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Home Our Club History of ANA 1975 - 1980

History 1975-1980


Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club


A Lesson in History

Part 7.  1975-80





The season of 1975/76 saw the Club return to the King George Reserve, which had now been redeveloped to a form fairly similar in appearance to that seen today. The three overlapping grounds of the past had been replaced by two larger ovals, much to the satisfaction of the many perilously situated boundary fielders who had been endangered over the years. ANA shared the grounds and pavilion with the East Bentleigh Cricket Club and had established a true home base with which it could securely remain for years to come. Fitzroy Crozier was keenly sought after by many clubs, including District club Prahran, and eventually accepted the coaching position at the Heatherton Cricket Club, in the VJCA. His cousin, David Crozier, left to try his luck with Prahran, while speedster, Maurice James, went to VJCA club McKinnon. Neil Bach played little more cricket with the Club as his theological studies now took up more of his time, and the strong bowler and hard hitting batsman, Alan Hollings, quit cricket and headed off to the United States of America to live.  Effectively undermanned, the �A� Grade team struggled throughout the year, with Rod Blumfield�s season aggregate of 445 runs being the only bright light in a year which saw the team win a meagre four games. This lack of success filtered throughout the Club, with only the �Under 14A� Grade team, led by Geoff Fontaine, being successful in making the finals, finishing in third position. The team struggled against Moorabbin in the Semi-final, making only 83 in a fairly ordinary performance. Fontaine then led a spirited fightback which saw the second placed Moorabbin team pole-axed for a meagre 68 runs, with Fontaine spearheading ANA�s 15 run victory by taking 5/27. However, ANA were no match for top team Highett in the Final, being defeated by over 100 runs in a one-sided match.



The 1976/77 season saw promising teenager and Premiership player, Neil Vorbach, leave ANA to try his luck at District club South Melbourne, while another Premiership player, Tony Caddy, decided to take up the supposedly less frustrating game of tennis. This meant that only four of the ANA �A� Grade Premiership team of two seasons ago, still remained at the Club. John Sanders again led an inexperienced side and the introduction of 15-year-old Cedric Jansz, was the only bright spot in an otherwise dull year, which still remains to be the only season that the Bentleigh ANA �A� Grade team did not win a game. The season also marked the end of an era with the retirement of stalwart, Jimmy March. In a career at Bentleigh ANA which had spanned over 25 years, Jimmy had played over 260 games with the Club, which included playing in five First Eleven Premiership sides. This still being a Club record today. Once again it was left to the juniors to represent ANA in the finals. The �Under 16A� Grade team, led by Cedric Jansz, had gone through the entire season undefeated and came up against McKinnon in the Semi-final. Rain delayed play on the first week of the game but this would have had little effect on the result anyhow. Promising youngster David Shipp batted superbly over the two days to end up with 87, as ANA steadily amassed a total of 177. This was well out of the reach of McKinnon and resulted in them conceding the match without ANA having to bowl a single ball to them. The Grand Final saw ANA confronted by Hakoah Ajax, this being the first time for the season that the two undefeated sides played each other. Cedric Jansz, chasing that elusive maiden century, was caught on the boundary after making a magnificent 99 runs, in ANA�s total of 221. He received strong assistance from the determined John Bacon who batted the entire day for a nuggety 30. This was followed up by some hard hitting from Andrew Higgins, who ended unbeaten on 50. Ajax, however, appeared to be cruising at 0 for 54 before part time off-spinner David Shipp was called on to begin the ball rolling by taking two wickets in two balls. Ajax gave the ANA spectators some cause for concern as their score steadily increased but they were finally dismissed for 199, with Gary March rallying to the ANA cause to take 5/54. This Under 16 team thus became the only ANA team to win Premierships in both the �Under 14A� Grade and �Under 16A� Grade, and based on their performances, could arguably be recognised as the best junior combination to represent the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club. A fine reward for Captain Jansz and Team Manager Rod Blumfield.  The �Under 14C� Grade team, led by the 11-year-old Darren Haw, contained many players still having a further two years to play in the �Under 14� age group. They performed remarkably to sneak into fourth position prior to the finals. Coming up against the undefeated Channon Park team in the Semi-final, they performed splendidly to dismiss the flag favourites for only 102 runs. Up and coming leg-spinner Trevlyn Crozier took 5/26, while Darren Haw bowled his off-spinners accurately to finish with 4/32. ANA then had little trouble overhauling the total and finished with 170, with all-rounder Paul March making a match winning 49 not out and Crozier completing a fine game with 36. The match was also significant in seeing Craig Fuller make a courageous comeback, after his life and career had both been threatened by a bicycle accident during the season. This typified his courage and enthusiasm which had resulted in him making a century earlier in the season. ANA then faced the might of Hampton United in the Grand Final. After sending Hampton in, ANA struggled throughout the first innings, seeing their opposition hit up a score of 201, with Captain Darren Haw preferring to bowl quick in the Final and finish with the superb figures of 8/56. Try as hard as they might, the young ANA team proved to be no match for Hampton United and could only manage a score of 97, having to be content with a Runners-up pennant. At least for this season anyway.



