History 1930 – 1940
In the late 1920's a young lad by the name of Bradman was just beginning to grace the hallowed turf of the MCG and Australia was gradually working its way out of the great depression.
Cricket was a fast growing, popular past time in Melbourne and the fascination of the game, and its accompanying challenge to emulate the "Greats" of the game, began to spread to the outer suburbs. The sound of leather on willow and the itch to play the game spared no one.
The Bentleigh District, on the outskirts of Melbourne, was not to be denied this "cricket-mania". But surely at this time nobody could have envisaged the effects that this game would have, in the years to follow, on an area only so recently developed.
Some years prior to this a lodge had been formed as a social offshoot of the Bentleigh Branch of the Australian Natives Association Health Benefits Society. From this lodge, men such as Doug Irvine, Harry Morgan, Ted Sherer, Bill McNeil, Doug Wright and Bob Haw took it upon themselves to form a cricket team to play matches socially, at irregular intervals and against various teams. This team was formed primarily for the purpose of some well-needed sporting enjoyment, to take away the stress of the financially difficult times at hand.
The team was known as the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Team.
Teams made up of people from other lodges, social groups or simply relatives and friends, met together at such places as the Bentleigh Recreational Oval, Tucker Road Reserve (now known as McKinnon Reserve) or the Wheatley Road Reserve, to take up battle in the game of cricket. In these days some of the grounds had only half a pitch gravelled, which meant that the bowling was done at one end only and the batsman had to swap ends at the completion of each over. During these social games, the Bentleigh ANA team was led by Mr. Les Brookes and they enjoyed good success. The Bentleigh ANA team applied to join the Frankston- Glenhuntly (now Federal) Cricket Association in 1928, but they were refused entry due to the use of only gravel pitches in the Bentleigh area.
It wasn't until about 1929 that the initial steps were taken to form an organised cricket competition and on the 22nd day of March, 1930 an Administrative Authority was created. Mr Doug Irvine was the foundation President of the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club, but he was to later resign due to a Captaincy selection discrepancy.
The Presidency was taken over by Mr Doug Wright and with the shrewd administration skills of Harry Morgan as his Secretary, the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club was officially entered into the competition to be known as the Bentleigh and District Cricket Association (BDCA) for the opening season, 1930/31. These two men also had a large influence in the actual formation of the BDCA, with Doug Wright being its foundation President and Harry Morgan taking over the role some years later. The Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club was undoubtedly in safe hands.
The initial year of the competition, saw the association comprised of only seven teams, namely Allandale, Bentleigh ALP, Bentleigh ANA, GUOOF, Highett, McKinnon and PAFS. Of these, only the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club has remained in the Bentleigh District (now City of Moorabbin) Cricket Association in every season, since its inception in 1930. However, Bentleigh ANA's strong administrative influence alone was not enough for success and in its first season the Club finished sixth, winning only two games out of the eleven.
Initially, ANA laid a concrete pitch down in a paddock at the corner of McKinnon Road and Tucker Road, in McKinnon and shared this with the GUOOF team for the first three seasons. However, the GUOOF's lack of enthusiasm for assisting in the maintenance of the ground led to this arrangement being far from satisfactory. Harry Robinson, or "Long Robby" as he was more commonly known, led the team throughout the season and no fewer than twenty-one players represented the Club during its first season of competition. A wiry spinner by the name of Cecil Clifford took out both the Club's and Association's bowling trophy with the handy average of 3.70.
Over the winter months Harry Morgan exercised a bold initiative by writing to the doctors and chemists in the area, asking for donations. This move proved to be successful, as these donors were keen to entertain all available avenues to secure as many regular patients as possible during these financially tough times.
With the keen desire for success, the winter months prior to the 1931/32 season saw ANA recruit two players, Ted Luttrell and Bill Ogden, both of whom were to go on and become two of the Association's finest.
The influence of these two classy all-rounders, along with the added support of Harold Parke, also recruited this year, saw ANA become arguably the strongest team in the competition, winning ten of its eleven games and heading the ladder going into the finals series. In the Semi-final, Harold Parke took 4/3 including a hat-trick, to lead ANA to an outright win against the ALP team.
