History 1960 – 1965
Cyril Parke's reign as Captain of the First Eleven came to an end when 23-year-old Rex Sheppard was elected captain for the 1960/61 season. Hugh Aldons left the Club to play with Bentleigh in the VJCA and fast bowler Duncan Dans returned to the Ramblers Cricket Club. Tragically, the 22-year-old Dans was killed in a car accident the following year, cutting short the promising career of a fine sportsman. Promising 16-year-olders Peter McFarlane and Ken Bishop left the Club to play with West Bentleigh, starting careers which saw them become two of the competition's finest players. However, these losses were reasonably well offset by the introduction of several new faces around the Club. Ralph Sturt's brother-in-law, Bob Jacobs, moved to Melbourne from Heyfield and wasted no time in forcing his way into the 'A' Grade team as a fine all-rounder. Also, Moorabbin footballers Maurie Baker and Mick Ryan added strength to the batting line up. The team still contained the strength of Sheppard, Parke, Arnfield and Papley and stormed their way into the finals for the fifth consecutive season, finishing on top. Remarkably, all four of the ANA senior teams were successful in making the finals, with the Second Eleven and Fourth Eleven also finishing on top of their respective ladders. The ANA 'A' Grade team came up against the newly introduced Cheltenham Church of Christ team in the Semi-final, a team which boasted one of the competition's best ever batsman, Lloyd Champion. Bowling first in the game at Victory Park, ANA's pace attack was much too strong for the Church of Christ team, bundling them out for a meagre 109 runs in the first innings. Rex Sheppard led superbly, taking 5/55 while Max Papley took 4/23 as ANA took control of the match. Papley then opened the innings and hit up a quick 47, receiving good support from all-rounder Dennis Jay who made a solid 33, as ANA batted their way into a commanding position making 169 and taking a 60 run lead on the first innings. Papley and Sheppard then steamrolled Cheltenham again in the second innings, as they could only manage a meagre 84 runs, leaving ANA 25 runs for victory, which they polished off without losing a wicket in a performance that almost amounted to assault. ANA then came up against the strong Hampton Central team in the Grand Final. This ANA team comprised of many Moorabbin Footballers while Hampton Central contained a large amount of Sandringham players, creating a VFA rivalry which was often carried over onto the cricket ground. Batting first, ANA started brilliantly as openers Jimmy March and Max Papley put on 140 for the first wicket. Amazingly, Papley had amassed 120 of these and went on to make a whirlwind 142 before being dismissed. Skipper Rex Sheppard once again produced a fine finals innings with the bat making a hard hit 61 and Mick Ryan added support making a steady 30 as ANA belted their way into a strong position making 308 runs in the first innings. Papley with 4/43 and Sheppard with 3/33 then dented any aspirations that Centrals may have had of winning the flag, as they bundled the hapless Hampton team out for 130 runs in the first innings. Hampton Central fared even worse in the second dig making only 105, giving the young ANA side a crushing Premiership victory. Skipper Rex Sheppard had been successful in leading the team to a Premiership in his first season as Captain. Oddly, out of the Club's seven 'A' Grade flags, this was the fifth time that this had occurred. In the finest era in the Club's history, the ANA 'A' Grade team had won three out of the last four Premierships, dominating the competition throughout the late fifties and early sixties and producing some of the finest cricketers that both the Club and the association would ever see. It appeared that this youthful team would go on to be the strength of the CMCA for many years to come. The ANA 'B' Grade team had been led by Gordon Burns throughout the year and performed excellently to finish on top of the ladder. However, they collapsed disastrously in the Semi-final and were defeated by the Ormond Presbyterians. A similar fate awaited Bill Ogden's team in 'C' Grade who finished fourth on the ladder but succumbed to last season's 'D' Grade Runners-Up, the South Oakleigh Methodists, in their Semi-final game. Mal Hotton's Fourth Eleven in 'D' Grade, once again went through the entire season undefeated to finish on top of the ladder. Players such as Stan LeLievre, Jack Philipson, Ron Harris and Stan Kennedy, all now in the twilight of their careers, had dropped down to the Fourths to play out their days in a somewhat more social manner. Also in the team was young Don Thorne, a player who had shown enormous potential in both football and cricket and who had been coached in his early days on the back yard turf wicket at Stan Kennedy's home. His promising career had been cut short by the injuries that he had sustained in a tragic road accident, but the stylish left-hander began a determined fightback this season and continued on to eventually play 100 games with the First Eleven.