Having to face the prospect of playing in �B� Grade for season 1977/78, ANA embarked on a youth policy for its First Eleven. Russell Mactaggart led a team which contained only four players who were over the age of 20. The move resulted in instant success when 16-year-old Andrew Higgins made a century on debut. The drop in grading had obviously enabled the team to perform with greater success, as 16-year-old Cedric Jansz made almost 600 runs for the season while John Sanders had ended up with almost 450 runs. These two obviously had a large bearing on seeing the team win all but two games for the season and finish on top of the ladder.The team was weakened close to the finals, however, when opening batsman Rod Blumfield was cracked a sickening blow to the head while batting. Although the injury resulted in permanent deafness in one ear, the courageous Blumfield returned to the team for the finals, with the aid of a motorcycle helmet to try to build his confidence. But sadly his promising career had been dealt an unkind blow. ANA came up against Virginia Park in the Semi-final but the bowlers struggled, which eventuated in the Park making 9 for 224 declared. Skipper Russell Mactaggart was the only bowler of note, capturing 4/34 with his medium paced off-cutters. ANA then fought back bravely in the Semi as Cedric Jansz scored a brilliant 114, while John Sanders knocked up 43 runs, to see the team through to a total of 6 for 210 at stumps, thus drawing the game and winning a berth in the �B� Grade Final. Other than these two scores, the next highest innings was only 13, leaving doubts in many minds as to the actual chances of an ANA Premiership. ANA then went into the Grand Final against the relatively new club, Southmoor, after making a controversial move at the selection table during the week. The 15-year-old youngster, Geoff Fontaine, was omitted from the Grand Final team after having played in the First Eleven all season, but not having taken a wicket in the previous four matches. Sticking with his ploy of bowling first, Mactaggart invited Southmoor to bat in the Grand Final. Things were looking good for ANA when they had Southmoor struggling at 6 for 96, but then they proceeded to club the ANA bowlers all over Bailey Reserve, eventually declaring at 9 for 285. Only the long-haired Bob Wilson made any impression with the ball, taking 4/57. Needing to bat out the last day of the match for victory, ANA looked to have a strong chance at the Tea interval, with Cedric Jansz on 22 and John Sanders on 41. However, both were dismissed soon after and the team was quickly dismissed for a miserable 114 runs. But in reaching the Grand Final, ANA had been successful in winning its way back into the �A� Grade for the following season. The Third Eleven, in �E� Grade, was also successful in making the finals this season under the leadership of Ian Smyth. In a season which saw this team comprised of a mixture of promising juniors and experienced campaigners their form throughout the season had been up and down, to the say the least. ANA played the third placed Mackie team in the Semi-final and the Green and Gold performed sensationally. Medium paced left-arm bowler Kevin Thomas mesmerised the Mackie batsman by taking 5/28 off 16 overs, while Harry Vantwest took 5/25 with his variety of off- and top-spinners. The hapless Mackie team could only manage 122 runs. ANA then ensured itself of a place in the Grand Final by crushing the Mackie attack. In a fine team performance, tall opening batsman Tom Raftery led the charge with an elegantly stroked 55 and received fine support from the experienced Vantwest with 39, Kevin Owens with 33 not out and the youthful hard-hitting Simon Link, who compiled a quick 30 not out, as ANA stormed to 5 for 207 at stumps. Filled with confidence, the ANA �E� Grade team then confronted Virginia Park in the Final, with rather disastrous results. The Park batted first and smashed up a massive 349, with only skipper Ian Smyth�s haul of 3/106 and Harry Vantwest�s 3/79, offering any resistance to the run onslaught. Try as they might, ANA surrendered rather meekly in their forlorn attempt to overtake the enormous target, making only 136, with Simon Link being the major contributor, with a typically hard hit 43. The only glowing performance in the junior grades was in the �Under 16�s�, where Captain Geoff Fontaine had performed remarkably. He had won the CMCA trophy for the aggregate runs with a total of 436, including two centuries, while taking 33 wickets to also win the bowling averages. Amazingly, this did not see him rewarded with the CMCA Outstanding Junior trophy. In future years Fontaine continued to fulfil his enormous potential and, after leaving the Club, went on to eventually play for South Melbourne, in the District Competition, and ultimately gained selection to represent Victoria.



