A Brief History of the East Box Hill Cricket Club
1956 to 1960 -
The formative years
During the 1956 football season a small group of members of the Box Hill Adelphian Football Club decided to form a cricket club. The chief instigator was Ian Duncan who had had the idea for some years but it was Ken Buckthorpe who showed the way. It was known through close association that sufficient footballers were interested for a team to be fielded.
It was arranged to hold a meeting and Mr Frank Deuchar was asked to take the chair. The idea very nearly did not get off the ground for it was discovered that, although plenty of people wished to play cricket no one would take the responsibility of office. Fortunately though Don Garrett agreed to preside and Ken Buckthorpe took on the Secretary’s job. Ron Baker was elected Treasuruer. Ken also served as BHRDCA Treasurer and Assistant Secretary for a number of years in the 1960’s.
The club applied for and was granted the use of a small sloping ground in Barwon St Box Hill (later to become the Box Hill Athletic Track). The BHRDCA was approached and, under the rules of the competition that all new teams start in the lowest grade, a team was entered in D Grade. Captain for the first season was Ian Duncan. The grading was sadly astray and the team was premiers without having to take the game seriously. Promoted to C Grade the following season, the team, (at this stage it could hardly be classed a club being strictly a clique - a group of footballers playing cricket together in the summer and having a ball), was runners up. Ian Duncan had been re-elected captain. Yearly subscriptions were lowered from £3/3/- to £2/2/- as the club had made a small profit in its first year but weekly subscriptions remained at 3/-. Cricket gear was purchased from C. Hoaths Sports Store in Box Hill which remained the sole supplier to the club until the 1980s.
By 1958-59 Annual Subscriptions had reduced to ₤2 ($4) with weekly subs of 4/- (40c) per week to cover umpires fees and ball. Umpires were paid 27/- ($2.70) per Saturday or 32/- ($3.20) for doing both ends. The BHRDCA consisted of 4 grades with 15 clubs and 31 teams, 3 grades of 8 teams and one of 7 with a bye. Three of the clubs no longer play in the BHRDCA, one folded and the other two play in other competitions. Four clubs have changed their name since then.
After twice being runners up in C Grade, the team was promoted to the second grade of the BHRDCA (B Grade) where the competition was found to be considerably stronger. Due to work and new family commitments the team altered somewhat and only mixed success greeted the club that season.
1961 to 1969 -
The 1961/62 season saw an inevitable change. The Adelphians became a club. It was decided at the Annual General Meeting to field two teams. It was inevitable that for the club to prosper, survive and develop a second X1 would have to be formed and entered. Preliminary discussions were held during the 1960-61 season and at a Committee meeting on 27/9/61 the decision was finally taken and a side entered in D Grade. Players were sought from far and wide from work and other acquaintances to fill this second team which in its first season was based at the now non existent small front oval at East Burwood. The player list totalled 36 with members residing as far a field as West Brunswick, Richmond, Oakleigh and Northcote. It was the task of one of the players John Pagram to transport the mats and players from Box Hill to East Burwood. The meeting point was Box Hill Railway Station and often 7 players were crammed into an FJ Holden together with the gear and mats on the roof.
The 1st XI in 1961/2, for the second time in the club's short history, lost the final in B Grade after leading by 58 runs on the first innings but nevertheless was promoted to A Grade on the basis of finishing clear ladder leaders after the home and away rounds. The 1st XI then spent two unsuccessful seasons in the top grade of the BHRDCA to which it was not to return for over 20 years.
The early 1960s saw the club stabilise at around 40 members. The clubs desire to integrate into the local community saw it offer its services to appeals such as those run by the Box Hill & District Hospital and a more active role was taken in the decision making process at Association level with Ken Buckthorpe taking on the task as Association Treasurer. August 1964 saw Don Garrett become the first 'Past President' of the club, after declining nomination for a further term, being succeeded by Ian Duncan.
The mid 1960s saw the club investigate many fund raising avenues with the 1965-66 balance sheet showing a less than healthy $8.61 bank balance. Members were urged to take a more active part and it was necessary to pay many accounts including Hoaths by instalment. By the 1967 Annual meeting the club finances had recovered to the princely sum of $38.71.
At the 1966 Annual Meeting Howard Wilson was elected to the position of Club Secretary, a role he was to perform for the next 20 years. Howard became one of the most important and influential members of the entire Association. He held many batting records at East Box Hill. The minutes of a Committee meeting conducted 15/1/65 read: " The enthusiasm and initiative of Howard Wilson was pointed out to members of Committee". These words were accurate until his untimely death.
On the field the 2nd XI won its first premiership in 1966/67 reversing a trend by beating East Burwood at the Box Hill H.S. oval (now Howard Wilson Oval) after trailing by 14 runs on the first innings. This match was characterised by a long and tedious innings by the Association auditor Ron Woollard in East Burwood's 2nd innings. Ron carried his bat for 30 not out, having batted for over 45 eight ball overs, failing to save the match for his team. Victory was claimed by the 2nds by 7 wickets just on stumps after scoring at 7 runs an over.
A special general meeting to adopt a Club Constitution was held on 21/9/67. The constitution formulated by Lou Rodriquez, Bob Deuchar and Howard Wilson was adopted and remained in force until the club was incorporated in September 1986. Club stalwart and long serving President Rodriquez was also a driving force behind incorporation together with former Club Secretary Colin McGary.
RHL Sparks Reserve became the clubs headquarters in 1967. For several years prior to this the club was temporarily based at the Mont Albert Primary School as the original ground was taken over for an athletic track. The new ground was situated on a MMBW retarding basin at the corner of Middleborough and Albion Roads Box Hill which accommodates flood waters from Gardiners Creek. The pavilion for the first two years at this base consisted of a tin shed (the first 'pavilion' of the club') whilst a permanent pavilion was funded and built by Council. The club had a long and happy association at Sparks Reserve spanning more than 20 years, notwithstanding the fact that the ground surface was never what you would call carpet-like.