1960/61 'D' GRADE PREMIERS
Bentleigh ANA - 1st Innings
Hotton M . . . . '..lbw Black 36
Thorne D . . . . . ..c Bell 5
Wanless R . . . . 'b Griffiths 18
Kennedy S . . . . . . run out 14
Dennis G . . ''.c Griffiths 35
Harris R . . . . . . . .c Griffiths 16
LeLievre S . . . . . .b Griffiths 20
Pennent B . . . . . . b Griffiths 19
Philipson J . . . . . .c & b Griffiths 1
Springfield W . . . . run out 65
Bach P . . . . . . . . . . . not out 12
Bowling - Black N. 1/93, Bell B. 1/6, Griffiths G. 6/93, Copsey A. 0/53.
McKinnon - 1st Innings
Bell B . . . . . . . . . lbw Philipson 7
Copsey A . . . . . . b LeLievre 5
Jones R . . . . . . . c Dennis b LeLievre 28
Pritchard A . . . . . c Bach b LeLievre 0
Black N . . . . . . . c Dennis b Kennedy 63
Jones D . . . . . . . lbw Kennedy 41
Copsey A (Jnr) . . .c behind b LeLievre 3
Colton B . . . . . . . . b Kennedy 0
Griffiths G . . . . . . .b Kennedy 12
Hamley G . . . . . . .c Springfield b LeLievre 7
Hellings S . . . . . . .not out 0
Bowling - Dennis G. 0/37, LeLievre S. 5/68, Philipson J. 1/33, Kennedy S. 4/29.
Bentleigh ANA - 2nd Innings
Hotton M . . . . . . .b Griffiths 17
Thorne D . . . . . . b Black 0
Wanless R . . . . ..b Copsey 46
Kennedy S. . . . . b Copsey 0
Dennis G . . . . . . b Copsey 11
Harris R . . . . . . . c Griffiths 0
LeLievre S . . . . . b Copsey 34
Philipson J . . . . . b Griffiths 1
Springfield W . . . b Griffiths 1
Bach P . . . . . . . . lbw Copsey 9
Pennent B . . . . . . not out 0
Bowling - Black N. 1/52, Griffiths G. 4/22, Copsey A. 5/45.
McKinnon - 2nd Innings
Bell B . . . . . . . . . st Kennedy 4
Jones D . . . . . . . run out 3
Jones R . . . . . . . c Springfield b Kennedy 18
Black N . . . . . . . .c Springfield b Kennedy 24
Copsey A . . . . . . lbw Kennedy 25
Griffiths G . . . . . .c Thorne b Lelievre 0
Colton B . . . . . . . c & b Kennedy 3
Pritchard A . . . . . st Kennedy 7
Copsey A (Jnr) . . b LeLievre 1
Hamley G . . . . . . c behind LeLievre 0
Hellings S . . . . . . not out 2
Bowling - LeLievre S. 3/24, Kennedy S. 6/62.
Bentleigh ANA won Outright by 126 runs.