This made way for ANA to confidently enter its first Grand Final against the Bentleigh Footballers. Bill Ogden ended the Grand Final with match figures of 9/40 as the Footballers were dismissed for 66 and 67 respectively, leaving ANA with 111 to make in their second innings to win the match. Harry Morgan fought hard with 22, but ANA ended 30 runs short, giving the Bentleigh Footballers their first Premiership. This game, however, was the first of eleven, in which the Bentleigh Footballers and Bentleigh ANA would face each other as opponents in a final’s match, throughout the next nineteen seasons. A rivalry thus developed, which will probably never again be matched in the CMCA.
The next season, 1932/33, saw the inclusion of Ted Luttrell's brother, Bob Luttrell, another good allrounder who could not only bat and bowl, but keep wickets also. Again ANA was a force to be reckoned with and like the previous season, ANA faced the Bentleigh Footballers in the Final. Alas, once again the Footballer's strong bowling attack proved too good, as Ted Luttrell with 31 and Harry Morgan with 24 not out offered the only real resistance with the bat. The match figures of 6/31 captured by Harold Parke were not enough to prevent the Footballers from cruising to their second successive Premiership. (The photo below is the oldest known photo of the BANACC.)
1932/33 "A" Grade Runners-up
Back row: L. Putt (Exec), W. Bates, C. Clifford, J. H. Robinson, H. J. Morgan, F. Hawes, D. Wright (Pres).
Front row: R. M.Haw, E. Luttrell, R. Luttrell, H. Parke (Capt), W. J. McNeil, R. E. Russell. Moscot: A. Haw.
Absent: E. Sherar, W. Ogden.
The Club moved to the Bentleigh Reserve (Bentleigh Recreation Reserve) prior to the 1933/34 season, and shared this ground with the Bentleigh Footballers Cricket Club (now known as Bentleigh in the VJCA) throughout the year and continued to do so for most of the following twenty years. Without the luxuries of the concrete run-ups of today, the ANA players had to endure wooden railway sleepers embedded in the bowling run-ups and these remained through until the mid 1940's. The exit of Ted Luttrell to the Caulfield Mercantile Cricket Association and Bill Ogden to the Footballers, left ANA fairly much depleted this season and they narrowly missed out on making the finals. However, the season was significant in seeing the debut of 14-year-old Cyril Parke, who would go on to become one of the most successful players the Club would ever see. Even at this early age, he gave opposition teams an insight into his ability by scoring a half century in Round 8, the first of many to come.
This 1934/35 season saw ANA gain the services of Frank "Snowy" Dalton, who had led the Bentleigh Footballers to their three consecutive Premierships. This, along with the sensational form of Bob Luttrell who took 64 wickets, saw ANA in the finals once again. After a close outright Semi-final win over West Bentleigh, in which Luttrell returned match figures of 7/47, ANA faced the Brighton Gardeners in the Grand Final. Again, however, the hapless ANA were easily beaten, although Dalton had bowled magnificently to take 5/17, in a belated second innings performance.
Youngsters Stan Youl, from the Ormond Baptists, and Cyril Parke were now developing into fine batsmen. Youl had amassed almost 500 runs for the year whilst Bob Luttrell had become one of the best all-rounders in the competition, as he captured 74 wickets and stroked over 400 runs for the year also. Due to these performances, and the return of Bill Ogden, the 1935/36 season saw ANA again head the ladder, losing only one game before the finals. The Semi-final saw Stan Youl make 74 and Bob Luttrell return match figures of 9/51 as ANA easily revenged last years defeat by the Brighton Gardeners. This win saw ANA playing off in its fourth Grand Final in five years. Cyril Parke made 40 while Bob Luttrell made a fine 45 and produced a tidy exhibition with the ball, taking 4/33 against the HACBS team, to give ANA a 30 run lead on the first innings. Alas, when Stan Youl was dismissed for a well made 67 in the second innings, ANA had fallen 40 runs short of the required target of 200. Once again ANA would have to be content with being second best.
The 1936/37 season saw Bill Ogden return to the Footballers once again, but this loss was substantially offset by the return of the flamboyant Ted Luttrell. Along with Cyril Parke, these two had carved up many an attack throughout the season, both amassing over 350 runs (Luttrell had also taken 61 wickets), and under the leadership of "Snowy" Dalton, ANA again had only lost the one game prior to the finals. But, as fate would have it, ANA met the Bentleigh Footballers in the Semi-final. Not even the efforts of Ted Luttrell with 47 and those of 17-year-old Cyril Parke, in carrying his bat throughout the innings for 28 n.o., could get ANA close to the Footballers' total of 209.
