called Grip U and their gimmick was if you purchased a pair of these trousers in the month of November you could win a cricket blazer tailer made in your club colours, if you took a hat trick or made a century in that month. I had already taken a hat trick but had never made a 100. I got in the 80’s and 90’s a few times but had never made the golden ton. So I thought I would have a short at winning a blazer. I asked my Mum if she would go down to Chapel Street, Prahran and go to London Stores and buy me a pair of these Grip U pants. I told her to make sure she kept the receipt and got the application form in case I performed either of these feats. When my Mum got these pants home we found out that they fitted me OK but me being short in the legs they had to be altered. Mum being a busy lady did not have time to shorten the legs of the trousers so I made my old ones do for the day. I did not tell any of my mates about these trousers. I thought they might laugh at me.
We were playing Glen Iris Meths on our own ground and they were batting first. I was one of Mount’s opening bowlers at the time. Imagine my surprise when the captain said to me that he would give the other bowlers a chance and if needed would call on me later. I did not \get a bowl because the other bowlers did the job and got Glen Iris Meths out for 77. We went in to bat at about 5 o’clock and our first wicket fell early and my turn came to bat at 1/2 past five. I scored a single off the first ball I received and the second ball I tried to hit out of the ground but I hit the ball straight up in the air, which should have been an easy catch for the bowler, but mid on and the bowler went for the catch. They did not speak to each other and the result was that when the ball was about 2 metres from them they both topped to let the other one take the catch and the ball fell harmlessly between the two players ( a very costly mistake as you will see as you read on). From then on I went for the big hit and at stumps (6 o’clock) I was 113 not out. After 45 minutes batting I had made my first century. I thought to myself I wish I had worn my new trousers because I could have won a new cricket blazer but I still did not tell anybody about the trousers. The next Saturday my captain asked we what I was going to do that day. Now the record highest score for Mount at that time was 114. I told my captain I was going to break the club records and then I would go for the big hit again. He said, "I will give you 45 minutes to bat because I must close the innings and go for an outright win." Well, 45 minutes later I was out caught on the long boundary but nor before I had scores another 120, making my total score 233 which included 28 fours and 7 sixes in a total of 90 minutes. That score is still a record for the Mt.W.C.C. I thought it was time to tell my mates about the pants I did not wear and how I missed out on a new blazer. One of the umpires heard us talking about the position of the new trousers and he asked me could he see the paper where the conditions of the new blazer were. He read the conditions and called me over to him and he told me I had won the blazer. The conditions were that if the trousers were bought in the month of November and the feat was performed in that month. It did not state that you had to wear them. Two weeks later I was the proud owner of a Royal Blue and White blazer. It took me 10 years to make my first century and one month later I made another century. Altogether I made 6 scores of over 100.
All good things must come to a close and in 1955 I retired. I had already been made a Life Member of the club, an honour I am proud of. In 30 years with one club you make many friends.
I remember when I was Secretary of the club, one Thursday evening a young lad in his early teens came to cricket practise and me being Secretary it was my job to make myself known to any new players that came along and sign them on as a player. When I made myself known to this young man he told me he was Laurie Ryan. Now Laurie’s mother was my school teacher at the Mt Waverley S.C. He said when I get home I will tell my Mum that I had met you. Laurie and I are still great mates and we often talk about the good times we had on the cricket field. When I retired as Secretary, Laurie was the young man who took my place.
In my last year as a player I had the pleasure of playing under Laurie when he was captain of the second eleven.
The Mount Waverley Cricket Club was formed in 1906, and played it's early match's at a playing field close to Highbury Road. In 1925 the Club moved to it's current location on Charles Street. Ray Cornell who saw the ground being developed and later played the first match there, describes it "as having a tin shed at the south end of the ground which was used as a dressing room. There was no power or water, and there was a toilet shed in the south-west corner which meant a long walk through snake infested growth". The Club played at this time in the Oakleigh District Cricket Association.
I first came to the club in 1958, as a newly married, who had a house on the new Jennings estate south of the corner of Waverley and Stevensons Road. Having settled for 12 months, I joined with a neighbour in John Eddey to try out in September. I had previously played at Carnegie, a leading VJCA club, where my father was President, and I had experience as a delegate, Assistant Secretary etc. The year we joined had been preceded by two premierships in the Oakleigh District C.A. and a loss of players due to the formation of the Mount Methodists in 1957, and the Mount Catholics in 1958. Thus when we joined, the Club was essentially Anglicans and agnostics. The ground was pretty rough, and practice was in the centre with a small net at the back. The pavilion was a tin shed in front of where the Tennis Club is today. The roads near the ground were unmade and there was no lighting in the pavilion. My wife remembers wheeling a pram up wet unmade road and having nowhere to heat a bottle.
