History 1950 – 1960
Even after Herb Simmons' successful year as Captain, Cyril Parke's popularity was demonstrated by his being elected Captain for the 1950/51 season. This decision marked the beginning of a ten year stretch of the 'A' Grade team which arguably saw ANA's best Captain holding the reins. The team was very stable, with only thirteen players being used all year, and was made up basically of the same players as the previous premiership winning year. The Bentleigh Footballers were once again very strong and they inflicted two of ANA's three defeats for the season. However, the ANA team had developed into a fine and experienced combination. Cyril Parke and Col Turner had both hit up 400 runs for the year whilst Harry Edwards and Jack Lees had scored 300 each. Turner also had a magnificent year with the ball taking 69 wickets and received excellent support from Bill Ogden with 37. ANA met West Bentleigh in the Semi-final and, led by the 18-year-old wicket-keeper Ralph Sturt with 66, Col Turner with 60 not out and Cyril Parke carrying his bat through the entire second innings for 40 not out, ANA had a comfortable win. The Bentleigh Methodists had disposed of the Bentleigh Footballers (know known as Bentleigh) in their Semi-final and now came up against the strong ANA team. ANA batted first and amassed a respectable 225 runs, with Harry Edwards making 45, Col Turner 37 and Cyril Parke 36. Also worthy of a mention was the last wicket partnership of 46 added by Edwards and 16-yearold Bruce Smith. The Methodists struggled against the pace of Turner and his haul of 7/60 saw them facing a 49 run deficit as they headed into the second innings. However, ANA's second innings saw Cyril Parke with 35 and Col Turner 26, offer the only resistance as the Green and Gold were bundled out for a meagre 136, leaving the Meths a definitely obtainable 185 runs for victory. But enter again the youngster Bruce Smith. Knowing the importance of Smith's spinners on the last day, Skipper Cyril Parke had both Smith and wicket-keeper Ralph Sturt practising down at the ground for an hour before the game. The youngster then mesmerised the Methodist's batsmen with his left-arm 'Chinaman' deliveries. Even today, Ralph Sturt admits that he couldn't pick Smith's 'wrongun' and, as a signal, used to get Smith to rub his hand through his hair before he bowled it. Smith took 6/39 and spun ANA to it's fourth 'A' Grade Flag, making it back-to-back Premierships for the first time in its 20 year history. Amazingly, the win also signified a Premiership in Cyril Parke's first year of Captaincy, meaning that each of ANA's four 'A' Grade Premiership teams to date, had been led by Captains in their first year of leading the team. The overall strength of the Club this season was demonstrated by the fact that the 'B' Grade team also made the finals. ANA played Bentleigh in the Semi-final and, after winning the toss, Skipper Jack Philipson decided to bat but Graham Keil's score of 64 provided the only real backbone as ANA struggled to a total of 171. Bentleigh then cruised to what appeared to be a match winning lead when it reached a strong total of 209 in the first dig. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the ANA bats then
set into the Bentleigh bowlers in what amounted to be nothing short of a run frenzy. Again Graham Keil led the onslaught with 67, but this time he received fine support from Philipson with 55, Les Bailes 47 and wicketkeeper John Smith 42, as ANA hammered its way to a whirlwind 5 for 245 before declaring. With only two hours remaining in the match the odds were still stacked against an ANA victory, but nobody had anticipated the efforts of Jack Philipson, who collected 6/27 to effectively steamroll Bentleigh for a paltry 61 runs, and bowl ANA to an amazing victory. The 'B' Grade team then came up against the strong McKinnon First Eleven team in the Grand Final. Once again, ANA batted first and Les Bailes with 69 and Les Roffey with 56 saw the team through to a fine first innings score of 216. Skipper Jack Philipson then bowled a marathon stint to take 7/104 while Len Grewar plodded tirelessly to take 3/87 but these two were the only bowlers able to make any in-roads into the McKinnon batting line-up, as they soared towards a massive 352. Having been 'behind the eight ball' throughout the entire final's series, the ANA Seconds still refused to go down without a fight and John Smith led the fight back with 53 runs, as the Green and Gold hit up a total of 199, leaving McKinnon 64 runs for victory. Philipson bowled gallantly once again, in an attempt to steal the game, but his 4/37 assisted only in dismissing five of the McKinnon batsmen, before they made the runs required to win the flag. Co-tenants and old rivals, the Bentleigh Footballers, or Bentleigh as they had recently become, approached the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club to amalgamate with them in 1951. The pitch at the Bentleigh Recreational Reserve was to become a turf wicket and Bentleigh had decided to move into the VJCA competition. ANA declined the offer and decided to remain on the mats in the CMCA. This decision subsequently forced ANA to move their home games to the McKinnon Reserve in Tucker Road.
