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Club History 1965 - 2010
St David’s Cricket Club was formed in 1965 by some ardent cricketers at the newly established St David’s Anglican Church in East Doncaster.
Recruited exclusively from the congregation and captained by the vicar, Tim Thorn, they fielded a team in D grade of the Box Hill Reporter District Cricket Association. The team was made up mainly of players who had a reasonable amount of experience which took them to the finals in the first year, narrowly losing the semi-final to the eventual premiers. Founding members included Don Mitchell, Doug Chapman, Bill Henning, Norm Thompson, Mal Bartholomeusz, Ted Drinkwater, Ken Helding, Ken Birkett and John Cathcart.
The next season saw a further team added together with an Under 14 side which was coached by one of the senior players. This was a season of expansion and consolidation with the reputation of the club spreading throughout the rapidly expanding areas of East Doncaster and a relocation of playing grounds to the newly formed Donvale Reserve.
Season 1967/68 saw the rewards of this consolidation with an influx of new members made up mostly from the Presbyterian Church where St David’s used an old church hall for their services. A flag for the firsts and a narrow loss in the semi-final by the seconds gave the club recognition within the Association and with the recruitment of Les and Bruce Arthur, the foundations were laid for a period of success for seniors and juniors. The top players in this period included the likes of Les and Bruce Arthur, John Organ, Doug Chapman, Derek Moorhouse (captain) and Bill Houghton.
In the early 70's a third senior side was added and the junior ranks swelled to six teams with A's and B's in each of the Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 competitions. The juniors in these teams proved to be a great support for the senior ranks in the years to come. All teams competed regularly in the finals but repeatedly missed out on the big prize despite having some outstanding players such as the Arthurs, Les Reid, John Newham (the fastest bowler ever to pay for St David’s) Mick O'Keefe (he hit 151 n.o. after Tea one day) and Jim Webber (who held the club record for the highest score for many years). Clubrooms were built at Donvale looking out at our home ground however shortly after these pitches were removed to make way for the second turf pitch in the Reserve, (it was not until recent years that the Council modified these rooms so that games on the main concrete pitch could be viewed from within the rooms.
The middle and late 70's saw what was to become the pinnacle of success for the club with successive first eleven flags in 1976/77 (A Grade), 1977/78 (A Grade again because our second eleven side was not strong enough to compete as a Shield second eleven) and 1978/79 in McIintosh Shield where, with the scores level and nine wickets down, and with Mitcham's top spin bowler bowling, the keeper let through a bye. This side contained a mixture of experience and youth necessary to hold their nerve in tightness of finals and included club stalwarts Les, Bruce and Ross Arthur, "Nugget" Hartney, Jim Webber (captain), George Wittingslow and Mick Grigorescu. While the seconds and thirds regularly reached the finals and Grand Finals, they never quite achieved the ultimate goal.
It was in this period that St David’s reputation both on the field and off made it a great club to belong to. The annual wine bottling at Alan Rowells farm in Warranwood and the competition for wine sales was something that was looked forward to each year. The Club's finances were given a real boost when Mick McCoy alone sold over 50 dozen one year out of 180 dozen bottled in the one day! The Honour Board was established and finally unveiled in the early 80's and Life Members were inducted.
The 80's brought mixed fortunes for the club which expanded further to include a fourth senior side but lost a number of junior sides as recruitment and competition from other local clubs became more difficult. Some of the players who had served the club well in its early years retired and while there was a premiership in the seconds in 1980/81 captained by Bill Henning and flags for the fourths later on, the depth of experience was reduced and there were years when success deserted St David’s.
Towards the end of the 80's however, a new group of players, many of whom had come up through the junior ranks, brought enthusiasm and vigor to the club.
With the new group of players came a new and youthful committee. J Gabrielson was elected President and W Sharkie and D Carruthers Tresurer and Secretary respectively. The fresh and younger committee began to explore new avenues of fundraising and it was around this time that members began to utilize the social rooms for drinks after training and games.
The club as mentioned was now a very young club with players keen to hold social functions like band nights and karaoke nights. These nights for the club over a number of years were legendary and well attended with over 100 people coming to most functions. St David’s was on the map as a social mecca, the challenge was to start to gain respect as a cricketing force on the field once more.