After successfully leading the Club back into the CMCA �A� Grade, Alan Blumfield stood down as President prior to the 1978/79 season, making way for his deputy and long time player, Don Haw. Alan�s eight year reign had seen the Club rise, fall, and rise again, as his business-like approach to the job yearned for success. Also, he had emphasised the importance of ANA�s commitment to Junior cricket, and it was only now that some of this work was beginning to bare fruit. The new President wasted no time in moving the Committee into action. With the realisation that the �A� Grade team showed promise, but still lacked experience, a major recruiting campaign was undertaken. Fiery opening bowler, Brian McCallum, from Sandringham in the VJCA, was appointed as Coach for the season but Russell Mactaggart would remain as Captain. McCallum was arguably the quickest bowler the Club had seen for many years but whether he could come to terms with the mahl bowling run-ups, as opposed to his more familiar turf  surroundings, was yet to be seen. However, this pick up and the recruiting of promising Brighton Union bowler, Mick Egan, appeared to have solved the bowler shortage that the Club had faced in recent years. The Club was also successful in recruiting the best wicketkeeper in the Association in Colin Lilley, from Bentleigh Uniting. Lilley, a former �A� Grade Premiership player, had gained his reputation over the years by keeping up at the stumps to one of the CMCA�s greatest fast bowlers, his brother John. On paper this team appeared capable of anything, but at the Christmas break ANA had won only one game from its six played, and was in a state of disarray. The ANA Committee took a dim view of the events leading up to this and took the dramatic action of replacing Russell Mactaggart with Brian McCallum as Captain for the last five games. Things didn�t get any better, however, and the team failed to win another game for the season. The only highlight being the season�s aggregate of 350 runs made by the 17-year-old Cedric Jansz. This disastrous year resulted in an immediate return to the �B� Grade for the next season. Overall, the only bright spot for the Club this season was the performances of the �Under 14A� Grade team led by Darren Haw and team managed by Geoff Fontaine. They had performed excellently throughout the season, losing only one game prior to the finals and finishing on top of the ladder. They came up against rivals West Bentleigh in the Semi-final and West elected to bat after winning the toss. ANA then went about destroying the West Bentleigh line-up with Graham Wilson proving to be too quick and too accurate by taking 5/8 off 9 overs, as West Bentleigh were dismissed for a miserable 53 runs. If this wasn�t enough, however, ANA then went berserk with the bat, largely due to the efforts of Andrew McKittrick. McKittrick came in at number seven and, in only 51 minutes, blasted a whirlwind 83, which included 13 fours, as he and wicketkeeper Darren Louttit added 112 runs for the sixth wicket. Louttit finished with an unbeaten 43 as ANA amassed an impressive 222 runs for the innings.  The win resulted in a Grand Final confrontation with the newly introduced St.Kilda City team. This being the first of three successive years that these two teams would meet in a finals game. Alas, this game proved to be no contest, as ANA crashed to be all out for only 66. St.Kilda then batted and amassed an enormous total of 254 runs, with off-spinner Stewart Kreltszheim taking 3/20.