Promising youngster and dual Premiership player Ralph Sturt was badly injured in a car smash prior to the 1951/52 season and it looked doubtful that he would play again for some time. Sturt's close mate, Bruce Smith, had collected 25 wickets by Round 5, before he headed off to Prahran, in the District Competition. ANA could not find enough players to fill the ANA Junior team this year and sadly the team disbanded. Due to this, Secretary Jack Philipson cunningly arranged for a young fellow by the name of Rex Sheppard to play on a one year permit with West Bentleigh. Sheppard was only 14 at the time, and as ANA had neither a Junior with West for one season only, returning to ANA the year after. The gamble paid off and the rest is now history. Local cricketer Len Smith took over the gloves this year and showed fine touch and brilliant reflexes behind the stumps, while veteran Doug Stewart returned to the Club, to strengthen both the batting and the bowling. Persistent 'B' Grade batsman Les Roffey was introduced into the 'A' Grade mid-season and dominated from that point on. Brighton Salvation Army player Cyril Taylor joined ANA also, after an illustrious career in the lower grades, which had seen him make many centuries. However, the strength of the ANA 'A' Grade team would see him play the entire season in the 'B' Grade. Cyril Parke, Bill Johnson, Col Turner and Bill Ogden all had fine seasons with the bat, each scoring over 300 runs for the year while, once again, Col Turner was in sensational form with the
ball, taking 59 wickets, as ANA remained undefeated until the last game of the season. Harry Edwards also created history by becoming the first player to play 100 games at the First Eleven level with the Club. The Semi-final clash saw ANA make a colossal 314 runs against the third placed Ormond Methodists. Bill Johnson led the charge with 82 and was well supported by Col Turner with 53, Harry Edwards 38, Bill Ogden 32, Jack Lees 32 and Alan Bonnett with 30. Turner then took 6/15 and the veteran Ogden took 3/19 as ANA steam-rolled the Ormond Methodist's first innings for only 46 runs. Doug Stewart's 4/42 in the second innings, then ensured an ANA outright victory, and a place in a third successive Grand Final. The 'B' Grade team finished fourth at the end of the home and away games and came up against the Ormond Methodists in the Semi-final. ANA batted first but were bundled out for a disappointing total of 134 with Jack Philipson making the only significant contribution with 33. St.Kilda Footballer Stan LeLievre then took 4/43 and Ken Benton captured 3/48 as ANA somehow managed to bundle out the Methodists for 128 and grab a small first innings lead. Needing only a respectable score for victory the ANA bats failed miserably, being all out for 97 in the second innings. Paceman Stan LeLievre then tried valiantly to salvage a win out of the game but Ormond managed to scrape home with four wickets to spare, as LeLievre took 4/45. For the Grand Final ANA had brought LeLievre into the 'A' Grade team to replace the unavailable Doug Stewart. The game was played against the Bentleigh Methodists and was a match in which the bowlers dominated. Bentleigh Methodists batted first but were pole-axed by the ANA pace attack, with Col Turner taking 6/36 and Bill Ogden 4/25, as they crumbled for a meagre 93. ANA then fared little better with the bat as Harry Edwards' 47 and Bill Ogden's 29 enabled the score to stumble to only 135. Once again the Methodists struggled to perform any better in their second innings as Turner with 6/46 and Stan LeLievre with 3/48 bundled them out for 121, leaving ANA with a target of only 80 runs to win a third successive Premiership. The strong ANA batting line-up had averaged over 230 all season and the small figure between them and the flag appeared to be a formality. However, 15-year-old Methodist's spinner Bob Tidball cared little for the fearsome ANA reputation and with his leg-spinners set about destroying the ANA second innings for a paltry 61 runs. The ANA supporters and players watched stunned as the Bentleigh Methodists 'stole' the flag, after only sneaking into the final four on percentage. But, as so often happens, such a disastrous loss signalled the beginning of the end of ANA's recent domination of the CMCA's 'A' Grade competition.