1970 to 1980 -
Change aplenty - New Name,
A change of name consistent with the new base was raised at a committee meeting on 3/11/69 and at the AGM on 16/8/70 members voted to adopt the name Laburnum Cricket Club. At that Annual Meeting the club's first Life Members were elected unanimously. Messrs Ken Buckthorpe, Ian Duncan and Ron Baker, foundation members present at the first meeting in 1956 and office bearers and committeemen since, were rewarded for their long service. Three months after the AGM the issue of the club name was raised by Box Hill Council which objected strongly to the use of a name synonymous with an area in another municipality albeit over the road from the clubs ground. During the next six months the Committee discussed a further name change submitting a short list for approval by the Council. On 6/7/71 it was decided to submit to the AGM the names council had approved. On 4/8/71 less than twelve months after the previous change members approved the change to East Box Hill Cricket Club.
Although having been the subject of discussion since 1967 the 1971-72 season saw the first junior team (Under 16) for East Box Hill take the field. The first junior coach of the club was the then opening bowler for the first XI Alan Charles. Three of the original Under 16s - Colin and Trevor McGary and John Cutler - have played over 1200 club games between them since. Other initiatives taken during this season saw a social committee formed comprising players wives and girlfriends and junior players mothers. An Honour Board was also commenced detailing all averages and club championship winners since the clubs inception. During that season Box Hill Council ground fees were $88 and BHRDCA dues $42.
The 1972 AGM saw John (Jack) Gibson unanimously installed as Life Member. Jack's record of on field performance with over 1000 wickets taken (detailed later) is, and is very likely to remain, unsurpassed in Club history. Jack frequently passed a total of 50 wickets a season during his career with the club.
An Under 14 side took the field for the first time in 1972-73. A member of that team Eddie Zareeba became a highly respected Shield Grade player although not in the maroon and white of East Box Hill.
Ground availability was a problem in Box Hill in 1973 (and still is today). The club was advised that no grounds remained unused in either Box Hill or any adjoining municipality. This led the club to investigate the possibility of having a pitch laid at the southern end of Sparks Reserve but this never eventuated.
At the 1973 AGM further expansion was sanctioned by the members and 3 senior teams were nominated for the first time together with an Under 12 team. Several grounds were investigated in the lead up to the season including the old Mirrabooka Primary School, St Paschals and Killora Primary School. By the 19/9/73 use of Mirrabooka had been secured for the Under 12 and D2 Grade teams. This committee meeting also accepted the resignation of Les Stephenson from active on or off the field participation with the club. A crafty and often fiery left arm fast bowler and club captain for some years this was a considerable loss to the club. Fortunately he was able to resume in the 1974 season being again 1st XI captain and team manager. Lou Rodriquez and Howard Wilson were elected Life Members at the 1974 AGM. At this meeting it was also proposed to appoint a coach but no action was taken on this issue until the 1976-77 season when Bob Raymond was appointed at $30 per game. Raymond started with the club the year before the second XI was formed before progressing to Sub District ranks, and who also coached privately, was a member of a family boasting four brothers all of whom played for East Box Hill.
By 1975 the club had been fortunate to obtain use of St Paschals Monastery ground on a shared basis for use by their lowest senior team. Apart from sharing a couple of times since the club was able to have virtually exclusive use of this excellent facility until 1995.
East Box Hill participated in a twilight competition which started on 1/12/77 and games, consisting of 18 overs per side with batting and bowling restrictions, were played from 5.30pm to 8.00pm. on weeknights. Council approved the first set of practice nets for the club in December 1977, but twelve months were to elapse before the first posts were put in place. Discussion on another name change for the club took place in April 1979 together with talks with St Leo's College Old Boys Association on a possible formal link. The name Box Hill Combined was mooted but no change was made. A formal link with the old boys was also rejected although the club maintained a strong link with the school that remained until its demise.
The decade ended with the club discussing with co-tenants Box Hill Pioneers Football Club the possibility of major improvements to the pavilion at Sparks Reserve to include a social room. Plans and financing requirements were placed before Council but nothing came of this initiative.
1980 to 1989 -
Expansion and Improvement
1981 saw the complexion of the club change with the transfer of a large number of players from Blackburn North C.C. The year also saw the celebration of the club's 25th Anniversary with a dinner at Karinya Lodge. The influx of players enabled the club to field a fourth XI in 1981-82 and a 5th XI captained by Life Member Bob McKee in 1982-83. The completion of the 1981-82 season saw the Under 12 side premiers.
At the 1983 AGM it was decided to field a Women's XI for the first time made up of ex Kerrimuir United C.C. players whose club no longer wanted to sponsor a women's team. Permission was obtained from the VWCA and the team used Kerrimuir Primary School as their home ground. In November 1983 increasing work commitments forced hard working president Bob McKee to resign. His place was taken by Michael Newey who had previously played with Blackburn North.
During the 1983-84 season much behind the scenes work took place to arrange a special Sportsman's Night function to raise money for Maurice Chilton, a player for several seasons, who had been diagnosed with cancer. A most successful function was held at the Camberwell Civic Centre with over $15600 being raised for the Chilton family.
In the 1985-86 season Ken Charman took over as 4thXI captain. Ken would prove to be the most successful captain in the club's history steering that side to three consecutive flags from 1985-86 to 1987-88. (He was also probably the most successful negotiator and selector during this time also).
Howard Wilson, only the second secretary in the club's history, prepared his 20th and last report as secretary for the AGM on May 25th 1986. He was succeeded as secretary by Colin McGary.
The club resolved to become an incorporated body on 14th September 1986. Much of the work in preparing the statements and rules was capably handled by Life Member and former President Lou Rodriquez and the documents were successfully lodged.
A proposed 30th Anniversary Dinner Dance did not proceed due to lack of numbers. One function that was a success was the Umpire's Christmas party hosted by East Box Hill at Sparks Reserve. The late Geoff Griffiths then Secretary of the Umpires association was a regular visitor to our rooms.
The completion of the 1986-87 season saw our victorious A1 team retain their unbeaten record through the season defeating East Burwood in the final by 30 runs. The winning team which enabled the club to field a side in McIntosh Shield Grade for the first time was Trevor McGary (Captain), Phil Tobias, Martin Fincher, Bob Batty, Luke Kenealy, Tim Murphy, Neil Smith, Steve McDonald, Andrew Gill, Alan Galpin and Tony Smith.
