History 1965-1970

 

Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club

 

A Lesson in History

Part 5.  1965-70

 

 

 

1965/66

Rex Sheppard once again led a relatively unchanged �A Grade� side in 1965/66, strengthened, however, by the return of Premiership player Maurie Baker. The ANA team performed well throughout the season, but once again narrowly missed out on the finals, this time by only one point. As had now become expected, Rex Sheppard showed remarkable form in taking 48 wickets for the season and was well supported by brother Barry with his leg spinners and Don Haw with his off cutters. Barry was once again the leading run scorer with almost 300. The Second Eleven, in �C� Grade, was led by all-rounder Norm Hocking and had also performed creditably, finishing third prior to the finals. Throughout the year many outstanding individual performances were seen, but the effort of potentially brilliant all-rounder Garry Dennis, in belting up a scorching century in only 61 minutes, was exceptional. Promising 15-year-old Greg James was struck a sickening blow to the head while batting in Round 1 and spent over six months in hospital, after suffering several fractures to his skull from the incident. The ANA Seconds defeated East Brighton in their Semi-final encounter and came up against West Bentleigh in the Grand Final. ANA struggled from the outset, making only 140 and 91 in their two innings while 15-year-old Steve Somerville captured 4/16, as Wests powered to a commanding outright victory. The junior teams were strong once again, with the �Under 16A� Grade team dominating throughout the season. This was never more evident than in Round 4 when in only two and a half hours, Steve Somerville hit up 113 and Michael Stanton remained 96 not out, as ANA hit up a whirlwind 5 for 371. They emulated this feat again in the last game when Somerville made 113 not out and fellow opener Paul Bain hit up 128 not out, as ANA stormed to an unbelievable total of 0 for 253. Understandably, the strong ANA junior combination finished on top of the ladder. This �Under 16A� Grade team came up against Mackie in the Semi-final and any hopes that Mackie had of upsetting the confident combination were quickly dashed, as the Green and Gold amassed a monstrous 4 for 305. Even more amazing was the now hero-like status that openers Somerville and Bain were gaining as they had once again put on a double century partnership. Somerville had made his third century for the season as he hit up 102, while Bain was again invincible, smashing up 138, as the pair added 222 for the opening stand, paving the way for ANA to deny Mackie the opportunity of batting. This resulted in the CMCA changing the rules to prevent teams from  batting through an entire Semifinal in the future. Going into the Grand Final as almost unbackable favourites, more interest seemed to be centred around the performances of the whirlwind openers than of the Premiership result. As the ANA Under 16�s batted first, once again, the large ANA crowd were left somewhat disappointed, however, as the pair could only manage 115 for the first wicket, with Somerville making a fine 55 and Bain continuing on to be unluckily dismissed just 10 runs short of his third successive century. Facing the daunting total of 238, Hampton never stood a chance as Greg Cummins captured 3/33 to assist ANA in dismissing them for 138 to take out the Premiership. In such a year of dominance, the season had been an exceptional one for the team and its performances have never been rivalled, especially the performances of Somerville and Bain who had stamped their mark as the best junior opening combination that the Club has seen to date. Sadly though, ANA never gained their services in the Seniors as Bain headed to District Cricket Club, Richmond, while Somerville eventually played with the Bentleigh Methodists. The second ANA junior team, the �Under 16B� Grade team, was led by Ken Harrigan during the season and finished third prior to the finals. They came up against second placed Sandringham in their Semi-final match, and also batted first. As in the previous year, Ken Harrigan produced his best in the finals as he hit up an impressive 59, while Peter Jenz provided him with fine support with an important 34, as ANA reached a respectable total of 177. They then dismissed Sandringham for 100 to run out comfortable victors and obtain a Grand Final berth also. The �Under 16B� Grade team faced top team Ormond in the final and found the going tough from day one. Eventually ANA managed to bowl Ormond out for 207, with Rod Firth taking 4/44 and Richard Warren capturing 3/58 in a tireless display. Try as hard as they might, the ANA bats were no match for Ormond and were dismissed for 52 and 145 in their two respective innings�. The Under 14�s narrowly missed the finals but hopefully the outstanding success of the two Under 16 teams would flourish further as these players rose into senior ranks, but whether this would occur or not remained to be seen.