Season 1952/53 will be remembered as a year of great change around the Club. In 1952 a new reserve was opened in Boundary Road, East Bentleigh. This reserve was to be known as the King George VI Reserve and was to become the new home of the Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club. The Club was growing quickly and to accommodate the number of people who were wanting to play cricket with ANA a 'C' Grade team was entered into the competition. However, the Club saw less than half of its previous year's Runners-Up 'A' Grade team return. Lees, Johnson, Roffey, Bonnett and Len Smith all had at least temporarily decided to either move on or retire, and evergreen Bill Ogden had dropped down to play in the 'B' Grade. Ex-Premiership Captain and teetotaller, Herb Simmons, believed that the social drinking environment of ANA was not appropriate for his teenage son to play cricket in so both of the Simmons' transferred to the Ormond Methodists Cricket Club. Bruce Smith and Ralph Sturt had returned to stabilise the side slightly but the 'A' Grade team narrowly missed the finals, this being the first time that this had
happened in the past 10 years. The last game of the year saw the end of Col Turner's association with the Club, having decided to retire and move into the more sedate challenge of Lawn Bowls. Appropriately, to end such an illustrious career, in which he played 78 games and took 369 wickets at 9.82 runs a piece, he went out by taking four wickets and then followed this up by knocking up his maiden century with the Club. A fitting finish indeed to the career of one of ANA's greatest cricketers. Clive Roberts led the 'B' Grade team into the finals in his first year as Captain. Finishing fourth, ANA came up against second placed Ormond Methodists in the Semi-final but appeared to be lacking strength in the batting department. Jim Podmore put together a well compiled 47 as ANA struggled to a total of 150 in the first innings. Ormond Meths then set after the rather modest total but within no time at all were in all sorts of trouble and were eventually bundled out for a meagre 91. Jack Philipson was the chief destroyer with 4 wickets but he received fine support from veterans Bill Ogden and Len Grewar who captured 3 wickets each. However, the performances of the ANA batsmen caused much anticipation and anguish in the Green and Gold camp as they collapsed to be all out for only 79 in the second innings. Time then saved the team from a tragic loss as Ormond were still 60 runs in arrears when stumps were drawn. ANA then played top team Bentleigh Central in the Grand Final and went into the game with the same team as that which was successful in the Semi. Once again Bill Ogden bowled well to finish with 4/64 but the Bentleigh Central batsmen were in fine touch and ended up with a strong score of 239. Jim Podmore got the ANA innings off to a solid start with 33 and Laurie Ryan batted superbly to finish up unbeaten on 68, but ANA could only muster 173 in reply. Any chance that ANA may have had of an outright victory soon went out the window as Bentleigh Central plundered the ANA bowlers and amassed a monstrous total of 368 with Jack Philipson's 3/108 and Percy Porter's 3/62 being the best performances from the bowlers. Facing over 400 for victory, the ANA Seconds fell somewhat short of their mark as they capitulated to be all out for a paltry 63 and had to be satisfied with a Runners-up pennant.
Premiership all-rounder Bill Johnson and Bentleigh Cricket Club veteran, and former ANA bowler, Des Denehy both returned to add strength to the Club for season 1953/54. Also, Ted King took over from Col Turner as the team's new strike bowler. Ted was conspicuous due to the fact that he never removed his cap, preferring simply to turn it around before bowling his medium paced off-cutters. In his first season with the Club he took 52 wickets, winning the CMCA's 'A' Grade bowling average. Stan LeLievre took 33 wickets also, providing strong assistance for King
while the masterful batting of Skipper Cyril Parke, scoring almost 450 runs, enabled ANA to sneak into fourth spot. Jack Philipson and Bill Ogden both led their respective 'B' and 'C' Grade teams into the finals, this being the first time that all three of the ANA teams played in a final's series together. Stan LeLievre took 5/60 to assist the 'A' Grade team to dismiss West Bentleigh for only 163 in the first innings of the Semi-final, but only Cyril Parke with 29 offered any resistance with the bat as ANA was bundled out for only 111. Des Denehy then bowled ANA back into the game by taking 6/37 as West were bundled out for a meagre 81, leaving ANA 134 runs for victory. This time Bill Johnson played a lone hand of 28 as ANA managed to fall deeper into the mire, being once again routed, this time for a paltry 66. Jack Philipson's 'B' Grade team performed excellently throughout the year and finished in second place prior to the finals. They came up against fourth placed McKinnon in the Semi-final and took control of the game from the outset. Philipson with 4/45 and Len Grewar with 3/22 showed no mercy on the McKinnon batsmen as they blasted them out for 130. Opening batsman Les Bailes then hit up an impressive 67 as ANA steadily amassed a total of 184 to take a strong first innings lead. Philipson again was in fine control with the ball in the second innings as he captured 