ANA seemed destined to be the "brides-maid" and some must have been wondering if they would ever win a flag. The departures of Cyril Parke to District Cricket Club, Melbourne, Stan Youl to Ormond and "Snowy"Dalton back to the Footballers at the beginning of the 1937/38 season appeared to indicate that the Club's chances for a flag this year were quite limited indeed. However, the Club's recent success had attracted two new bowlers in Jack Clarkson, from the St.Kevins Cricket Club, and Arthur Hedburg from the VJCA team, Moorabbin, as well as the experienced Highett batsman and wicket-keeper, George Grove. Led for the first time by the unpredictable but potentially brilliant Ted Luttrell the team was again successful, but began to falter towards the end of the season and was only just able to sneak into the four.
After a fine 57 from Stan Ely, and considering the magnificent form of Luttrell, who had cracked a whirlwind 160 to almost single-handedly destroy the PAFS team in the Semi-final, ANA must have been quietly confident as they headed into the Final. However, after four previous Grand Final losses many doubted that they could turn the tide. In the Grand Final, Ted Luttrell polished off a fine season with the ball when he destroyed West Bentleigh's first innings with six wickets. In a season probably never to be repeated he had taken no less than 104 wickets. However, the Semi-final centurion was then dismissed for a "duck" and ANA were soon in trouble. Desperate for a flag the determined Ern Bulte slammed up a personal best score of 34 and, by adding 49 runs with Bob Haw for the last wicket, enabled ANA to gain a lead of 51 on the first innings. West Bentleigh then fought back and when Bob Haw held onto a "blinder" in the slips ANA was left 55 runs to make for victory. The innings started disastrously and, at 3 wickets for 10 runs, another flag seemed to be slipping out of ANA's grasp. However, George Grove and Arthur Hedburg soon stopped the rot and safely saw ANA through to its first ever Premiership.
The year 1938 saw the first Junior Team represent ANA. Harry Morgan was the major instigator in the formation of the Bentleigh District Cricket Association Junior Competition. An ANA team, comprising of lads under 15 years of age, met the West Bentleigh juniors on the 5th of February, 1938. Two of these players, Ken Haw and Roy Gray, were to go on and become fine senior players with the Club. The ANA Junior team was successful in winning their Semi-final against top team West Bentleigh, but they had to be satisfied with a Runners-Up pennant after being defeated by the OST team in the Final.
George Grove was to take over the Captaincy at the start of the 1938/39 season. As a wicketkeeper, George was renowned for knocking the stumps over deliberately with his pads and then appealing, sometimes successfully, for a dismissal of either bowled or stumped, whichever looked more appropriate. Also this season Harold Parke was to play his last game, and at the age of 52, he still remains the oldest player to have played in the First Eleven for the Club.
A "B" Grade was introduced into the competition and ANA now fielded two teams, with several of the older players coming back out of retirement to enjoy a social game. The ANA "B" Grade team played their games at a ground located on the corner of South and Jasper Roads in Moorabbin. Illness robbed ANA of the usual brilliance of Ted Luttrell, and by midway through the season he had sadly played his last game. In such a short but outstanding career the mercurial Luttrell had only played 54 games, but had amassed over 2000 runs at an average of just under 30, while taking 295 wickets at the unbelievable average of 6.89 runs per wicket. Even today Luttrell still rates as one of the all time greats of the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club. This 1938/39 season saw the ANA Juniors win six of their eight games but were defeated by the eventual Premiers, the Presbyterians, in their Semi-final clash.
The recruiting of fast bowler Alan Gray and all-rounder Wally Comber, both from the Warrigals Cricket Club, partly compensated for the loss of Luttrell in season 1939/40. However, this loss saw the decline of ANA as a power team and the next couple of years saw the side being rebuilt. As the Club was now looking towards its juniors for the future, this season was significant in seeing the ANA Under 15 team, led by Ken Haw, take out their first Premiership when they defeated the Bentleigh Juniors in the Grand Final.