ANA came up against Hampton Church of Christ in the Semifinal in what turned out to be a fiercely contested grudge match. Batting first, skipper Hotton showed no mercy for his opponents as he and Don Thorne put on 148 for the first wicket. Hotton was dismissed for a stubborn 45 while Thorne hit up a fine 85 before losing his wicket. After then losing several quick wickets, former Melbourne District player Stan Kennedy, took over from where Hotton and Thorne left off, as he hammered an excellent 128 and after Ron Harris chipped in for a smart 36, ANA had amassed a monstrous total of 404. The performances of Kennedy were outstanding, considering the fact that he had lost the sight in one eye some years ago and was still performing magnificently at the age of 50. The lacklustre Church of Christ team then set after the awesome ANA total but Stan LeLievre with 3/20 and Jack Philipson with 4/46 routed them for a meagre 77, ending any faint hopes that they may have had. Barry Pennant captured 4/40 in the second innings as Hampton again collapsed, this time for only 102, paving the way for ANA to enter the Grand Final for the third successive year. ANA were confronted by McKinnon in the Final and once again batted first. Mal Hotton again led from the front with a determined 36, but when Gary Dennis was dismissed after a quick 35, ANA had slumped to be 8 for 162 and in a fair amount of trouble. Number ten batsman Billy Springfield then strode to the crease and destroyed the McKinnon attack, initially adding 63 with Barry Pennant for the ninth wicket, and then a further 38 with former umpire Pat Bach for the last wicket, as he personally knocked up a whirlwind 65 before being run out. Amazingly, ANA had somehow managed to power to an excellent total of 263. The experienced ANA attack, led by Stan Kennedy and Stan LeLievre, then restricted the McKinnon batting line-up to a respectable total of 176. The tall LeLievre bowled valiantly all day to end up with 5/68 while Kennedy used all of his wizardry to capture 4/29 and wrap up the McKinnon innings. With an 87 run lead ANA entered the second innings confident of a comfortable Premiership win, but the McKinnon team had other ideas. At 1 for 64, ANA appeared to be cruising but the dismissal of 'Curly' Wanless for a hard hit 46 started a collapse which saw ANA slump to 6 for 82 before Stan LeLievre chipped in for an important 34, to see ANA struggle through to a total of 126. Requiring 214 for victory McKinnon were still in with a chance, but again the duo of Stan Kennedy and Stan LeLievre proved too much. Kennedy stole the limelight, capturing 6/62 with his 'flippers', while opening bowler LeLievre took 3/24, as McKinnon were bundled out for a meagre total of 87. The ANA 'D' Grade team had not only been successful in winning 'back-to-back' Premierships but had gone through two consecutive seasons undefeated and they still remain the only ANA team, and possibly the only CMCA team, to have achieved this feat.
After the fine Premiership win of the previous season, Rex Sheppard once again led the 'A' Grade team for the 1960/61 season. Premiership player and leg spinner Dennis Jay retired from the game, but the rest of the team remained relatively stable and still appeared to be packed with youth and brilliance. However, the strong ANA team never really recovered from losing their first two games and struggled throughout the season. Needing to win the last game outright to sneak into the final four, ANA had only to make a quick 120 runs in the second innings to achieve their goal. Alas, they collapsed to be all out for a meagre 90 runs, missing out on a finals berth for the first time in six seasons. It was a disastrous result for the talent packed ANA team as Bob Arnfield had been superb throughout the season, collecting 553 runs and taking 33 wickets, while skipper Rex Sheppard had taken 52 wickets, and the 42-year-old Cyril Parke chipped in with 369 runs. Unfortunately the lack of success had filtered throughout the Club, and after having all four teams in the finals the previous year, ANA failed to have a single side represented in the finals. This was the first time that this had happened to ANA in almost twenty years. Sadly though, the writing appeared to be on the wall and the disappointing year gave warning that this could possibly mean the end of an era of domination of the CMCA by the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club.