Characters I well remember were the old families, from the market gardens. Alan Damon, a left arm med. fast bowler who was accurate and got lift and cut. Ken Cornell the left arm spinner who took hundreds of wickets. Bob Scurrah and some who came back later on such as Tony Bridle (a batting master, who at 50 had a delicate late cut), Ken Scurrah a real fast bowler, and Lance Closter. Most of the players were invading townies. The captain was Keith Gross, a Ph D in physics, who worked on xray research and died in his 40’s of cancer. Colin McKee was v/c, who had a garage repair business, John White was secretary, a jovial State Bank man. The star bat was Ray Sayers, who had played at Fitzroy. He was a character, as at the first match of the season, he would open his bag, to put on the shirt, trousers, socks etc, just as they were left 6 months before. The Wilson brothers, Peter and Paul, joined at the same time as myself and lived opposite the ground. Paul was a really fast bowler and scared the daylights out of many of our competitors. The wicket keeper was Graham Hewitt in his first spell at he club. John Pearse had come from Coburg area where he was a baseballer. The new side were again premiers of the ODCA for the 3rd year in a row. We had a great batting side. I recall that I was 5th or 6th in the averages at about 28. The bowling depended on Paul Wilson and Alan Damon and what was left was cleaned up by Ken Cornell. We played teams in the Oakleigh area, Emmanuel, Holy Trinity, Princes Park, Wheelers Hill, Notting Hill, Oakleigh District Footballers and our greatest adversaries were Clayton footballers, who we played in the Grand Final. They were a rough lot, with a Charlie Dynes as captain.
That year, the club had two teams and I do not recall how well the seconds went.
Over the next two years the club declined slightly in performance, with the retirement of Keith Gross, Ray Sayers and Paul Wilson. I was appointed Treasurer in 1959, and Secretary in 1961, when Col McKee was President. The 1962-3 was the year we defined our role. First we decided to add extra teams and merged with the Syndal Youth Club, to take over their U14 and U16 teams. For financing we tendered for delivering phone books. To ensure we got one area, we put in for three, and were successful in two—Glen Iris and Mount Waverley. The pavilion was full of phonebooks and we somehow completed the task for $240, big money in those days. To promote the club, we conducted a three night clinic at Syndal Hall and had about 50 boys, with coaching from notable locals in John Maddox, Jack Hill, Max Reeve and the great Jack Ryder. All expenses were provided by the VCA. The season finished with a marathon final which had to be played out. With two days lost by rain, we finally ended on Easter Tuesday, just as the council were to cover the wickets for the footballers.
John Eddey was the captain and top scored with 99. Ken Cornell was made man of the match with 13 wickets.
Having increased the number of teams we were lucky to secure a second ground at Pinewood, which we identified during its development by Jennings. Prior to that we used various grounds, including those of the MCC on land off Fern Tree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill. (Which they later sold)
Some memories of the time were the number of Balm Paints people who were introduced by Dave Caldwell. John Plunkett (a top bat from Sydney) Barry Dunn, and Don Berryman who was a lower grade captain and secretary. He still resides in Mount Waverley and is a Neighbourhood Watch Area Manager today. They were good for the Club, as we sorted out the gear at the start of the season. The pads in the kits of each team had a coat of best quality Balm products. In those times, the club provided bats, pads, batting gloves, and the wicket keepers pads and gloves, as well as protectors.
All of the Balm people went onto success in their work. Dave Caldwell to New Zealand, John Plunkett to senior management in Sydney and Melbourne, and Don Berryman a research and patents man. John Eddey was with ICI, in finance spending time in England, and returning to be head of finance in Australia.