 

1966/67

After a reasonably successful two years season 1966/67 was looked upon with a fair deal of optimism, but the First Eleven showed little of the form of recent seasons and lost its first four games. All was not happy in the ANA camp and Rex Sheppard was replaced mid-season as Captain by the experienced all-rounder and Premiership player Don Haw. The move drew little success however, and the ANA �A� Grade team only won one game for the season, finishing on the bottom of the ladder and being relegated to �B� Grade for the first time in its 36 year history.

Seventeen-year-old Alan Sanders was elected Captain of the Second Eleven in �C� Grade, leading a team which was similar in appearance to that which was beaten in the previous year�s Grand Final. Once again the team performed well, making the finals, and came up against the Hampton Methodists in the Semi-final. Batting first, ANA was in diabolical trouble at 9/50 before Alan Whiting and 14-year-old Phil Hardy came together for the last wicket. It was a determined Whiting who defied the Hampton attack to hit up a fine 37 as the pair added 42 for the last wicket, giving ANA a slightly more respectable score of 91. With their backs against the wall, the ANA bowlers performed remarkably to dismiss the Methodists for a meagre 90 runs and take a one run lead on the first innings. Alas, ANA�s batsmen fared little better in the second innings managing only 98 after being 5/30, with Whiting again making 30 and offering the only resistance. The ANA attack toiled hard and at 9/90, Hampton looked gone but ten dropped catches proved crucial as the Meths scrambled to a total of 101 and victory, much to the annoyance of skipper Sanders. Percy Porter led a fairly young team in the �E Grade� and it was a credit to him to see the side finish in third position prior to the finals. However, the team went down to Hampton in a hard fought Semi-final match. It was then left to the �Under 14B� Grade team to lead the way, under the Captaincy of John Cunningham.   Throughout the year the potentially brilliant Ken Lonie had arguably achieved the most outstanding individual performance that the Club has ever seen. Coming up against Ormond in Round 3, the fearsomely paced Lonie captured 6/8 including a hat trick. He then led the batting onslaught with a fine 71 before again destroying the hapless Ormond batting line up, taking 8/0, which included two hat tricks. This gave him match figures of 14 wickets for 8 runs and three separate hat tricks. As expected, this team, which also had seen fine performances by John Cunningham and 11-year-old Michael Taylor throughout the year, went through the entire season undefeated and finished on top of the ladder prior to the finals. The strong ANA team played the Bentleigh Meths in the Semi-final and struggled with the bat, making only 138. Skipper Cunningham then bowled with venom to pole-axe the Methodist�s bats, taking 6/29, as Bentleigh crumbled to be all out for 82. The ANA �Under 14� team then came up against Washington in the Grand Final and this time batted superbly, amassing 220 in the first innings. Opening batsman Brian McMahon batted throughout the entire first day and was 70 not out at the close. While getting some batting practice prior to the  commencement of play on day two, McMahon was unluckily struck in the eye by the ball and his hopes of making a Grand Final century were dashed when he was quickly dismissed for a well made 71. Speedster Ken Lonie then destroyed Washington by snaring 7/28 as the hapless batsmen were plundered out for a miserable total of 62. The ANA team had been successful in going through the entire season undefeated and had won the Club its first �Under 14� Premiership.