Early 1987 saw the club meet with Box Hill Council over the 'user pays' system of ground rental. A sub committee was formed within council to examine the matter. The viability of a 6th XI was examined during July 1987 and Dave Sharwood was elected captain once numbers were confirmed. The move was a successful one as the team was premiers in their first season.
A letter received from Box Hill Council in August 1988 indicated that the coming season was to be our last at Sparks Reserve. Box Hill City Archers had been successful in obtaining the ground on an all year round basis. The club swung into action but all our lobbying was to no avail and our future home was in doubt for some months. During that period a testimonial dinner was held at the Nunawading Civic Centre to commemorate Howard Wilson's 300th game with the club.
1989 to 1999 -
Whitehorse Reserve the former home of Box Hill Church of Christ Cricket Club became our new home ground for the 1989-90 season. Mick Newey stood down as President and was replaced by Trevor McGary who became our most recent Life Member during the year. The club was saddened to lose two excellent club members during the period. Doug McDonald, father of long standing player Phil, passed away and is now commemorated by the Doug McDonald medal which is the club's most valuable player award. Darren Reid, who was tragically killed in an off road accident in 1990, is now remembered each year with the Darren Reid Memorial Incentive Award, which honours a player for both on and off field performance.
After many years work as Junior Coordinator, Tony Box decided at the end of 1990-91 to take a break from the position. His work for juniors at both club and Association level should not be underestimated. This fact is borne out by the number of junior players who have continued on to play senior cricket at East Box Hill in recent years. Although busy at club level; Tony also managed to find time to serve the Association as Junior Section Manager for two years.
After a spate of pavilion break ins and property damage, which cost the club an estimated $1880, Council acted quickly to secure the rooms to a much greater extent.
A new pitch was laid by Council at St Paschals after the completion of the 1991-92 season. This coupled with attention to the playing surface has propelled this large ground to one of the best grounds in the competition.
The Annual General Meeting of 24th May 1992 saw members request the incoming committee to consider appointment of a professional player for the upcoming season. As it had been over 15 years since a player had been paid at the club, the decision to appoint Tooronga player Peter Leerson for a one year term was not taken lightly. Peter was reappointed for 1993-94 after a solid performance in his first year.
In August 1994 it was decided to field a second team in the VWCA competition. Meanwhile discussions were still continuing with the City of Box Hill regarding an upgrade of facilities at Whitehorse Reserve, indoor toilets being the priority. During the same month a delegation from the Committee met at the Hawthorn Club to discuss a proposal to form what was to be known as the Box Hill Sporting Club. After months of discussions we did not pursue involvement. October saw the “Whitehorse Breakers” nickname and emblem endorsed by Committee, although there are still some members who are unhappy with the moniker to this day.
May 1995 saw the club obtain the services of former Australian Under 19 player Chris Dalkin, who over the next four seasons proved to most that he was the best player ever to play at East Box Hill. The loss of St Paschals oval as a playing venue for the 3rd and 4th XIs necessitated a move of those teams to St Leos College. The 5th and 6th XI moved to other ovals as a result.
The outstanding highlight of the 1995/96 season was the club’s first, and to date only, McIntosh Shield grade premiership. In the previous season the Ladies XI had won the VWCA A Grade pennant, the 5th XI and Under 16s were also victorious in C2 Grade and Under 16B Grades. Our most talented players had reaped the rewards of many years hard work. Premiership port was ordered to commemorate the occasion after resident taste tester and alcohol connoisseur Jim Murphy sampled everything the promotional winery had to offer and more.
Life memberships were bestowed upon Colin McGary and Tony Box at the May 1996 Annual Meeting. Some very successful major fundraising activities consisting of distribution of East Box Hill Calendars and a back to front raffle draw contributed greatly to club funds. These initiatives demonstrated the diversity and imagination required to raise money for the club, preferably mainly from outside the club membership, to keep annual subscriptions to a reasonable level. Activities such as these whilst reasonably successful are not something that could be run every year. After the premiership the previous season the 1st XI were beaten in the final after being the top side all season.
Continuing problems with our practice nets led to further correspondence on the matter to what was now the City of Whitehorse (an amalgamation of the City of Box Hill and the City of Nunawading). Engineers were requested to examine the nets to alleviate sun glare as the nets basically ran in an east west direction. Batsmen found it hard to pick the flight of the ball in sun/shade and bowlers were at risk from balls struck hard and straight as they were looking directly into the sun. After 4 years new nets, including an additional net were finally constructed adjacent to the clubrooms for the start of the 2000/01 season.
Under Ken Arnolda’s astute captaincy the 3rdXI won the B1 premiership in the 1996/97 season and Jim Murphy deservedly won the Best Clubman award. The first serious discussions regarding the banning of smoking in the clubrooms were held at the 1997 AGM.
Changes to the prestigious Doug McDonald Medal were made following several keen debates. The VWCA and 6th XI were excluded from the main medal and the voting system was changed. Continuing difficulties in finding grounds suitable for the 5th and 6th XI led the club to pay for the establishment of a new pitch at the northern end of the St Leos college venue. By now the original college had closed and the school had become an International college serving the Asian market.
Howard Wilson’s 400th game was commemorated by a special presentation of a magnificent club photograph. Steve Edward’s effort in scoring 3 successive centuries was a first for our club.
Following the success of Wembley (Middlesex County Cricket League England) cricketer, Barry "McGary" Webb at East Box Hill in the mid 1990s Colin McGary, Damien Vozzo and Mark Kenealy all played at Wembley in 1998. Future reciprocal arrangements are most likely.
In November 1998 a concept plan with architectural drawings detailing extensions to the existing pavilion including a new social room was completed. A lack of council funding together with lack of interest from the ground’s winter tenant meant that our proposal went no further.
1999 to 2006 -
Rebirth of Junior Teams
James E. Murphy was awarded Life Membership at the May 1999 AGM. Jim’s diligence and attention to detail with our books has put East Box Hill in an extremely sound and solid financial position. Chris Dalkin transferred to East Burwood Bennettswood and was replaced by Hawthorn Waverley 1st XI Premiership player from the previous season, Chris Bambury. Apart from winning the premiership during Dalkin’s stay at the club, the first XI and other teams were very successful during the season but found progressing beyond semi finals a bit more difficult.