5/54 to dismiss McKinnon for 129. Requiring only 76 runs for victory Les Bailes went after the bowlers as if he was trying to get them all himself, and capped off a magnificent individual final's performance by making 54 not out, as ANA reached their target without losing a wicket. ANA then went into the Grand Final as warm favourites against third placed St. Agnes. Again bowling first in the game, ANA performed well to keep St. Agnes to a modest total of 155. Percy Porter was the best of the bowlers as he snared 4/31 while Jack Philipson took 3/60 from the other end to provide excellent assistance. Bob Watson then followed up the fine work of the bowlers with some terrific stroke play as he made 72 and, after Philipson had made 45 and Porter had chipped in for an unbeaten 41, ANA had reached an excellent total of 226 to take a 71 run lead on the first innings. The St. Agnes batsmen batted aggressively in the second innings as they attempted to make the most of any faint hopes they may have had. Bob Mackie was the best of the bowlers with 3/35 as St. Agnes climbed to an impressive 230 in their second dig. Requiring a respectable 160 runs for victory the ANA bats made a meal of the task and plummeted to be all out for a miserable 88, throwing away what appeared to be a certain flag. The luckless Philipson batted determinedly for 31 but once again he had to be satisfied with a Runners-up pennant. Bill Ogden's team of youngsters in the 'C' Grade had dominated the competition throughout the year and finished on top of the ladder prior to the finals. They played McKinnon in their Semi-final game and after winning the toss Ogden decided to bat first. However, the final's pressure appeared too much for the young ANA batsmen and they collapsed to be all out for a meagre 120 with Ron Harris making the only significant contribution with 41. However, led by 15-year-old Jimmy March, the ANA bowlers fought back admirably to dismiss McKinnon for 86 and take a respectable lead. March bowled his leg spinners superbly to capture 6/43 and stamp himself as a player to watch in the future. ANA then put the match seemingly beyond reach of McKinnon as they hit up 183 in the second innings. George Parker was unlucky not to make his first century being dismissed for 84 while Skipper Ogden led by example with a hard hit 51 as ANA set McKinnon over 200 for victory. Ogden then captured 3/25 to assist ANA in making the final as McKinnon collapsed to be all out for 106 in the second innings. Second placed Ormond Methodists also had a comfortable Semi-final win to set up a showdown with ANA in the 'C' Grade Grand Final. ANA bowled first but the bowlers were belted around the park by Laurie LeGrew as he made an unbeaten 172 and lead the Methodists to a monstrous total of 315. Billy Ogden toiled hard for 5/39 and Jimmy March captured 4/97 but not even the excellent fielding of the young ANA team could prevent the Ormond onslaught. Slightly bewildered by the whole affair, the ANA batsmen were bundled out for a far from impressive total of 106 in a disastrous start to the final. Billy Ogden then took 4 wickets in the second innings as ANA kept Ormond to a modest total of 166 and leave a slight possibility of a fighting victory. Peter Walsh with 67 and tailender Len Bilson with 30 fought hard in the second innings but ANA's score of 160 was only half of that required for victory and the youngsters would have to be satisfied with a Runners-up pennant for the year.
Prior to the 1954/55 season, two of the regular 'A' Grade Premiership players hung up their boots. Harry Edwards retired, while former Captain, Ken Haw, took up golf. The Club's numbers had risen in such proportions that ANA was forced to enter two teams into the 'C' Grade, thus having four teams in all. The 'A' Grade team definitely lacked experience, but the raw talent of Ray Hodson, Laurie Ryan, Eddie Lambert and St.Kilda and Victorian footballer Ken Walker, combined with the fine performances of LeLievre, King, Stewart and Parke, enabled ANA to sneak into fourth position and enter another finals campaign. The masterful Cyril Parke had knocked up no less than three centuries throughout the year, highlighted by a magnificent 161 against the Ormond Presbyterians, and accumulated a monstrous total of 553 runs for the season. ANA came up against top team, the Ormond Methodists, in the Semi-final. Ormond proved to be too strong throughout the match, with little joy gained by the ANA team. Stan LeLievre made 31 in the first innings, which was then followed up by Ted King taking 6/55. The second innings saw Eddie Lambert make a customary hard-hit 35 and he was well supported by the 15-year-old Barry Sheppard, who stroked an elegant 56, in only his fourth 'A' Grade game. However, the only real highlight in ANA's loss was the outstanding effort of opening batsman, Ray Hodson. In an unprecedented performance, he carried his bat, unbeaten throughout the entirety of both of ANA's innings to end up with scores of 41 not out and 48 not out. Both the ANA 'Green' team and the ANA 'Gold' team were successful in making the finals in 'C' Grade but were defeated by the Ormond Methodists and the Ormond Presbyterians respectively. Billy Ogden's 'Green' team were beaten by eight wickets while Billy Woodward's 'Gold' team got to within 40 runs of victory as any hopes of an ANA versus ANA final were crushed.