 

1967/68

The women of the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club formed into an auxiliary in 1967, led by Val Sanders, Ruth Simmons and Cheryl Rowe (Sanders). Their main goal was to supplement the meagre financial resources that were available at the time and also provide a social outlet for the wives and girlfriends of the players at the Club. This committee survived until the late 70�s and throughout this period raised money in the vicinity of $2,000, an amount without which the Club would certainly have struggled. Fronting up in �B� Grade for the first time, the ANA First Eleven had one goal in 1967/68 . . . to win the Premiership and ensure a swift return into �A� Grade. Skipper Don Haw led a team blended with both experience and raw potential as ANA performed excellently throughout the year, losing just the one game, but still only managing to finish in third position prior to the finals. After disposing of Hampton Church of Christ in the Semi-final, ANA went into the Grand Final against fourth placed Mackie with a reasonable amount of optimism, and why wouldn�t they. Barry Sheppard had made over 600 runs and taken 39 wickets, to take out the Association�s averages for both batting and bowling, Alan Sanders had made over 370 runs while Rex Sheppard and the 17- year-old Alan Hollings had taken 52 and 32 wickets respectively for the year. The ANA selectors created a fair amount of controversy when they initially included Doug Sproule in the �C� Grade team for the Semi-final and then the �B� Grade team for the final after he had played the entire year in the lower grades. ANA batted first in the final and struggled against the strong Mackie bowling line-up, with Kevin Lambert�s 27 being the top score in a total of only 166. However, Rex Sheppard and Alan Hollings both ended up with the similar figures of 3/19 as Mackie was incredibly pole-axed for a miserable 58 runs, giving ANA a lead of 108 on the first innings. After Barry Sheppard and Kevin Lambert had opened the second innings with an unblemished 58 runs for the first wicket, the devastated Mackie team obviously believed they had no chance in the match and didn�t even bother to play the last day. This aside, the ANA team had won the flag and deservedly won their way back into �A� Grade for the next season. ANA players enjoyed good social times throughout this era and the Club had banded together as a very close knit unit. Popular clubman Rod Reid took great pleasure in entertaining team-mates and spectators alike when he would perform his now rather infamous feat of being able to drink a jug of beer without so much as a swallow! Many people, including Rod himself, made a lot of money from his exploits during those enjoyable Saturday nights. The ANA �C� Grade team, led by popular clubman Ken �Deafy� James, also performed magnificently throughout the season, finishing on top of the ladder at the end of the home and away games. But, just as the possibility of a double Premiership appeared to be a reality, the team collapsed in the Semi-final and was convincingly beaten by the fourth placed Mackie team. For the first time ANA fielded two �Under 16� teams and two �Under 14� teams in this season, but none of these had much success and all finished well down the ladder.

 