Club financing was given a boost for the 1999/2000 season with a number of sponsorships being obtained by Shane Hage. Major sponsor David Law (Filla Freeza) was joined by Box Hill Indoor Cricket Centre, Maddocks Sports, Club Food & Wine and several other smaller donors. The importance of junior cricket at the club was illustrated when Chris Bambury was unavailable during the season. The entire 1st XI had represented the club at junior level; a first at East Box Hill and very likely unique in Shield grade. This season saw the Club Constitution placed on computer disk, the demise of the Ladies team, an Under 12 team fielded after a two year break and the 3rd XI win the A3 premiership.
Further ground problems confronted the Committee in the lead up to the 2000/01 season. With the International Language Centre at St Leos College withdrawing permission to use the grounds the 3rds,4ths, 5ths and 6XI were left without playing venues. Excellent pre season work by President Brett Smith saw the club secure the use of Warner Reserve in Ashburton and Kingswood College in Box Hill. Junior representation increased from one side to three with two Under 12 teams and an Under 14 team.
Several new initiatives were taken by Committee. A level one coaching course was attended by over 15 members including junior managers, senior captains and our new coaching panel. Mick Newey was installed as Coaching Director and Mark Kenealy as 1stXI squad coach. Former United Emirates World Cup squad member Wijay Perera replaced Chris Bambury as professional player. Thanks to Pino Zarro the club obtained a comprehensive liquor licence and, with the club able to contain beer prices to zero increase for the 6th year in a row, the bar is a very popular and profitable aspect of club life.
The 2001 AGM held in June recognised the service to the club by Andrew Gill and John Cutler by awarding both Life Membership. With the club funds standing at over $43000 an investment sub committee of Jim Murphy and Owen Hereford was formed. Resulting from this investigation the decision to leave funds on term deposit has proved sound having regard to the recent share and managed funds volatility. The junior section of the club was provided with further impetus by the decision to waive subs for the season. Mark Droscher and David Law were active in continuing the resurrection of the juniors following the fine tradition set by Tony Box, Trevor McGary and many others. Mark as Junior Section Manager raised the possibility of a Junior Committee and whilst this was not adopted the juniors section continued to develop and strengthen. The purchase of a bowling machine provided a new tool for training and coaching.
3rd and 4th XI players appreciated the carpet like surface of oval No 4 at Trinity College whilst the lower grades played their home games at the small No 2 oval at Kingswood College.
The onfield highlight of the year was the Shield 2nds premiership in 2001/2002. In an enthralling game the team of Shane Thompson, Grant Sargent, Steve Hobbs, Andrew Gillard, Brendt Henricus, Damien Rea, Martin Fincher, Nicholas Murphy, Shane Kenealy, Nick Tully and Paul Black (Chris Moore 12th man) were victorious over Vermont South.
Beau Monde Receptions in Doncaster East was the venue for the Presentation Night which saw long member and prolific wicket taker Mick McCole take out the Best Clubman Award. Brett Smith completed his term on Committee after a very successful stint as President. Brett was succeeded by Life Member Shane Kenealy. The inaugural McGary/Kenealy Medal for the Most Valuable Player in the juniors for season 2001/2 was won by Robert Gray.
At the 2002 AGM Martin Cowling and Chris Moore were both elected to the Committee. Martin adopted the role of Council liaison officer with a view to reigniting discussion on a new pavilion at Whitehorse Reserve back on the agenda. Issues such as tenure and a suitable winter tenant are areas of continuing debate.
The club appointed former Heatherdale player Travis Rowe as the professional player for 2002/3. Other appointments included Mick "Tiger" Baddeley as 3rd XI captain who would ultimately prove to be an integral part of a victorious A3 campaign defeating Park Orchards in the final at Mitcham.
2002 03 saw many successful social functions. The Trivia Night has been a regular social function for the club for over a decade and the 2002 edition held at the Blackburn Hotel, following Michael Vozzo obtaining a small sponsorship from the hostelry, was one of the most successful and enjoyable ever. In what proved to be a boom year socially 180 people attended the Cup Day function, the club ran a celebrity auction for the first time, a golf day with breakfast and pre bus entertainment made it a very long day for some.East Box Hill representatives attended significant events conducted by Koonung Heights, Mitcham and Blackburn cricket clubs.
As has been the case for all players completing 200 games testimonials were held for David Law and Phil McDonald. Commemorative plaques are presented to each recipient as a record of their achievements with a similar plaque being placed on the club room wall.
Issues raised at Committee during the year included concerns regarding dogs off leashes at Whitehorse Reserve, access to the club's constitution, behaviour at club events and the price of bottled water sold over the bar. There was no concern over the price of canned beer which remains at $2.
On field saw the continued use of Trinity College for the 3rd and 4th XIs, a rare double century by Brendt Henricus and a flag in A3 grade following a sometimes spiteful encounter with Park Orchards. Club Professional Travis Rowe won the Doug McDonald medal.
Following a long list of individual winners the Droscher family won the Best Clubman Award reward for consistent and valued input into many facets of the club during the year. Jim Murphy won his first batting average in 56 years of senior cricket.
After 46 years the club found itself in a most satisfactory position. The financial report tabled at the May 2003 AGM showed a profit of $5241 for the previous year and consolidated funds of just under $47000.East Box Hill is a financially sound, competitive and respected club at all levels, both senior and junior. In the lead up to the new season various projects were in the pipeline. Chris Moore was ultimately unsuccessful in creating a sister club relationship with a team in Zimbabwe. Several amendments to our Constitution were made following an audit by Corporate Affairs. We received level 1 accreditation under the Government Good Sports initiative. A computer was purchased by the club, a new sponsorship package had been prepared and distributed and further meetings were held with Council over both new facilities and stage 2 water restrictions. Following much discussion the 6th XI was withdrawn on 28 October 2003 for the remainder of the season. The Under 12B premiership and the 8/667 amassed by the 5th XI against Box Hill C of C were the outstanding team performances of the year. Mick McCole’s 8/78, John Cutler’s 158 and James Robertson’s 4 catches in the field in one day were memorable personal highlights.