ANA was to gain the services of West Bentleigh all-rounder Bob Arnfield in season 1955/56, but another all-rounder, Ken Walker, left the Club and had a major hand in the formation of the Mackie Cricket Club. Cyril Parke amassed over 350 runs for the year while Doug Stewart also had a fine year with the bat, making just under 300. Stan LeLievre with 39 wickets, Bruce Smith with 30 and Arnfield himself with 43 wickets, all had excellent years with the ball. However, ANA's inconsistency throughout the season saw them narrowly miss out on the finals. Billy Ogden's 'C' Grade team was exceptionally strong throughout the year and, after the disappointing finals' losses of the previous two seasons, were out to seek revenge. The ANA 'Green' team came up against fourth placed Bentleigh Methodists in their Semi-final confrontation and had no hesitation in sending the Methodists in to bat, a decision which proved favourable. Billy Ogden bowled with remarkable control to snare 5/16 while spin bowler Jack Finlay chipped in for an amazing 3/0, as the Methodists collapsed to be all out for only 56 runs. Alan Davey led the ANA batsmen to remain unconquered on 51, as ANA steadily batted its way to a total of 195. Davey then combined with Jack Finlay to finish off the Methodist team and dismiss them for a marginally better score of 116 in the second innings. Davey captured 3/45 with his medium paced variety while Finlay was grossly more expensive than in his first innings haul, allowing 29 runs to be taken off his bowling as he captured 4 wickets. This Semi-final win brought the strong ANA 'C' Grade team up against the Ormond Presbyterians in the Grand Final. A gritty innings from skipper Bill Ogden was the only thing which saved face for the ANA team in the first innings, as they were bundled out for a miserable total of only 96. Ogden batted defiantly to save the Premiership and if not for his 43 runs, the meagre ANA total would have been nothing short of disastrous. Encouraged by this effort, the young ANA team took the field full of enthusiasm and were led by 17-year-old speedster Len Bilson, who bowled with venom to capture 6/30 and steamroll the Presbyterians for only 65 in their first innings. Having bowled themselves into a winning position, the ANA team looked on in disbelief as one by one the batsmen again negated their fine work in the field, collapsing to be all out for only 94. Needing only 125 runs for victory, the Presbyterians were confident, but once again the old adage of having runs on the board in a final proved so important. With nothing to lose, Captain Billy Ogden called on all of his twenty years of cricketing experience to lead the team superbly, by taking a match winning 5/24. He received great support from Jack Finlay who topped off a magnificent final's series with an incredible spell of 4/4 as ANA bundled out the hapless Ormond team for just 60 runs, and in doing so, took out the 'C' Grade flag.
Cyril Parke again led the First Eleven in season 1956/57 and amassed over 350 runs for the year, while 17-year-old Barry Sheppard also had a fine year ending up with 300. Given keen assistance, with the bat, from Gordon Burns and the hard hitting Eddie Lambert, combined with excellent seasons with the ball from Stan LeLievre with 40 wickets, 19-year-old Rex Sheppard with 31 wickets and Bob Arnfield also, ANA managed to sneak into the finals once again. Without Arnfield, however, ANA's bowling could not get on top of the East Bentleigh batting line up in the Semi-final and Stan LeLievre's 5/120 was the only resistance to East's score of 352 in the first innings. Teenagers Barry Sheppard and Jim March both scored half centuries to enable ANA to make a respectable 229 in reply, but the game served as little more than to give the young ANA team valuable experience, as East Bentleigh cruised to a comfortable win. Jack Philipson's 'B' Grade team finished second at the end of the home and away games and went on to defeat Ormond East in the Semi-final. Third placed West Bentleigh won their Semi-final also to set up a Grand Final confrontation between old rivals. Geoff Nankervis bowled his medium pacers valiantly in the first innings of the Final to take 5/57, as ANA restricted West to a respectable total of 180. The ANA batsmen collapsed disastrously however and ended up with only 89 and facing almost 100 runs deficit coming into the second innings. Once again the ANA bowling and fielding was excellent as Wests were bundled out for only 135 in their second dig, leaving ANA with 227 runs for victory. This total was one which ANA had achieved at various stages throughout the season but this time it was beyond them and without Nankervis making a gritty 32, ANA's plight would have been laughable, but the team was still only able to make 119 runs and conceded defeat. After finishing third, Bill Ogden also led his 'C' Grade team into the finals but they were beaten by East Bentleigh in their Semi-final match.