The 1979/80 season was a milestone for the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club, as it saw the Club compete in its 50th consecutive season with the CMCA, or the BDCA as it was formerly known. The Club celebrated this with a reunion, at which no less than 21 of the 26 existing life members attended. A glowing tribute to those who had fought so hard to make the Club a continuing success. Many social functions resulted throughout the year, and as was the usual practice, ANA held its annual Melbourne Cup Eve �games� night - this one being at the home of John Thomas. Wicketkeeper Colin Lilley planned out his evening carefully to accommodate a formal function at the Bentleigh Club, as well as the ANA event. The hour was late when he arrived at the Thomas�, splendidly attired in trousers and matching dinner jacket. By this stage, most of his team-mates were fairly well �primed�, to say the least, and were most obliging when asked by Lilley for directions to the �make-shift� toilet. As was usually the case, the �loo� had been dug behind a rather well concealed shed in the back yard and the earlier guidance, provided by the hurricane lamp, was now well and truly gone. This made the journey to the end of the path a rather perilous one indeed. Somehow, during the giving of directions to Col, confusion arose as to the actual positioning of the now reasonably full �pit� (an earlier downpour made sure of that), and it wasn�t long before poor old Col came to grief, discovering that his sought after destination had not been dug as far along the path as he had been rather dubiously informed resulting in a rather sticky situation indeed. Sadly though, the Club�s First Eleven would have to compete in �B� Grade for only the third time in its 50 year history. This move also contributed towards seeing former junior champion, David Crozier, heading to West Bentleigh rather than returning to ANA from District and VJCA cricket. Brian McCallum left the Club and returned to Sandringham/Black Rock, but the year was significant in seeing the return of champion spin bowler, Fitzroy Crozier. He led the team as Captain/Coach in a season which also saw the return of former �A� grade Premiership players, Neil Vorbach, Maurice James and Tony Caddy. The ANA First Eleven showed patches of brilliance. Cedric Jansz amassed almost 450 runs for the season while Crozier took 56 wickets, but the team also showed a lot of inconsistency, as it finished third prior to the finals. Fitzroy Crozier took the unusual step of opening the bowling with his left-arm orthodox spinners in the Semi-final against Mackie. The Mackie line-up appeared to have no answer to the attack of Crozier and Maurice James, and at 4 for 27, it was only dropped catches that were allowing Mackie to have any say in the outcome of the match. Alas, how important those catches proved to be, as Mackie clawed its way out of the mire and ended up with a total of 157 in the first innings. It was Bob Wilson, with his medium paced variety of both swing and cut, who took the bowling honours with 4/41, just ahead of James with 3/49. Crozier had 2/38 off 21 overs when he attempted to take a return catch, succeeding only in splitting the webbing on his hand, requiring ten stitches and a plaster cast. Even without Crozier at the helm the ANA batting line-up were expecting to comfortably polish off the 158 needed for victory. But in keeping with the old adage of how important runs on the board are, particularly in a final, Mackie fought back strongly. ANA made a real mess of the task, with Cedric Jansz making 35 and 15-year-old Phil Daly getting 25, as they plummeted to be all out for a miserable 94 runs, resulting in the Firsts spending another year in the doldrums of �B� Grade in the CMCA. The Fourth Eleven in �H� Grade, bore a strong resemblance to Mal Hotton�s �Social Eleven� of the late fifties. Steve McCallum was the Captain and he received fine support from the now more mellow, but still strongly competitive Bob Arnfield, who had come out of retirement last season - much to the annoyance of many an opposition team. Arnfield now had a more distinguished crop of �Snowy� hair than in his halcyon days of the late fifties, and carried a couple of extra pounds around the midriff, but still showed plenty of that hard hitting ability and shrewd wizardry with the ball which had made him a legend around the Bentleigh area at his peak. The �H� Grade team had dominated the competition throughout the season and easily accounted for Highett in the Semi-final. This brought them up against the strong Government Aircraft Factory team in the Final. GAF batted first and took control of the game scoring 243. ANA continued to struggle and could only manage a total of 155 in reply with promising 14-year-old Trevlyn Crozier making an impressive 46. The Junior teams also showed plenty of potential this season, with two of the three teams finishing in the finals. The �Under 16A� Grade team was led by Brett Arnfield, who was the eldest son of Bob. This team contained only three players who did not have another year in the �Under 16� grade. As young as the team was it performed remarkably throughout the season, losing only one game prior to the finals and finishing on top of the ladder. Lady luck then smiled kindly on ANA in the Semi-final. The fourth placed South Caulfield team were sitting pretty on 3 for 161 overnight when the second day�s play was washed out, allowing ANA a free passage through to the Grand Final. ANA were then confronted by the strong St.Kilda City team in the Final and struggled from the outset. Speedster Darren Haw was the best of the bowlers snaring 4/67 while off-spinner Stewart Kreltszheim captured 3/54, as City amassed a potentially match winning total of 254, which coincidentally was exactly the same amount as they had made in the previous year�s final. After getting off to a reasonable start, with Trevlyn Crozier offering staunch resistance for a fine 35, ANA began to falter and when skipper Arnfield, who had amassed over 350 runs for the season, was dismissed for a first ball �duck�, it was obvious that the intent was now on saving the match, rather than winning it. ANA struggled bravely to see out the one and three quarter days to save the match, although it was left to the two all-rounders, Darren Haw and Graham Wilson, who had both been very much out of form with the bat, to see the team through. At 8 for 116, and with 17 overs remaining, Wilson joined Haw and the pair  defiantly batted out the remaining nail biting overs to win the flag. Wilson remained unbeaten on 20 while Haw had batted stubbornly for two and a half hours, as ANA had amazingly batted for 99 overs for its 8 for 139, to avoid the defeat in dramatic fashion. The Premiership was a fine tribute to Captain Arnfield and Manager Russell Mactaggart, both having worked so hard throughout the season. The �Under 12B� grade team was led by Mark Crawford throughout the season and performed excellently to finish second prior to the finals. They were also washed out against Washington in their Semi-final and confronted Hampton United in the Grand Final, but were soundly beaten and had to be content with the Runners-Up pennant for the season.


Last Updated (Monday, 25 September 2017 13:50)