About 1963 we asked Councillor Reg Egan if the City of Waverley would consider a turf wicket. We lost as Glen Waverley got the nod as they had two Councillors on their committee. We however reapplied 2 years later, and Mt. Waverley, Ashwood and Mulgrave were all installed in 1996/67. It was during this period that I took on other tasks as Captain of the Seconds, Captain of the Firsts, Vice President, and by 1967 was President. By then we had 4 senior teams, and 4 under age teams. People who joined at this time were Denis Parsons, (who later was President), the Button family who came from Perth, and the Dougherty brothers, Pat and Bernie a good left-hand spinner. The Hanlons also appeared in the mid 60’s, with 4 brothers all with talent, but sometimes a little wayward. The eldest Barry, Trevor, Frank and the youngest Steve. An enthusiast at 14, Steve sold raffle tickets door to door to help the club. They went on to higher cricket, at Waverley as part of their VSDCA Premiership in 1971, and later when Waverley entered District Cricket. Trevor and Steve would later return to Mount Waverley, with Trevor taking on the role of Captain/Coach in the 1980’s.
Bill Harvey joined in 1962 with his sons in the juniors, and both Bill and his wife Rose, became Life Members for their efforts over many years. Bill was an accurate leg spinner, who liked to set a strong field on the drives and keep the ball up, so frustrating many batsmen.
In 1966 I was captain of the Club, and did a three months get fit course at Brendan Edwards at Camberwell, resulting in my best batting form ever. We had a good season, which ended early for me as I had 2 months overseas in February, and handed the captaincy to Graham Ellis. That season marked the end of our association with the ODCA, and joining the ESCA, as turf cricket was coming to Mt. Waverley.
As we pondered the future, the need for a cricket organiser and guru was considered, and the problem was solved by a local resident who walked from the station to home in Leeds St., over High St. Rd. He was Duncan Gates who had been coach at McKinnon. He offered to take the job and was captain for the first season of the ESCA. The next year of 1967/68 was the first on turf, and I was part of the 2nd XI in the semi final against Ashwood.
At this time I was elected President, which I held till November 1968, when work took me to Newcastle. I was replaced by Barry Dunn, who also left soon after (with Balm Paints) and was in turn replaced by Denis Parsons who led the Club to Sub-district in 1974/75 when Waverley moved up to District cricket.
I returned from Newcastle in 1971, and resumed my association with the Club during the following years, but that will covered in another chapter of the saga.
When I first joined the Mt Waverley Cricket Club in the 1964/65 season, the club was fielding two senior and one under 16 side, all playing on the mats in the Oakleigh District Cricket Association.
Despite it’s then small size, the Club had a strong desire to expand and to improve. The Club’s constitution states that its objective is “to play, promote and foster the game of cricket”, and it was a tradition that the Club Committee members took very much to heart the words “foster the game of cricket” in their approach to managing the Club’s affairs”
There were many years of contacts with the Waverley City Council about the club’s desire to play on turf.. These discussions were led by President Col McKee (1960–1965)and then President Keith Gross (1965-1967), and it was finally President Ray Price (1967-1968) who successfully cajoled the Waverley Council into installing a turf wicket at the Mt Waverley Reserve.
The club by that time was fielding four senior and two junior sides. The Club then joined the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association (ESCA) having been a member of the Oakleigh District Association for a very long time. The club’s firsts started in the A grade turf division, and within a few short years won promotion the Senior Turf grade of that competition.
Then President Alan Button, who was in the chair from 1968 to 1971, convinced Council to install a turf wicket at the Pinewood Reserve, and so the club now had four senior teams playing on turf.
When the Victorian District Cricket Association decided to admit the sub-district club Waverley, we at MtWCC set our sights on gaining entry to the Sub District Association to replace Waverley. I had been President since 1971/72 and it was my job to coordinate the Committee’s efforts as we made contacts with the VSDCA, and developed and presented supporting argument.
It seems just like yesterday, but our entry into Sub District is now over thirty years ago.
We, the Committee of the day, had built upon the good work of others before us, and had indeed contributed greatly to “fostering” of the game.
I joined the Club in 1974 to see what was available for our son Keith, upon our relocating from Brisbane.
We were made very welcome and invited to practice. From there an invitation was accepted to join and for me to play on mats, whilst Keith jnr was to be considered for an other team.
MWCC had 4 senior turf teams, 3 senior matting teams, and 3 junior matting teams.
The club subsequently invited me to accept the captaincy of the then 6ths, which I somewhat reluctantly accepted. My aim was not to play, rather to introduce son Keith to local cricket.
In due course a position on the Committee was available, followed by election as VP in 1975, and in 1978, just after the start of the season, election as President following the resignation of Denis Parsons who was relocating to Hong Kong in a senior marketing role with ESSO CHEM. Denis presided over the transition from ESCA to VSDCA, a major step for the Club. At the time of his resignation Denis was also captain of the 3rd XI, and a number 3 batsman.