The following season of 1957/58 saw the introduction of a 'D' Grade into the competition and ANA now fielded a team in each of the four grades in the CMCA. This season also saw ANA recruit the 17-year-old South Melbourne Footballer and District Cricketer, Max Papley. They also introduced St. Paul's junior player Mostyn Hanlon into the 'A' Grade team and after spending the majority of the previous year in the 'B' Grade, Geoff Nankervis was appointed Vice Captain of the 'A' Grade side, to assist Cyril Parke. The young ANA team showed inconsistent brilliance throughout the season and no less than eight batsmen scored over 200 runs for the year. Parke, Papley, Arnfield, Hanlon, Nankervis, Burns, Barry Sheppard and Don Haw all punished opposition attacks, to leave ANA in third position prior to the finals. Papley and Rex Sheppard both took over 50 wickets also, to show the all-round strength of the young team. ANA met the pennant holders, Bentleigh Meths, in the Semi-final. Regular wicket-keeper Len Smith, who usually kept up at 17 the stumps to Rex Sheppard, broke his finger prior to the finals. To the objections of Smith, Cyril Parke was adamant that he was unfit and ANA went into the game with batsman Ray Veale taking the gloves. Veale, who until this stage had been unable to break into the strong ANA team, took his chance admirably and clubbed a century in this match to support Bob Arnfield's 74, as ANA hit up a fine score of 277. The Methodists almost managed to pull off a sensational victory, failing by only 13 runs to overhaul the large ANA score. The mercurial Arnfield opened up the attack with his pace bowling and then returned with his 'Leg-Spinners' to take 6/107 and lead ANA into its first Grand Final in six years. ANA went into the game as underdogs against the strong Ormond Methodist team. Geoff Nankervis had made a century in Round 4, but his fine early season form had recently eluded him and he was dropped for the Grand Final, making way for the 19-year-old, Jimmy March. The ANA team now had six teenagers in it and two of these, Barry Sheppard and Max Papley performed excellently, scoring 63 and 55 respectively, in the first innings of the match. Bob Arnfield belted 40, and 19-year-old left hander Don Haw then made a hard hit 37 not out, to see ANA amass a magnificent score of 283. The Ormond Methodists fought hard to stay in the match, but Papley with 5/53 and Rex Sheppard with 3/68 bowled well to enable ANA to take a first innings lead of 59 runs. But, as had happened so often this year, the inexperienced ANA team collapsed to be all out for a miserable 103 runs in the second innings, with Papley's 32 runs being the only score of any significance. Needing only 163 runs to rob ANA of yet another Premiership, it seemed that the strong Ormond Methodists would win their third 'A' Grade Premiership in the past four seasons. However, the youthful duo of Max Papley and Rex Sheppard once again bowled with venom in the second innings, to dismiss the Methodists for a meagre 101 runs. With a slinging arm action which was sometimes questionable, the 17-year-old Papley bowled with venom to take 5/38, while 20-year-old Sheppard captured 5/51, to bowl ANA to a remarkable victory. Cyril Parke had moulded the youth of the Club together to form a fine unit of enthusiastic and dedicated cricketers, which had the potential to be the best ANA team yet. Whether this would occur, however, was yet to be seen. Also this season, the 'B' Grade team, led by Jack Philipson, was successful in making the finals, coming up against Mackie in the Semi-final. However, after being dismissed for only 73 in the first innings, the team was faced with the almighty task of making over 300 runs in the last innings to win the match. Led by a fine 54 from Frank Dooley, the ANA team fought valiantly, but their score of 201 was not enough.
Season 1958/59 saw Jack Philipson stand down as the Secretary of the Club. However, Jack remained at the Club to pass on some of his irreplaceable knowledge and shrewdness to the more steady, but potentially brilliant young administrator, Eddie Benson. No doubt, the Club's excellent administrative record would now continue under this aspiring Accountant. The remaining administration and Club members were divided in their respective opinions on the suggestion of entering an ANA 'Under 16' Junior team into the competition. However, in finally agreeing to do so, Messrs Ellis, Benson, Parke, Philipson and Co. were responsible in instigating a move which would strengthen ANA for decades to come. In retrospect, this decision has probably been the most important ever made at the Club and, in the following forty years until now, Bentleigh ANA Cricket Club has never been without a junior team. The ease of the secretarial workload now allowed Jack Philipson to spend more of his time recruiting players. He lured ex-Essendon District and Malvern Sub-District bowler, Ted Arthur, to the Club as coach for the 1958/59 season. Pace bowler, and Moorabbin VFA Footballer, Duncan Dans joined the Club from the Ramblers Cricket Club and former Victorian RSL wicketkeeper, Don Anderson, was also recruited to add more experience to the team. This was an unusual pick-up as Anderson had actually been one of the umpires in ANA's Premiership victory of the previous year. Also, with the welcomed comeback of dual Premiership player Ralph Sturt, the side was strengthened remarkably. But definitely the luckiest pick-up, and one of the best recruits ever to be introduced to the Club, also arrived this year, in Ceylonese international player Hugh Aldons. His arrival was a fairytale come true for ANA. Hugh had arrived in Australia in 1958 and was relatively unknown around the Bentleigh area, until his cricketing talents were discovered by local plumber,
Bob Tidball. Sensing the recruiting deal of the decade, Tidball, from the Bentleigh Methodists Cricket Club, hastily arranged for a formal letter of invitation to be sent to Aldons, a letter which was produced on paper containing the CMCA's official letter-head and looked very impressive. At this stage, Hugh had agreed to play for the Methodists. He arrived for Sunday morning training at Victory Park, but instead of finding the Bentleigh Meths there, he stumbled across the reigning Premiers, Bentleigh ANA. Bob Arnfield, who was never one to let a stray recruiting possibility wander through the park unapproached, wasted no time in politely inviting Aldons over for a bat. Hugh found the warmth and friendliness extended to him overwhelming and, after a little bit of gentle persuasion, decided to play with ANA. However, Hugh still felt a bit guilty about turning his back on the