The big news, however, was the decision whether or not to commit club funds to a new pavilion at Whitehorse Reserve which was almost certainly to be built. At a Committee Meeting held at Forest Hill on 20/3/04 the “in principle” design of the new rooms was accepted and a commitment to a deposit for the new function room made subject to certain conditions. Although new facilities were first mooted in 1996 the driving force behind headway being made has been Martin Cowling. This is not to downplay the efforts of several other members during the period, but there is no doubt that Martin has championed our cause.
Our newest life Member David Law received his medallion from Shane Kenealy at the AGM on 20/6/04. Dave has been a valued sponsor for many years and has had input into many areas of club life.
The demise of the $2 can after 9 seasons was greeted with disappointment in some quarters, but it was a measure of our financial well being that an increase had been deferred until now. Shane Kenealy stepped down as President on 20/10/04 in what was an uncomfortable period for the club. 50th Anniversary planning was in its initial stages.
New President Martin Cowling asked for a renewed effort in the sponsorship area and this resulted in a total sponsorship value of over $10,400, a club record to date. On the social front Cup Day was once again successful with amusements for children becoming a year to year necessity. The boat cruise was put into recess following difficulties attracting sufficient numbers. However the John Bird Memorial game played at Blackburn North on Australia Day was well received with many ex players in attendance.
Another meeting regarding the proposed new facility was held on 7/2/05 with the Committee deciding that the club should make no monetary commitment to the new facilities apart from furnishing the interior as necessary. Naturally this would mean no function room as such, but with the larger floor space a partitioned social area was envisaged.
Our 1st XI again made the final but were defeated by Eley Park. Not so the Under 14A team which went through the season undefeated and were victorious for the rejuvenated junior section. The 5th XI played at Trinity College for the first time. At the May 2005 AGM Brett Smith who joined as a junior and is a past President and Chairman of Selectors was elected as our most recent Life Member. A completion date of November 17 was advised as the completion date for our new pavilion.
The 2005 06 season was one of the most difficult administratively for some years. Club equipment held in storage was removed in the early part of the season but with no pavilion various homes were found. Private residences were used on Thursday and Saturday nights when the expired liquor licences restricted our use of the President’s Room at Box Hill City Oval. Ironically six senior teams were fielded with less difficulty than previous seasons even though selection night crowds were smaller due to the various temporary environments.
A 2nd McIntosh Shield Premiership by the 1st XI over Box Hill North broke a sequence of “close but not quite” results over the previous 10 years. Captained by Martin Fincher the winning combination of Travis Rowe, Andrew Bethune, Brendt Henricus, Leigh Newey, Damien Yze, Glenn Turner, Andrew Gill, Craig Carroll, Satish Prabhakaran and David Porter proved far too accomplished. Steve Batty and Tim Law completed the team as 12th man.
The Doug McDonald night was the first held in the new $600,000 plus clubrooms with the rooms being used for the first time during the semi final. A new facility, but 6 months later than hoped.
Meetings with Vic Roads and Council representatives followed news of extensive works to be undertaken on the Middleborough Road level crossing rendering Whitehorse Reserve unplayable for the coming season. Yet more challenges for the incoming Committee!
2006 to 2008
After almost 20 years in the role of Secretary, Colin McGary resigned from the position following the leaking of confidential information at a Committee Meeting.
During the off season discussions were in full swing regarding the realignment of Laburnum Station and the grade separation of trains and road at the Middleborough Road crossing. Vic Roads indicated that the project would be a world first in terms of logistics and time lines and that it was a joint venture between Vic Roads, Connex the rail operator and John Holland contractors. The rail line was to be closed for 6 weeks over Christmas and Whitehorse Reserve was to be used for the temporary storage of the excavated material with the works commencing in November 2006. It was determined that 3 practice nets would be constructed at St Leos College and the southern ground at the College would be upgraded at Vic Roads expense. Originally it was intended to use the South oval for the 1st and 2nd XI however the dry weather delayed use of the southern oval until January 2007.
Both grounds at St Leos were used with the 5th and 6th XIs using the smaller northern ground and the 3rd and 4th XIs using the southern ground late in the season. The 1st’s and 2nd’s were based at Trinity for the whole season and the 3rd’s and 4th’s used the No 1 oval at Trinity when fixturing permitted. The Cup Day function was held at St Leos.
The club held its 50th Anniversary dinner at Golden Sands Receptions East Burwood on Saturday November 18th 2006. 163 attended including some foundation members from 1956, Margaret McIntosh BHRDCA Patron, Cr Robert Chong Mayor City of Whitehorse and other councilors, Koonung Heights C.C. and a wide cross section of current and former members of the senior junior and women’s sections of the club. Master of Ceremonies Chris Moore did a fine job hosting the evening, the highlight of which was the naming of the Jubilee Team. The team selected from a squad of 31 players in alphabetical order is, Chris Dalkin, Martin Fincher, Jack Gibson, Andrew Gill, Mark Kenealy, Steve McDonald, Trevor McGary, Bob Raymond, Ron Seedy, Les Stephenson, Phil Tobias, and Michael Vozzo. The Chairman of the Organising Committee, and the Selection Committee Howard Wilson had also spent considerable time and effort over the last 2 years to produce a 372 page statistical history of the club. The 1st edition of the publication which has to be seen to be believed is still available from the club.
The night was a tremendous success and thanks go to members of the organising committee and general committee of the club for their efforts.
Socialising at the new pavilion during the rail line lowering provided many talking points. Huge mounds of dirt, millions of dollars’ worth of machinery and restricted access to the completely fenced “compound like” rooms meant that there was plenty to discuss over a beer.
On field success came in the form of a 4th XI premiership under Martin Cowling (the first 4th XI flag for 20 years), and a pennant for our Under 16A side. Seven members of this team, the first premiership at the top junior level, had also been successful in Under 12A and Under 14A premierships namely, Zac Carroll, Michael McDonald, Sam Droscher, Michael Thompson, James Roche, Mitchell Hickey, and Xavier Cramer.