Remained as President until my company (Spotless Group) transfer in 1984 as General Manager of the NZ Company. During that time one of the VSDCA Delegates positions was occupied, and for a time, as was one of the Delegates positions to the ESCA.
In that time 1978 – 84, major changes were effected in the Club. Administration, finance, Juniors, Ladies AUXILIARY, and playing operations were reorganised. This followed on the move by MWCC in 1977 whereby it expanded its policy in respect to professional coaching, and engaged as coach Eddie Illingworth, former Fitzroy opening bowler and Ryder Medal winner, also the top wicket taker (over 500) in District cricket. Introduced by Don Blakey, a keen club supporter and himself a former Fitzroy wicketkeeper.
At this time, a new position on the Board was created that of VP Juniors was instigated. This position took over the direct management of the Junior group, thereby giving discreet attention to the four junior teams, with their particular requirements.
A further reorganisation was developed for the 1983/84 season, but never enacted. This would have seen a federalised concept applied to the VSDCA and ESCA senior teams, the ESCA junior teams, and the Ladies teams, operating as separate entities under the umbrella of the Club Board.
VSDCA 1st and 2nd XI’s
The concentration on lifting the skills and attitude of the 1st’s and 2nd’s playing group saw gains in results, but not to the extent that sufficient wins were recorded to make a serious attempt at the premiership. That top group of players just lacking was that necessary final edge.
The post practice ‘reviews’ at the Club, led by Eddie, were a feature of the fellowship of the VSDCA 1sts and seconds players which together with a few of the ‘old timers contributed much to the bonding of that group.
The concept of a ‘1st XI ‘ coach, and the requirement for the coaching of the club as a whole was in retrospect too tall an order. The gap between the many levels of players, each with their own particular requirements ensured that insufficient attention could be given to all teams both at practice, and at the games. Given that the juniors played in the early Saturday mornings, there was never going to be the opportunity to see them playing, and t contribute to their skills development – this being largely left to the Team Manager. In the context of the 3rd’s to 7ths teams in the senior ranks, their Saturday afternoon playing times and varying locations competed with those of the 1st’s and 2nd’s with attention just not being available down the line.
Big Mikes Bar and the Red Lamp.
In the ‘old’ pavilion, Big Mike Murray single handedly operated the Bar. Complete with a table lampshade in red, emblazoned with the words ‘Big Mikes Bar’. This Bar was the social setting for camaraderie post game, post practice, and post selection, prior to the construction of the new (and present) Club Rooms. Dispensing cold beer and laughs, the Bar was also the setting for the after match reports with the reporter having to stand up on the bar counter (such as it was) both to be seen, and to be heard. Many a great catch or innings became greater as the reports progressed and heroic efforts were made to fight off dehydration!
CURATOR TONY CIAI
The character of curator Tony Ciai, the Waverley Council man for both Mt Waverley and the Pinewood ovals with their turf wickets, was a talking point around the Club. Tony as an outdoor worker, suffered greatly from the heat during the long summers. Bravely persevering, Tony was supported by Big Mike to ensure that the wickets were completed on time and to our satisfaction. Tony was always conscious of the attendances of his supervisor - a former Sri Lankan test cricketer – with the resulting discussions being masterpieces of obfuscation!
THE WARMING FIRE
In the early history of the Club, a older players group post practice get together, got out of hand with the resultant warming fire burning a hole through the wooden floor of the old timber club house.
The New (1979) Clubhouse.
In 1978 it became obvious that the club to needed to extend and modernise its facilities at its home ground and HQ’s. Negotiations with the MT W FC resulted in the formation of a Board for a Company to be formed to design, finance, build and equip a new Clubhouse. Several designs were considered including an adventurous one for a completely new building to be erected over the top of the then existing ‘old’ clubhouse (now the player changerooms)
Ken Beckett, player and VP offered to design what was finally to be an extension to the old clubhouse.
The requirements included that it had to be adjacent to the existing structure, thereby allowing interconnection for access, modern with full glass front to the ground, have a suitable bar area, a verandah for viewing and scoring, an unobstructed brick wall for honour boards, areas for hanging premiership pennants, a carpeted section, and polished board flooring to the remainder, and that it be suitable for both the cricket and football clubs considering junior teams as integral parts of the clubs.