Bentleigh Meths, who just happened to be playing against ANA in the first round. After receiving Hugh's apology before the game, Methodist's Skipper Noel Macpherson genuinely assured him of no hard feelings and wished him the best of luck . . . before obligingly uprooting his off-stump, first ball! This star-studded ANA team was definitely going to be the team to beat this season. The consistency in performance of the team was not as strong as the year before. However, the brilliance of the Skipper Cyril Parke, Bob Arnfield and Max Papley, in all making over 400 runs for the year, combined with Papley, Ted Arthur and Rex Sheppard all taking over 30 wickets, saw ANA lose only one game for the season and finish in second position. The competitive rivalry that had developed between Sheppard, Arnfield and Papley often resulted in opposition clubs incurring the wrath of the brilliance of these three players. After a comfortable Semi-final win against Hampton Central, ANA went into the 'A' Grade Grand Final as an even money bet against the strong Bentleigh Methodist's team. ANA batted first and were restricted to a modest total of 166, with Hugh Aldons top scoring with 28. However, Max Papley with 6/37 and Ted Arthur with 4/44, then destroyed the Methodists in the first innings, dismissing them for a paltry 111. With a lead of 55 on the first innings, ANA were in a strong position to take out another flag, but then collapsed disastrously to be 8 for 55 at stumps on the second day. The Methodists arrived an hour before the game, on the next day, to see the ANA stalwart, Cyril Parke, continually throwing balls to, and often past, the bat of tail-ender Rex Sheppard in the nets. The bemused Methodist's bowlers soon lost their sense of humour, however, as Parke and Sheppard took the score on to 175 before the ninth wicket fell. Anxious for a win, Cyril Parke, who had led so competently throughout the summer, batted with incredible commitment to carry his bat through the innings, for an unconquered 69 not out, whilst Rex Sheppard, whose p previous best score in 'A' Grade was only 13, pounded the Bentleigh Meth's attack for a fine 65. Having appeared to have the Premiership completely sewn up, the Meths now needed 239 runs for victory. In a nail-biter, Max Papley took 5/75, to assist in dismissing the Methodists 25 runs short of their target, giving ANA its second successive 'A' Grade Premiership and Cyril Parke his third as Captain. Experienced veteran Billy Ogden was still proving to be a sly bowler with the Club as he finished off his playing days by Captaining the Third Eleven in 'C' Grade. Even as he approached the age of fifty he was still more than able to hold his own, proving this with a double hat trick against McKinnon in Round 7. The ANA 'D' Grade team, led by former First Eleven player Ron Harris, had a good year also and they came up against the Ormond
Methodists in the Semi-final. New player to the Club, Mal Hotton, performed admirably in his first final, scoring a fine 57, while Billy Springfield hit up a quick 30, to enable ANA to struggle to a total of 160. Faced with a difficult task, the ANA bowlers toiled hard as the medium-paced duo of Norm Dennis with 4/43 and Ron Harris with 3/26, saw Ormond crash to be all out for only 132, giving the team a place in the Grand Final. Like the First Eleven, the 'D' Grade team also played off against the Bentleigh Methodists for the Premiership. However, the ANA 'social' team, as it was fondly known, could only manage 157 in the first innings, with Ian Smith being the major contributor with 42. Ron Harris then took 4/53 and Norm Dennis captured 3/56, as the Meths managed to grab an eleven run first innings lead. Dennis then batted ANA into a commanding position, as he smashed up a masterful 103 runs, to give ANA a lead of almost 200 going into the last day. At 5 for 97, Bentleigh Meths looked gone, but alas, they fought back valiantly to sneak home by three wickets, as ANA could not manage to take the tail-end wickets they required for victory.
The 1959/60 season saw the ANA 'A' Grade team attempting to make it three Premierships in a row. Barry Sheppard left the Club this year to continue his cricket with friends at the newly formed Bentleigh Church of Christ Cricket Club (in 'B' Grade), while previous coach, Ted Arthur, returned to his more preferred turf wickets of the VJCA, with local club Bentleigh. To offset these losses, however, lady luck once again smiled on Bentleigh ANA, when leg-spinner and hard hitting batsman Dennis Jay, from Box Hill, wandered into training one morning keen for a game of cricket closer to his girlfriend's home in East Bentleigh. He wasted no time in making his presence felt and established himself as a fine First Eleven player. ANA also recruited promising junior left arm bowler, Michael O'Brien, from the East Bentleigh Cricket Club. Once again, Cyril Parke led possibly the most talented team in the Association. The ANA team dominated the competition throughout the season, losing only one game before the finals. Rex Sheppard and Max Papley again took over 40 wickets each for the year to emphasise the team's strength in the field. Papley, the 19-year-old run machine on which ANA had founded its resurgence as a cricket power, made over 600 runs also. He gained fine support from Bob Arnfield and Hugh Aldons, both of whom scored almost 400 runs for the season. These three formed one of the best slips cordons ever seen in the CMCA, resulting in opposition's low scores being a common event. In these days, many a Saturday was concluded by Bob Arnfield and Duncan Dans racing off to the Boundary Hotel at about 5:15 in the afternoon and lining up as many glasses of beer as they could, before the infamous six o'clock closing time arrived. The rest of the team would hastily collect