1968/69

The ANA First Eleven was returned to the �A� Grade for the 1968/69 season and the experience which the younger members had gained was obvious as the team won their first three matches. Eighteen-year-old Mick Stanton made a big difference to the team as he amassed 350 runs for the year while Barry Sheppard, with 480 runs, and John Sanders, with 300 runs, combined with Alan Hollings� 30 wickets, continued to perform. This resulted in the �A� Grade team performing admirably throughout the season but narrowly missing out on making the finals, finishing in fifth position. The improvement in the performances of the First Eleven resulted from its ability to get off to a good start with the bat. In Round 7, against McKinnon, Mick Stanton and Barry Sheppard set a then Club record opening partnership of 222. In Round 11 the hapless McKinnon team once again were the victims of another ANA run onslaught when Barry Sheppard and John Sanders added a record 229 runs for the second wicket. The season ended on a sad note when promising batsman, and �B� Grade Premiership player from the previous season, Doug Sproule, died of leukaemia at the tender age of 20. The Second Eleven, in �C� grade, performed excellently throughout the year to finish on top of the ladder prior to the finals. Led again by �Deafy� James the ANA team was a mixture of youth and experience and began its finals series well by defeating the strong Hampton side in the Semi-final. ANA then came up against East Bentleigh in the Grand Final and immediately took control of the game as Easts fell to be 5 for 60 after several hours of play. The ANA pace bowlers failed to maintain their advantage however and Easts managed to hit their way to a respectable total of 180. Ian Smyth was the best of the bowlers taking 3/9 while Bob Beynon toiled hard to end up with 3/54. Still appearing to be in with a big chance, the ANA batsmen set off after the target optimistically but started disastrously losing their first 5 wickets for only 23 runs, and were eventually bundled out for a meagre 104. The East Bentleigh batsmen then pulverised the ANA bowlers as they smashed up 323 in the second innings to put the Premiership beyond doubt. The stocky framed Ian Smyth could well have been left thinking that he may have been a little under done with the ball as he ended up with the comparatively economical figures of 4/29. In �E� Grade, the Third Eleven finished second at the end of the home and away games and came up against Sandringham in the Semi-final. Led by the experienced Percy Porter, who had amassed almost 400 runs for the year and taken over 30 wickets, the ANA team bowled first and struggled from the outset, as Sandringham amassed a monstrous total of 9 for 332. ANA started well with opener Peter Hartlett making a fine 49, but wickets soon began tumbling steadily, and when the hard hitting Richard Wyly was dismissed for a well made 37, ANA was in dire trouble at 9 for 235. The last hope of saving the Semi-final lay squarely on the shoulders of a skinny 14-year-old kid who had been occupying the crease since the score was 2 for 76. The young hopeful was a lad named Mick Taylor, who, at this stage, had been batting for all of the last day when he was joined by veteran Tom Lonie. Amazingly, Lonie played a vital hand as he hit up 26 not out while Taylor remained unbeaten on 78 not out, as ANA saved the Semifinal, ending up with 9 for 269 at stumps. So strong was the feeling towards the efforts of the young Taylor, that the rest of the team �chipped in� to buy a cricket bat for the future star, whose father had been tragically killed in a car smash. He was presented with the bat prior to the Grand Final. History was to see Taylor eventually rise through the ranks at District Cricket Club South Melbourne, to eventually become Vice Captain of Victoria and represent Australia, performing incredibly well in the �rebel� tour of South Africa. The �E� Grade team came up against Hampton Methodists in the Grand Final and started off well by dismissing them for only 145 in their first innings. Hedley Porter bowled splendidly to take 4/32 while Richard Wyly also bowled well to capture 3/51, as the pair gave ANA a real chance in the Final. Ron McMahon batted well for a solid 43, and at 4 for 99, ANA looked certain to take first innings points, but then collapsed disastrously to be all out for only 138, 7 runs short of their target. Richard Wyly then took 3/43 in Hampton�s second innings as ANA tried valiantly to steal an outright victory in the game. However, when ANA began their second innings they required 179 runs to win, in just 9 overs. Richard Wyly then hit up a whirlwind 39 in a vain attempt to pull off an almost impossible feat, but ANA�s 6 for 89 at stumps was not enough for victory and the team would have to be content with a runners-up pennant. The �Under 16B� Grade team was led by Ken Lonie throughout the year and performed excellently to once again be undefeated for the whole season. Russell Mactaggart led the bowlers, taking 3/25 in the Semi-final, as the Bentleigh Presbyterians were bundled out for a meagre total of 107. ANA then went on a run avalanche as they hit up an enormous 275 to put the match beyond doubt. Opener Russell Mactaggart completed a fine match by making 53. He received strong support from all-rounder Ken Lonie with 42, middle order batsman Phil Hardy with 45 ,and late order batsmen Andrew Majewski and John Garrett pitched in with 33 and 38 respectively, which showed the depth of batting that the team had. The Under 16�s then came up against strong rivals East Bentleigh in the Grand Final. ANA were without star all-rounder John Cunningham in the game but had little difficulty in bundling out Easts for a meagre 87 runs. Phil Ditchfield bowled magnificently to take 4/22, Ken Lonie took 3/33, and John Garrett captured 3/6, as East Bentleigh�s bats had no answer to the pace barrage. Looking set for a comfortable Premiership win, disaster then struck, as ANA�s unpredictable batting line-up was steamrolled for a miserable 69 runs in their first innings. With the unbeatable image built up over the season now under threat, and the possibility of losing the flag after an undefeated season, ANA�s speedsters in Ditchfield with 5/19 and Lonie with 4/7, then fought back fearsomely to route the East Bentleigh team for only 57 in their second innings to give ANA a sniff of victory. The inexplicable flurry by the East Bentleigh batsmen had cost it the upper hand and ANA required 76 to win in just 16 overs, which seemed a large task considering they could only make 69 in their first innings. Team Manager Tom Lonie instructed the team to attack the target positively and Phil Ditchfield and Russell Mactaggart did this, putting on 56 in smart time for the opening partnership. Ken Lonie then belted up 21 off just 11 balls to see ANA get home with just four balls to spare. They had pull off an incredible Premiership victory, ending up with a total of 2 for 78. It had been a fine year for Lonie, as he had hit up 415 runs for the year while also taking 40 wickets and had shown the ability that would eventually see him continue on and play District Cricket at the First Eleven Grade with South Melbourne. This team had the rare distinction of going through both of its �Under 14� and �Under 16� seasons undefeated and contained many players who the Club would look for to build its future. The �Under 14A� Grade team was led by Mick Taylor and finished third prior to the finals. ANA came up against the higher placed Highett team in the Semi-final and went down in rather controversial circumstances. Batting first ANA was dismissed for 106, but during the innings four byes were disallowed by the umpire due to the fact that Mick Taylor had not played a shot at the ball. Knowing better of the rule associated with this decision, ANA�s rather ruffled team manager Ian Smyth stormed onto the ground unsuccessfully arguing the point that there was no necessity for a shot to have been played provided that Taylor had not made contact with the ball. How valuable those four runs were to be. When Gary Simmons took his final wicket, and return the figures of 5/19, Highett was all out for 109, which was 3 runs greater than the ANA total. An appeal was made but the CMCA was quick to push the matter aside and the ANA team could well be left thinking that a grave injustice had been done. All in all, the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club had completed a fairly successful season and full credit must go to President Eddie