The highlight of the Presentation Night held at the Tudor opposite Whitehorse Reserve was the best clubman award won by Paul “Tagger” Byrne. ”Tagger” continues to work tirelessly in many areas of the club.
A difficult off season led to the loss of a number of both senior and junior players necessitating a reduction in senior teams from 6 to 4 for the 2007-08 season. The club had had difficulty numbers wise fielding the 6th XI for some years and some reduction was on the cards anyway. At the start of the 2007-08 season numbers were a problem in fielding 4 senior teams and four junior teams but this was gradually overcome during the year. An Under 18 team was fielded for the first time, albeit with some administrative problems, in a new BHRDCA competition. A big plus for the club was the “new” Whitehorse Reserve which has arguably the best playing surface in the Association if not the eastern suburbs. In a first in the competition an electronic scoreboard, the first in the BHRDCA, was installed on the pavilion after overcoming much Council administrative red tape.
Due mainly to the efforts of the Borg family another attempt was commenced to recycle cans and bottles. Whilst the club has had a large waste bin for many years, savings can be made if only non-recyclables are deposited in it.
Unfortunately, a lack of council assistance has meant that more work will be required in the new season to ensure that our efforts are more successful.
In February 2008 break ins and significant structural damage to the new pavilion put a dampener on the lead up to the finals. Some additional physical security had been put on the pavilion doors following an earlier break in. However, this proved no barrier to the latest robbers who stole a plasma TV, DVD player, some cricket equipment and liquor.
Fortunately, the interior was not trashed and our new honour boards and other furniture were not damaged. Structural engineers from the Council will decide how much of the east facing wall will have to be rebuilt.
“Slim” Jim McDonald was the latest testimonial recipient and was presented with his plaque at a function in the clubrooms in late February.
The 1st XI were the only team in the club to play finals after the 4th XI, Under 16 and Under 18 all had a chance to participate but lost crucial late games. The 1st’s were victorious in the final defeating Bulleen Templestowe by 5 wickets.
Tremendous finals campaigns by Andrew Gill, Andrew Bethune and Glenn Turner in particular saw the boys win their 2nd McIntosh Shield Premiership in 3 years. Damien Yze who captained, had a great year winning the Doug McDonald medal and all 3 team awards at the presentation night. Martin Fincher, Brendt Henricus, Rakesh Pathania, Caleb Grant Tim Law, Sriram Badrinath and Satish Prabhakaran rounded out the successful unit.
Other notable personal awards included the first tie in the McGary/Kenealy medal between Jake McIldowney and David Rankin, juniors Campbell Gauld and Chris Borg winning the 3rd XI bowling and batting averages respectively, Jon O’Meara clean sweeping the 4th XI awards and Howard Wilson winning the Maurice Chilton Best Clubman. Howard was also presented with a commemorative bat in recognition of passing 10000 club runs.
Season’s end was soured by yet another break in at the clubrooms. A Whitehorse Council more receptive to listening to and acting on our security concerns is top of the wish list for next season.
2008 to 2009
Pre-season training was held at a new venue in Clayton and was well received by the small numbers who attended. It was evident quite early that fielding 5 senior teams was most unlikely and as it turned out our 4th XI forfeited twice during the season. To compensate somewhat for the downturn in the number of playing members we ran a Veterans XI. This was captained by David Law and was a huge success, notably by attracting a mix of current and former players (such as Mick Baddeley and Lou Zarro) and junior parents. Jim and Nick Murphy became the first ever father/son combination to play in the BHRDCA Veterans Competition.
With the assistance of the City of Whitehorse the club commenced a recycling programme which has been successful, with education and diligence the key, but savings have already been made due to the reduction in Collex bin use.
Cup Day continues to be a showcase for the club’s ability to run a successful social day. The 80’s night was a new venture highlighted by Paul Molloy’s brilliant Ossie Osbourne likeness. Another new initiative was a past players lunch with over 30 “old boys” attending with the newly updated honour boards being a popular talking point.
On field performances were mixed with our 1st’s and 3rd’s both beaten in the semi-final. Two new Doug McDonald Medal winners in Riyaz Yoosuf and Brendann Matthews (one-day grade) were both rewarded for good years, with Riyaz also making his maiden century.
Due to the excellent surface at Whitehorse Reserve the committee submitted a proposal to host the Shield Final. After initially allocating the game to Blackburn the BHRDCA Committee of Management reviewed their decision following maintenance work on the ground surface at Morton Park. This resulted in our hosting the final with three days’ notice. Fortunately, with the hard work of many the hosting was successful.
Elizabethan Lodge was a new venue for the Presentation Night and was well attended giving our reduced playing numbers. Harry Corder was the deserving hard working recipient of the Maurice Chilton Best Clubman Award. There were some significant milestones. Mighty Mick McCole passed the 700 wicket mark for the club and Grant Sargent achieved 6000 career runs for East Box Hill. These two greats were added to the East Box Hill honour roll as well, by receiving Life Membership later in the year.
2009 to 2017
The club continued to perform well financially, following difficult years of relocation and upheaval. President Andrew Gill, in his 30th year at the club, made special mention of the generous sponsors, who allowed the club to keep bar prices & subscriptions to some of the lowest in the Association. This did not stop the Committee from debating new ways of raising funds. During the off season, the idea of a 100 X $100 per ticket raffle was discussed, with some raising doubts about the ability of a membership with an unproven fundraising culture to sell that amount. To the delight of the Committee, the “special effort” was sold out.
The return of the nomadic Chris Dalkin, arguably the best player ever to wear the maroon and white, was the forerunner for several other former first eleven players to return to the fold in the ensuing 12 months.
The second year of the Vets XI was proving the club’s decision to field a team one of the best of recent years. The sight of former Australian test player Rodney Hogg bowling in tandem with James “Supercat” Murphy (and taking a catch off Murphy’s bowling) was priceless. Captain Martin Cowling, who was awarded Life Membership at year’s end, along with fellow “veteran” Ken Arnolda, followed in Dave Law’s footsteps and did a fine job. In the junior’s, John Moodie achieved the rare feat of a double hat trick.