VP Finance Les Smyth provided the professional finance expertise, and with Company Secretary Steve Mc Duffie (3rd’s player and later 3rd’s captain) set up the structure of the company – The Mt Waverley Reserve Sportsmans Cooperative Society Ltd, with a (????) share holding of $????, through the issuing of shares at 50c each ( copy of share certificate available from Lance Closter). The Board comprised Jim Tuhan and Mike Thompson of the MT W FC, with Les Smyth, Ray Price and Keith Frampton, the latter as Chairman, and with Steve Mc Duffie as Company Secretary, all of the latter being MT W CC.
Supporting legal work was provided at no cost by 3rd’s left arm spin bowler John Mc Neil through his solicitor.
This company exists to this date. Shareholdings financed the bulk of the requirements with a generous contribution by the Waverley Council. Support for some of the furniture was provided by a special arrangement with the Council. In all of the negotiations and dealings with the Council, the then Town Clerk Colin Bock provided strong support and guidance,
Negotiations for the design and construction supervision were conducted by the Board, with particular aspects being managed by selected Board members and Ken Beckett. Several interesting aspects occurred.
Following the approval of the plans, and at the commencement of construction, the Waverley Council only then revealed that the site was filled ground, and therefore required much heavier load supporting understructure. Designer Ken Beckett managed these negotiations and the building proceeded with some modifications to Ken’s plans and specifications.
The present clubhouse with its exposed beams, wide areas and compatibility to the tree surrounded ground is the result. The Ladies AUXILIARY under VP Ladies Molly Frampton, played a most important part in the design requirements, and in the provision of the furnishings, and the selection and fitting of the drapes, to complete the interior. It was of interest at that time, that the selection of the colour scheme (blue and white) for the toilets, seemed to require an inordinate amount of discussion!
A feature of the construction of the new clubhouse, was the freely offered personal time by club members. For example, the floor polishing and the installation of the tiled area in front of the bar, saw Bar Manager Lance Closter (and later VP and still later, President) stand out
The formal opening ceremony included Council officers as official guests. A fine sunny day records a most successful opening to a what was to prove a wonderful facility, and a move into the next phase of the life of MWCC.
The brass plaque located inside the clubhouse, donated by Keith and Molly Frampton, records the significant achievement of the club in completing the new clubrooms
Missing from the clubs history is much of the achievement and memorabilia of the early days. That this is of regret will only be relieved by members and past members making a special effort to locate and identify all possible sources of club memorabilia from both present and more particularly, past members and their families.
The present Honour Board recording the clubs entry into Sub District cricket, was donated by Keith and Molly Frampton, as one item to record particularly important milestones of the club. The professional preparation and the polishing was undertaken by Lance Closter.
Molly Frampton was elected into a new position, that of VP Ladies AUXILIARY, Molly, together with Secretary Margaret Closter, and Treasurer June Muir, were the first female executives of the Club Forming the Ladies AUXILIARY gave the club the drive to develop and manage the social program to a new level, with its activities being a great source of funding and social cohesion.
In the early 70’s, with the club confined to the old clubhouse, ladies and partners were not allowed into the club post game. until it was considered ‘decent’. The keeper of the faith was Ian Wilson the then Secretary. Given that the Ladies provided afternoon tea, for several years by Denise Hewitt; and ran the kiosk, there was still no dispensation, a matter that raised some discontent among the ladies. This situation was resolved one Saturday when Molly Frampton, the Framptons having just joined the Club; had a discussion with Secretary Ian, the proposition being that entry would be allowed to the Ladies, or the rostered afternoon tea and the kiosk services would hitherto, not be provided.
The afternoon tea and the kiosk facilities, and the post game hot dogs provided for many years by Dulcie Stott, Denise Hewitt and later joined by Averil Thompson. This arrangement was extended through the formation of the Ladies AUXILIARY and the AUXILIARY’s assumption of the major fund raising responsibilities.
A program of social events including dinner dances at the East Malvern RSL, and the first game of the season barbecue, Father Christmas party, raffles and after the new clubhouse; the extended post game food service, became features of the social life.
Father Xmas at the Ground
Big Mike, 3rd’s captain and then Bar manager, was the logical Father Christmas under arrangements with the Ladies AUXILIARY. KD (Kevin Daniel) father of 1st’s and 2nds batsman Steve, provided his Ute as the transport which saw Father Christmas’arrival at the Mt Waverley ground to the delight of the many children. Loaded with presents provided through arrangements made by the Ladies AUXILIARY, for all of the players’ young children, complete with some special presents for selected wives and partners! was the culmination of the first half of the season’s activities.