Benson and his Committee. Together they had steered the Club back onto the road to success, after ANA had gone through the roughest patch in its history, and probably the only time when its future was undoubtedly questioned.

 

1969/70

Promising all-rounder Ken Lonie headed to South Melbourne prior to the 1969/70 season, while ANA recruited tall bowler Brian D�Argaville from Malvern, in the Sub District Cricket Association. Mick Stanton ended up totalling 464 runs for the season while Barry Sheppard appeared to be getting better with age as he amassed 390 runs. D�Argaville�s arrival was an instant success, as he took 30 wickets for the year, but alas, the �A� Grade team had mixed fortunes, finishing in the middle of the field. Still using the King George reserve as its home ground the Club, in recent years, had embarked upon the practice of post match drinks in what was affectionately referred to as the �Shed�. The old, green, corrugated-iron clad shed stood about 10 foot by 20 foot in size, housing all of the mats and practice equipment as well as the thirsty cricketers enjoying the after match entertainment. A concrete wash trough sufficed as space enough to hold the many brown bottles, cooled of course by the infamous blocks of Haw�s ice. Graham �Grumpy� Sanders and Harry Williamson relished the trip to the Boundary Hotel to pick up the beer, a task which somehow managed to occupy more of the afternoon than one would normally expect for the half mile trip. These two were reliable barmen but often darkness would descend upon the weary crowd before the shout of last drinks was heard. Not to be discouraged by this, a coin would be tossed to decide whose car�s headlights would provide the light to enable the continuation of further festivities, and a method by which to find those often dropped pennies. The year was a rather disappointing one for ANA, with the only team making the finals being Neil Vorbach�s �Under 14A� Grade team, which finished the year on top of the ladder. Vorbach, Gary Simmons, Alan Danks and Gary Peters all had fine seasons and the team went into the final�s series as �red hot� favourites for the flag. Vorbach especially had enjoyed a remarkable season averaging no less than 111.5 with the bat. However, the ANA team collapsed miserably in the Semi-final, with Laurie Burger making 34 out of ANA�s total of only 84, which the Ormond team had no trouble in overtaking.

 

Last Updated (Monday, 25 September 2017 13:49)