Any serious hopes that ANA had of regaining their supremacy were quickly dashed prior to the 1962/63 season when the two champion all-rounders, Bob Arnfield and Max Papley, both left the Club. Papley accepted the position as Captain/Coach of the Moorabbin Cricket Club, in the Sub District competition, while Arnfield concentrated on his other favoured past time of golf, in which he went on to play in many major tournaments around the state. The pair had remarkably similar short careers. Papley having made 2294 runs at an average of about 35, while Arnfield had amassed 2410 runs at around 32 runs an innings. Whilst with the ball, Papley had taken 228 wickets at an average of 10.2 with his express, but slightly questionable, bowling action and Arnfield had captured 200 wickets at 13 runs apiece with his variety of pace, swing and spin. Both players had also had a large influence in ANA's three recent 'A' Grade Premierships. With the loss of these two, as well as that of four times Premiership player Ralph Sturt, who headed to South Caulfield to keep wickets in the VJCA, the ANA 'A' Grade team struggled and could only manage a handful of wins, finishing in the middle of the table. Rex Sheppard worked hard to replace the loss of the former Premiership players and showed his cunning when he came across Middle Park batsman Harry Sleath, while carrying out plumbing repairs at Harry's house. Sleath was nearing the end of a fine career in the Sub District Cricket Association and was contemplating retiring. Sheppard, never one to pass up a recruiting opportunity, insisted that Harry have a game with ANA and even offered to fit Harry's septic cistern in his new house at less than half price if he obliged. This was an offer that Harry found too good to refuse and he played with the Club for the next few seasons. The rest of the teams struggled to win many games at all, and it was becoming clear that if ANA was going to have any future at all, they would have to rely on new youth coming up through the juniors. The introduction of a second 'Under 16' team this season was the first positive step taken towards achieving this goal.
Prior to the 1963/64 season, after a long and distinguished career at the Club, Cyril Parke left to go to West Bentleigh in a final bid to play in one more 'A' Grade Premiership side. Who could deny Cyril this opportunity after the service that he had given the Club over the years. Beginning at the Club in 1933/34, Cyril had played a Club record of 203 games at the 'A' Grade level, amassing an enormous 5820 runs in a career which saw him Captain three Premiership teams and play in a total of five 'A' Grade Premierships. One only shudders to think of the enormity of his statistics had he been at the Club throughout the 1940's when, after a brief stint at Melbourne, and possibly at the peak of his career, he initially went into the army and then concentrated on establishing the business in his newsagency. The loss of Parke, however, was offset by the return of opening batsman Barry Sheppard from Bentleigh Church of Christ. Rex Sheppard had a magnificent year, taking 50 wickets, and led a young team which already contained five players who had come up through the Club's junior teams. The best of these being John Romeril, who showed enormous potential, scoring over 300 runs for the season. The Sheppard brothers both had fine seasons, with Barry scoring almost 450 runs, but the ANA 'A' Grade team could manage only two wins for the season. Fortunately, one of those wins coming in the last game to avoid relegation. Once again the Club failed to have a side in the finals, even after having dropped back from four teams to three, in an attempt to stabilise the dwindling numbers.
After an overwhelming 21 years at the head of the Club, Alan Ellis stepped down as President of the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club at the completion of the 1963/64 season. Ellis had been President whilst the Club had won five 'A' Grade Premierships, one 'C' Grade Premiership, and two 'D' Grade Premierships, an era which saw ANA dominate the Association. His successor was the shrewd accountant and Secretary of the past six years, Eddie Benson, who was taking over at a time when the Club was arguably at the lowest ebb in its history to date. If not for the efforts and hard work of Messrs Benson, Sheppard, Haw and Co. the Club would have indeed folded during this period. Things were so grim that some of these Senior members were providing financial assistance out of their own pockets simply to keep the Club afloat, in an era which saw the existence of ANA seriously threatened. However, ANA's policy of playing the youngsters was slowly starting to pay dividends. This, combined with the introduction of John Opie from Bentleigh Church of Christ, saw the 'A' Grade team's form improve dramatically, unluckily finishing in fifth position, after losing the last two games of the season by less than 30 runs. Barry Sheppard finished with over 400 runs for the season and John Opie ended up with 250, whilst Rex Sheppard took 44 wickets, having more support at the other end now in 16-year-old speedster Dick Martin. The season couldn't be reviewed without mentioning one performance that will probably never be equalled, that being the efforts of