The early 90’s were fairly successful for the club with premierships in 1989-90 (3
X1) & 1990-91 (2
X1 & 4
X1). The first eleven also played in A2 finals series in 1990-91 & 1992-93 without being able to progress into a grand final. In season 1991-92 the club’s numbers had swollen and were able to introduce a 5
X1 which only lasted two seasons.
The club was surprised to learn that in 1993/94 we were to play in the A1 competition without winning a grand final and without any consultation from the BHRDCA. The committee only learned of this 6 weeks before the start of the season!
Needless to say the club did struggle at A1 level for a few years but were able to consolidate and not get relegated. By the time the mid 90’s had come around the club was still struggling on field but off field were having a great time. The young and inexperienced committee was doing some great work for the club but lost sight of the main thing that keeps a club going, juniors. For the best part of 3 years we were without juniors which hurt us 10 years later. Matt Rennison followed in his fathers footsteps (Bob Rennison) to resurrect the junior program which is still going strong today and has and continues to provide us with good young cricketers.
There were some dominant players in the 90’s. Names like the Erdmanis brothers, Mark Eaves and towards the end of the decade the club employed Grant Thomas as captain coach. The club also recruited strongly around this time and the club was able to make the A1 Grand Final in 1997-98 only to lose buy a solitary wicket in a classic match. The 3
X1 did however win the grand final and the previous year (1996-97) the 4
X1 won a flag for the club.
St David’s were able to introduce a women’s side in 1997-98 and within 2 years they also won a flag. Unfortunately, interest died off not long after but it does rate a mention in the history of the club.
During the late 1990’S and early 2000’s the club did not have any premiership success. Unfortunately several key and experienced players left the club and in 2001-02 the club was relegated back to A2 from A1.
The club was determined to get back to A1 and was able to hire captain coach Cain Harper. With Cain at the helm and some other quality recruits the first eleven made the A2 Grand final in 2002-03 only to lose badly. The team re- grouped and made it again in 2003-04 and won the Grand Final. It broke a 25 year 1
X1 premiership drought. The celebrations back at the clubrooms were very spirited and the memories will last forever for those who were there. The 1
X1 have been able to hold their spot in A1 (now Wilson shield) but has not made a finals appearance to date, something that the club is determined to change.
In the early 2000’s the club was fortunate to have a really hard working committee who set a strong financial base but were also able to negotiate the moving of the practice nets next to the pavilion and later the social room redevelopment which included the viewing glass area.
The period from 2000-2010 were not dominated by any one player but names like Williams, Harper, Newman and later Enticott are prominent on the honour boards.
The junior section of the club was reasonably strong thru this decade but they were also not enjoying a lot of premiership success. It wasn’t until the under 16B team won a flag in 2008/09 that juniors were also able to break a drought of premierships of some 15 years.
During the late 2000’s the club introduced a veteran’s team and later a second veteran’s team. This has been fantastic for the club and bought back many past players and some new players to be involved with the club and the game. The vets have also had a lot of success with the teams playing in finals in all but one season and producing 2 flags in the “E grade” Veterans (2007-08 & 2009-10). The veteran’s teams look as though they will be a part of the club for a long time to come.
2010 - Today
The early part of this decade has so far been a very successful period for the club. Nathan Oates’s third x1 won the C2 flag in 2010-11 in an epic low scoring affair with Kerrimuir. After rolling Kerrimuir for 37, the St David’s boys replied with a paltry 27 only to win the game reverse outright in the last over of the game. This was one of the clubs most memorable games as scoring runs was like getting blood from a stone.
2010-11 also realised another veteran’s premiership in D grade with Mark Mazzetti at the helm. It was great to see so many past senior players rejoice in the premiership glory back at the clubrooms in what was a memorable celebration.
As mentioned earlier, the club’s 1stx1 had not made the Wilson shield finals since being promoted in 2004-05. This all changed in 2011-12 with some strong recruiting lead by Greg Coutts, saw the firsts make the finals only to go down in the semi by some 30 runs. The boys were keen to make a mends the following year.
2012-13 was a stellar year for the club. The under 14c team lead by Dave Carruthers won the grand final and the first x1 delivered the flag after the previous year’s disappointment. Not since 1980-81 has St David’s played in McIntosh shield. The club is looking forward to playing in this grade with the Wilson Shield premiership under its belt, and the subsequent promotion. This team again lead by Coutts played a near perfect finals series to claim convincing wins in both games.
Stay tuned for more moments in history in which we hope can include more premierships.
1965-1989 - Bill Henning
1990-current - Paul Newman
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