After game reports by ALL Captains including juniors.
The new clubhouse provided an excellent arena for an expansion of the after game reports. To the fore came the confirmation and demonstration of the latent acting skills of many team captains. The club expected all team captains from the Sub District 1sts to the under 12’s, to attend and actually report to the assembled club. The attendance of many of the parents of the junior team’s players was a most important component of the some times hilarious teams reports session.
Nipper Hewitt as’ Cover Point’.
Under the guise of ‘Cover Point’ correspondent Nipper Hewitt – firsts, seconds and other teams’ player – ensured a very comprehensive and full weekly coverage in the local press for a number of years. Nippers’ relationships with the Editor were first class and for many of the club ‘family’, the first item read in the otherwise normal local paper, was the MWCC results and commentary. Full of pithy comments, but considerate of the reputations of the players, the level of most interesting and timely reporting was a feature of the club.
Amongst Nippers many accomplishments, including that of playing in most teams in the Club, and his management of the trophies for each year for some 7 years. The range and selection of the Clubs awards, was to the enjoyment of all.
In the 78/79 season a suggestion by Past President Denis, for the institution of a Club Tie was accepted. The design of the tie was such as to incorporate both the crest and the club colours, together with the date of the Clubs formation. Denis, being located in Hong Kong arranged a manufacturer and the total quantity of ties were shipped to Australia through special means. The funding of the initial batch was underwritten by President Keith Frampton. Sales to Club members were brisk and the remainder were held by the Club.
Life Members and Best Clubman Badges.
A proposition was made to the Board in 1979, that the Board consider that some tangible recognition of both the Life Members, and the Best Clubman, was most desirable. The cost was accepted by the Club. Subsequent presentations of these most prestigious awards confirmed the Boards decision.
Origin of the Les Stott trophy
Origin of the Pat Ilton trophy.
The long winning run of the under 12’s and the 16’s
Returning from an ESCA delegates function and leaning Nipper against his front door.
The incident at Mt. Waverley Reserve with Malcolm Marshall, bowling to Gary McRorie, Wayne Hynes and John Morris, with his run up starting from the boundary fence!
The VSDCA move by some teams for highly paid test cricketers as feature players. WI opening bowler Malcolm Marshall at Moorabbin, WI opening bat Desmond Haynes at Dandenong, and ( England fast bowler – Gladstone Small at Balwyn
The strong division within the VSDCA Club, re those International players and the effect on both the VSDCA game, and the younger players. Serious questioning of was this in line with the philosophy of Sub District, and it’s being the stepping stone to District, and first class cricket.
John (dapper) Morris and the six that hit the top of the fence rail near the pavilion.
The philosophy behind the Clubbies formation and its operation.
Clubbies team selection policy and field placing strategy.
John Beauchamps reaction to his back cut off the opening bowler, being caught right on the boundary line, with the catcher falling over the line - AND John being given out!
Bike Mike and the 192 runs at Ashwood ground ( 6th XI)
The homicidal Wokka Keenan as opening bowler in the Clubbies..
The Clubbies and 3 premierships on the trot – 77/78, 78/79 and 79/80. The ‘grey power’ of the ESCA lower grades.
The MWCC/AYC 78/79 grand final. Graham Fullers 113 .The ‘no follow on’ decision by MT W CC upon making 369 got AYC for 110. MWCC batted again for 241.
The centuries by Ray Price and Gavin Assauw in the 77/78 final against West Hawthorn.
The 151 by Harpo Marks in the 79/80 grand final.
Robbie Smyth’s grey runners and his punctuality
VC (later a VP of the Club) and Clubbies wicketkeeper. ‘old blue eyes ‘ Ron Muir.
Harpo Marks as Coach and in the Clubbies.
The post game parties at the Closters, with Gloria Gaynor at full blast.
The Sunday morning Bodega champagne and chicken events at the Framptons.
Ken Becket’s car pushing in the rain episode. (new suit!)
Club Banners and the insertion of the players names.
The strong man comp – Lance and KB with ‘the rock’!
Lance Closter and the formation of the supporter’s org – the Mounties.
Trevor (the body) Hanlon as coach.
The transition from ESCA to VSDCA, and from ODCA to ESCA