When a club loses a member of the calibre of Howard Wilson, a void is left which is never filled. Howard died in March 2010 following a week in hospital. His afternoon, before he took ill had been spent in the service of the club, scoring for the 1st’s in a semi-final. Half a century of service to his “family” at East Box Hill will never be forgotten. Members in their maroon and white lined Whitehorse Road, following his service, to say goodbye and thank you to the single biggest influence in the history of our great club. For those who wish, a full tribute, published with our 2009-10 averages is available from the club.
It was vital that work on a lasting tribute to Howard commence immediately. Life member Mick Newey garnered support for Whitehorse Reserve to revert to Howard Wilson Oval. Council was contacted and we were advised the process was complex, with many departments, committees and votes involved. Undeterred, and with the assistance and advice from Council Liaison Officer Steve McGrath, the wheels were set in motion.
There was still a club to run. (we often commented that Howard would have said “chop, chop, get on with it!). Get on with it we did, with results beyond our wildest expectations. The appointment of Michael Vozzo as 1st XI Captain was the catalyst for the return of several former players and supporters. Numbers were also swelled by the return of the 5th XI, following an influx of new players in the pre-season. The season began with life member and club handyman John Cutler spending many hours on the presentation of the rooms, particularly the many varied items of memorabilia on the walls. The return of Ange Vozzo’s Thursday night raffle, coupled with a significant increase in participation gave the club a feel of reminiscence of the mid to late 1990’s. The return of the social “mugs” club, the introduction of ball sponsorships and the use of beer and spirit tickets after several seasons’ absence were other off field changes.
The atrocious weather created headaches for selectors. Due to a smaller than usual number of unavailabilities, rostering was necessary in the lower grades, leading to some selection night angst. However, by season’s end, the club boasted a 1st and 2nd XI premiership, U14’s and 5th XI runners up, and the Vet’s XI making the finals and the U12’s team finishing on top, in a non-finals grade.
Completing the Shield 1 and 2 double was a first for the club and for the record, the teams were as follows: -
1st XI: Michael Vozzo, Damien Yze, Chris Dalkin, Damien Vozzo, Maverick Gleed, Liam Cramer, Andrew Bethune, Campbell Gauld, Roger Batta, Brendt Henricus, Travis Rowe, Angus Gauld
2nd XI: Martin Fincher, Jasvinder Mudher, Steve Batty, Chris Robertson, Steve Law, Trevor McGary, Grant Sargent, Simon Law, Brett McHugh, Rakesh Pathania, Gavin Shelley, Andrew Gill
Presentation night was again a memorable one, following the devastation of Howard’s passing, it was as if the club had willed itself to again become the number one club in the BHRDCA. Andrew Bethune’s Best Clubman award was heartily received by the faithful. The packed East Box Hill table at the association presentation night at the Veneto club in Bulleen saw Travis Rowe win back-to-back Len Toogood medals.
A memorable year was concluded by the AGM, which attracted a record attendance of 43 and saw a profit of over $18,500 posted for the season. Carmel McDonald became our first female life member after a career spanning playing, administration, scoring and coaching. Carmel summed up the feeling around the club in her acceptance speech, saying she was particularly pleased to receive the award now that the club had regained its “family” feel.
A change to the constitution saw the Chairman of selector’s role clarified and four new committeemen were elected. Training commenced for the 2011-12 season on August 4th.
On August 12th, official notification was received that Howard Wilson Oval was approved with a naming ceremony to follow.
That Ceremony was performed before a large crowd and took place on 16/10/2011, following the unveiling of a totem in an area between the main car park and the pavilion, a game was played in Howard’s honour, during the season.
The social functions conducted, included an International beer night. Social Committees the world over try different nights to attract players and partners, and ours is no exception.
Dave Sharwood become out 25th Life Member at the 2012 AGM. He preceded that well deserved accolade with his first Century earlier in the season against our old mates from Koonung Heights at Trinity. Seldom has cricket seen a more “knackered” centurion! Dave was also a member of the 4th XI Premiership side, which defeated Heatherdale.
Season 2013/14 saw the Club appoint Paul Harrison as Coach, following the establishment of sub committees, which also covered recruitment and Juniors. Steve Law’s best clubman award was a highlight in a year where the Senior club only won 16 of 68 matches played.
The Mugs Club, a Social Club covering both Members and Non-Members, has been a semi regular feature at East Box Hill since the late 1980’s. Following various outings over the years, including visits to football matches and bowls clubs. The Club this year travelled by bus to the Healesville Greyhounds.
An influx of players from Eley Park, coupled with the signing of James Schaw from the Mercantile Com and experienced campaigner Peter Verechia, had the place buzzing pre-season. In the Junior section, Cam Anderson was appointed Manager and proved to be a very popular choice. Damien Yze played as an Amateur for the first season in a decade.
Life Memberships were awarded to Sean Walsh and Paul Murphy, and the bar posted its third best profit in the last 20 Years. Flags to the 2nd & 3rd XI sides, made this a memorable year.
Angus Gauld, who was later in the Season awarded the 2015/16 Best Clubman, was the driving force behind a visit of Shane Warne to training. Warne, arriving in disguise as part of a promotion for a betting agency, participated in a filmed session, before a make-up artist went to work.
The tape never went to air.
A function was held to mark the 1000th career Senior game of Colin McGary.
Speaking of thousands, it is timely to again recognize the achievements of our greatest ever Wicket taker, in Jack Gibson. The following was collated by Howard Wilson
The practice nets were again a talking point following a Cricket Victoria facilities audit. Since they were built, then nets have been dangerous due to their east-west alignment.
Photos were taken (again).
The Vets’ Premiership, won at home, was truly a victory for perseverance. Two Seasons ago, the boys did not win a game, but a mixture of new and old EBH players say them victorious. Injured President Paul “Tagger” Byrne epitomized the euphoria by sprinting to the middle after the winning shot.
With 60 Anniversary planning in full swing, a Sub-Committee was formed to decide the best way to honour our on-field achievers, since the Golden Jubilee. Brett Curtis continued to work on the statistics, which will make up the 10 Year supplement, which will complement our 50 Year book.
The 2016 AGM was held on June 19. Following the posting of our 4th loss in a row, debate was held on a number of areas, including player payments, Subscriptions levels, recruitment and social. Four members were elected to the Committee: - Andrew Gill, and for the first time, Jasvinder Mudher, Jake McIldowney and Liam Cramer.