popular clubman Allan Whiting. Allan, or 'Fishy' as he was more affectionately known, played the first seven games of the season in the 'A' Grade without even facing a ball. Skipper Sheppard took great delight in regularly declaring prior to Allan's onslaught, leaving a rather bemused Whiting rapidly unpadding without so much as working up a sweat. Seeing this predicament, the selectors saw fit to give Fishy a run in the 'C' Grade to hit himself into form. The wisdom of this move could be questioned when, after five innings, Allan had strode to the wicket five times for a total of five first ball 'Golden Ducks'. Requiring a strong performance from the 'C' Grade team to reach the finals, it was considered to be in the best interests of all concerned for Fishy to finish his 'run spree' in the 'E' Grade. This move brought instant success, and the cheers could be heard for miles, when he played the first ball he faced defensively out into the covers. However, this flourish was short lived, as the next ball uprooted his off stump, and when he journeyed back to the 'shed' after another first ball dismissal in the second innings, Fishy had the unenviable distinction of becoming the first, and only, ANA batsman to be dismissed seven times in eight balls and failing to score a run for the entire season. Fishy's failures aside, the improvements around the Club saw the ANA 'C' Grade team finish third prior to the finals, with the hard hitting veteran Eddie Lambert stealing the limelight. Renowned for being one of the biggest hitters of a cricket ball that the Club had ever seen, Lambert was in awesome form at various stages throughout the year. A fact never more evident than against the Bentleigh C.Y.M.S. team in Round 4. His performances throughout the match saw him crack 108 in the first innings and 113 not out in the second innings as ANA powered towards an awesome victory. Lambert's season saw him accumulate a monstrous 581 runs, which was a fine comeback for a man who had broken both his elbows in an accident only three years earlier. However, Norm Hocking's 'C' Grade team struggled to reproduce this sort of scintillating form and went down to the Bentleigh Presbyterians in their Semi-final match. ANA had three junior teams this season, having introduced an 'Under 14A' Grade team to join the 'Under 16A' and 'Under 16C' Grade teams, which it already had, and was successful in seeing all three of these junior teams making the finals. The 'Under 16A' Grade team was led by Alan Sanders and finished third prior to the finals. ANA batted first in their Semi-final encounter with East Bentleigh and at the end of the first Saturday had accumulated an impressive total of 3 for 207. Needing to bowl East Bentleigh out for victory, ANA had no hesitation in declaring overnight, but had hardly made any impression into East's innings by stumps on the second day, as they had cruised to 2 for 120, in a rain affected game which had unfortunately ended in a draw. The 'Under 16C' Grade team, led by Alan's cousin Ronald James, just managed to sneak into the finals, finishing in fourth position. They also batted first in their Semi-final match against West Bentleigh and after being 3 for 55 at one stage, recovered to reach a total of 3 for 147 at the end of the first day. Rod Curtis had batted magnificently to remain unconquered on 70 while David Strachan had provided fine assistance with an unbeaten 36, as ANA batted its way into a confident position. Alan Hollings then set about single handedly destroying the top team's innings as he crashed through the batting line up to finish the day with 8/25, as Wests were bundled out for 97, in an amazing effort. ANA then clashed with the Ormond Presbyterians in an unexpected final's confrontation. ANA batted first and everything had suddenly began to fall into place. Peter Hartlett led a run onslaught with 53 and Ken Harrigan made an important 36 before 14-year-old Greg James stole the limelight. Playing above his own age group, James batted defiantly to finish up unbeaten on 77, being denied a century only by the fact that he ran out of partners, as ANA batted its way to a magnificent total of 240. Speedster Alan Hollings then continued on from where he left off in the Semi-final as he collected 3/33, and once again the pint sized Greg James performed admirably, slipping in to capture 3/47 with his off-spinners. The Ormond Presbyterians finished well short of the large target, making 159. Neil Bach then dampened any hopes that the Presbyterians may have had of snatching an outright victory with a fine 51 not out which helped steer ANA to a total of 2 for 99 in the second innings, assuring them of an amazing and unexpected win, and its first junior Premiership for 25 years. The 'Under 14A' Grade team was led by Brian Grandin and went into the finals as 'red hot' favourites, after finishing on top of the ladder in their first year of competition. Tragically, however, they went down to Highett off the second last ball of the day in their rain affected Semi-final match. The excellent form of the juniors gave the Club a glimmer of hope for future success and also indicated that the future of ANA appeared brighter than it did a couple of years before.
History 1965 – 1970
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.