the mats and flags at 5:30 and after these were loaded into the back of Rex Sheppard's utility, a rather brisk beeline was made to the 'Boundary', to consume whatever Dans and Arnfield had left and usually, to celebrate another fine afternoon's cricket. This strong 'A' Grade team went into the finals full of optimism and why wouldn't they after Papley's fine last round effort. Having to leave at the 'Tea' interval, Max pulverised the Hampton Methodist's attack in compiling a monstrous 196 runs in the first two hours of the match, in an innings which included a staggering four sixes and 30 fours. Not satisfied with this, Papley returned next week to slam up another unbeaten 75 runs in the second innings, which left him with a total of 271 runs for the game. A remarkable feat, which will almost surely never be repeated by another ANA player. Understandably, he took out the Association's batting average for the season. ANA faced the Bentleigh Presbyterians (the forerunner to Bailey Park - now Bailey Park/Eastmoor) in the Semi-final, with disastrous results. The fourth placed Presbyterians brought the mighty ANA team down to earth with a thud, dismissing them for only 153 in the first innings. Rex Sheppard produced another fine finals effort, with a well made 60, and Bob Arnfield hit a quick 42, but the rest of the team's efforts were fairly ordinary, to say the least. A young lad by the name of Graeme Watson, who later went on to play Test Cricket for Australia, steered the Presbyterians through to a 20 run first innings lead. Papley avenged his first innings 'duck' by taking 6/43, while Rex Sheppard took 4/56. ANA then desperately set about trying to turn the first innings defeat into an outright win and this fight back gained credibility when they slogged up a brisk 9 for 142, before declaring. Bob Arnfield made a whirlwind 44 and was assisted by both the beautifully fluent Aldons and Papley with 30's apiece. The match was now set up for ANA to try to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. Calling on all of his experience, Cyril Parke used no less than eight different bowlers in a frantic attempt to win. Alas, the Bentleigh Presbyterians hung on grimly, to be 7 for 88 at stumps and thus move into the Grand Final. ANA's chances of three successive premierships were gone, a tragedy, considering how strong this team was. The ANA Fourth Eleven, in 'D' Grade, was led throughout the season by Mal Hotton. In a team which included both experience and youth, they went through the entire season to remain undefeated. ANA came up against third placed Moorabbin in the Semi-final and skipper Hotton had no hesitation in batting first. The strong ANA line-up batted steadily to make a strong finals' total of 225, due mainly to the efforts of Hotton, who batted defiantly throughout the majority of the innings for a fine 70, and 'evergreen' Stan Kennedy who made an important 56. Moorabbin struggled from the outset, as Ron Harris took 4/35 to see them dismissed for a mediocre total of 75 in their first innings. Fairing even worse in the second innings, the hapless Moorabbin team where spun out for only 47, due to the efforts of Stan Kennedy with an incredible 6/16 and Ron Harris with 3/13. ANA then clashed with the South Oakleigh Methodists in the play-off for the Premiership. Batting first, ANA was soon in all sorts of trouble and at 6 for 57, appeared to be headed for disaster. However, Ron 'Curly' Wanless obviously thought otherwise as he produced an invaluable knock of 47 and experienced campaigner
Ron Harris made a fine 49 not out, to see ANA somehow recover and finish with a respectable total of 177 in the first innings. Led by the brilliant ANA fieldsman Stan Kennedy, who captured 4/58 with his quickish leg spinners, and also due to the performance of Ron Harris with 3/33, ANA then bowled themselves into a winning position as the Green and Gold dismissed South Oakleigh for only 134 in their first innings. However, requiring only a good score to almost ensure an ANA flag, the ANA bats failed miserably in their second dig, with Mal Hotton's 31 being the only reasonable score as they were bundled out for only 125. Needing 168 runs for victory, South Oakleigh appeared to be in the game with a fair chance. However, once again determined competitor Stan Kennedy fully exploited his talents and controlled his 'flippers' superbly for figures of 5/53, taking his season's aggregate to a monstrous 85 wickets. This total wasn't a bad effort considering the fact that Stan had made over 500 runs for the year also. He received strong support from Graham 'Ducky' Wanless who took 4/17 and increased his season's aggregate to 68 wickets, as the Meths were dismissed for a meagre 72 runs, giving ANA the 'D' Grade flag. Mal Hotton had been a shrewd tactician and hard task master throughout the year, a point strongly evident in Round 3 when, whilst having Stan Kennedy on 99 not out at Tea, declared the innings closed in an unsuccessful attempt for outright points! The 'Social Eleven' had well and truly earned their Premiership celebration and popular player, Barry Pennant, had arranged to bring the 'keg' from his favourite watering hole, the Boundary Hotel, down to Mal Hotton's house in Beaumaris. The only problem was that Barry didn't drive! As the other ten thirsty players sat around sipping tea and cursing the unreliable Barry, the 'keg' and indeed Barry himself, were well on their way . . . courtesy of the East Bentleigh/Beaumaris 19 Bus Line. And if this wasn't enough, the players' curses turned to laughter when Barry even managed to persuade the obliging bus driver to negotiate the side streets of Beaumaris and deliver both he and the 'keg' to Mal's front door. Even the normally tea totalling Eddie Benson didn't have the heart to refuse a drink after that effort.