The off season was a busy one for the club. The 60th anniversary celebration, in the form of a cocktail evening, was held on 23rd July at the Wattle Park Chalet. Master of ceremonies Brett Smith admirably handled a most enjoyable evening. Also in July, a number of members attended a series of meetings at the Montrose clubrooms, to participate in workshops entitled “Unlocking the potential of your club”. Representatives from District clubs through to park teams put forward ideas on a range of topics. Delegation and management of tasks was an important area of discussion, and was particularly relevant to us, as was the fact we did not have a defined purpose in our current constitution. This led to a complete re-write of our existing document, using the model rules for an Incorporated Association as a template. Following a number of meetings, which included valuable input from life members, a new 24 page, 78 clause constitution was drafted, which was ratified by the membership and approved by Corporate Affairs Victoria in September 2017.
Paul “Tagger” Byrne was elected our 28th Life Member at the 2017 AGM. A worker in the true traditions of our club, Paul has fulfilled many roles over the years and we look forward to his continued support.
2018 to 2019
Highlights of the 2017/18 season included a premiership in the T20 Competition, a 1st XI batting average to Brendt Henricus who also notched up his 5,000th run during the season, and the increase in junior teams from 2 to 4. But undoubtedly the effort and commitment shown by Leearna Wilson who took on both the Secretary and Treasurer roles was the stand out contribution of the year. Awarded the Best Clubman award, named in honour of her late father Howard, was a fitting tribute to a stellar year.
Rick Bean was appointed Senior Club Coach in the off season taking over from Martin Fincher.
After years of contending with dangerous sun glare, new practice nets were opened on 6 October 2019. Ironically, they were positioned in almost exactly the spot that Jim ‘Supercat’ Murphy had suggested when he drew up plans several years earlier. Local government identity Blair Barker delivered the ceremonial first ball to officially ‘christen’ the facility.
Whilst the number of players increased slightly from the previous season, the club only won 17 of 59 senior games and saw the 1st XI relegated for the first time in over 30 years. The junior section performed superbly with both the Under 14s and 16s playing in Grand Finals with the 14s being victorious.
Jake McIldowney’s effort with the bat during the season is noteworthy. After amassing 490 senior runs in his 101 games prior to the 18/19 season, Jake made 249 runs including a century in his 9 games and won the 2nd XI batting average and club championship in the process.
After 28 years our most enduring yearly social function, Melbourne Cup Day, was conducted without a bookmaker. A tipping competition, in which 47 participants lodged entries, complemented the regular Calcutta and a number of sweeps.
Our bar/canteen has been a regular feature of the club since inception. Following our move to Whitehorse Reserve (now Howard Wilson Oval) in 1989, over $1,000,000 has been taken over the bar. This remarkable amount has been achieved through much hard work in ensuring that we have an excellent liquor licence, diligence in bookkeeping and supplying a wide variety of drinks to cater for most tastes.
Andrew Gill stepped down as President at the AGM and with 5 other committee members not seeking another term, the biggest turnover in office bearers in many years took place. Leearna Wilson became our first female President, with Cameron White, Colin McGary and Paul Byrne all rejoining committee after previous stints.
Leigh Newey, who had played over 250 games for the club before leaving to put together an illustrious career throughout the Outer East, returned to play on 2018/19 and assumed the role of Captain Coach. A 4th XI game against Yarraleen was arranged to commemorate the 1,000th cumulative game played at East Box Hill by the McGary family. Colin, Trevor and Luke were honoured to play with many of the current ‘old boys’ including Life Member John Cutler who donned the whites after several seasons retired. Whilst the 4ths lost, the camaraderie was excellent. Another Life Member, Mike McCole, umpired the game with BHRDCA stalwart Des Hearn.
Honourboards have been an important part of the club since our Sparks Reserve days. Each year, every board, plaque, pennant, premiership memorabilia and shield are stored in the off season to allow the winter tenant to use the pavilion as change rooms. We do not have the luxury of leaving anything in place, but are fortunate John Cutler, Harry Corder, Jon O’Meara and others are always on hand at the start of the season to return everything to its rightful place.
2020 to 2022
The 2020/21 season saw our junior section field only an Under 16 team and youngsters in a Fast 9’s competition. Given the demographic in the Box Hill area, junior participation has become increasingly difficult to muster. The club has tried various endeavours to recruit young players. Letter drops, clinics at schools, a stall at the Whitehorse Community Fair, sessions for beginners and the involvement of Cricket Victoria have all only had limited success. A ground change was forced on us in the senior ranks due to the closure of the once pristine Hughes No 4 oval at Trinity Grammar in Bulleen, due to works on the North East Link. Luckily another ground at the same venue was available.
Pre season indoor training has been a constant for many years. Usually commencing around 8-9 weeks prior to the first round, sessions have been held at Hawthorn Indoor Cricket Centre, Box Hill Indoor, Maddocks Sports in Blackburn, Topline Cricket in Bayswater and at the Junction Oval. Lighting and run up lengths have sometimes been less than ideal, but it has given the club a starting point when outdoor nets are not an option due to weather.
As previously mentioned, the bar and canteen have been an important source of income. Over the last 15 years committees have refined and enhanced beer cards, stock control, revenue and expenditure sheets, hospitality, floats and the variety of items for sale to a point where we undoubtedly have one of the best ranges of drinks in the competition. The introduction of the Square card reader and terminal enabled the club to trade cash free for the first time in the 21/22 season.
Cam White and Andrew Bethune received their life memberships at the AGM held in July 2022. Here we have a man who has played less than a handful of games (albeit memorable ones!) with one who has represented the nation. This illustrates Cam’s prowess as an administrator. Clubs need off field workers as much as they need players on a Saturday afternoon. Babs has spent many hours coaching juniors and has assisted in a range of other jobs benefitting the club. Well done to both.
In the lead up to the 2022/23 season the club made the difficult decision the rest the veterans and the second Tuesday night T20 team. Although originally being demoted to the second tier competition, our 1st XI will again compete in McIntosh Shield following Blackburn North’s request to drop grades was approved.