Heidelberg Cricket Club's first recorded game was played against Collingwood in 1857. That's right - 1857. At that time, the club was known as the Yarra Yarra Cricket Club and played in a small hollow below the Old England Hotel. Heidelberg triumphed in that game by 116 runs, only to be beaten in the return bout 1 year later at the MCG.
In season 2006-07, the Club celebrated its 150th year - a coming together of past and present players/supporters was held at the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg.
President's Speech - 150 Year Celebration Dinner.
Since our first game against Collingwood at the MCG on January 1st 1857 the club began a remarkable journey of success and a pivotal role in the community.
This very room we are standing in bears major historical significance as this was the place where visiting teams came to stay when they played Heidelberg, the ‘country’ team of Metropolitan Melbourne.
In fact 150 years ago ovals we know today did not have pavilions or social clubs. The local hotels were the meeting places for before, during and after match functions.
Reading a piece from a local publication dated December 26th 1857 a Mrs, Denton ‘mine hostess’ of the Old England is laying vast quantities of the things consumable and a great day may be expected by all”
The club’s very first oval was located in small hollow below the Old England probably about where Courtney and Patterson is now located.
Clubs such as Melbourne, Collingwood, St.Kilda, Richmond and Coburg, would venture out to leafy Heidelberg, players and President’s in coaches and the rest on horseback.
Through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the club was blessed with strong, highly respected administrators who ensured the club was well managed.
Names like The Honourable Frederick Powlett who became President on September 23rde 1858. Fred was not only Victoria’s First Commissioner of Crown Land he also happened to be the founder of the Melbourne Cricket Club, 20 years earlier.
These men laid the foundation for future generations to enjoy the reverence and respect of which the club is held in today.
Surely one the great players in the history of the club was a fellow by the name of Thomas Wills who captained Victoria for near on 20 years in the late 1800’s. He was last fast bowler to ever captain the club.
That Tom Wills is the same Tom Wills who is credited as being the founder of Australian Rules Football.
The rich and proud history stems from some key underling values the most important being that at senior level we play cricket to win. Other clubs can play socially but we like to win and then enjoy the social benefits later.
I would like to acknowledge and thank you all of you here tonight for the contribution no matter how big or small you have made to the Heidelberg Cricket Club.
Each of you represent a thread in this magnificent fabric that started its life in blue and white, became blue and gold and has now evolved to black and gold.
Just a subtle change of one colour but a very significant one – More about that later...
I would like to acknowledge and thank the 20 or so Life Members we have in the room with us tonight. You don’t deserve the honour of Life membership unless your service to the club is lengthy and most importantly above and beyond the call of duty.
We have you people especially to be thankful for.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the past office bearers of the club. Since the Second World War we too have been blessed with strong administrations that carry on the values of the club and instill them in young players and members of the club.
I would like to acknowledge the past President’s with us here tonight in Peter Laydon, Trevor Skerry, and Gordon Richmond as well as those who who have fulfilled the roles of Secretary’s and Treasurers. Thankless jobs but vital at the same time.
I would particularly like to thank Trevor Skerry who in the late eighties/early 90’s began collating and assembling past CC scorebooks which have been under my house for the best part of 10 years. We will carry on Trevor’s work and get those books and history updated and we will for the first time in the Club’s history have proper honour boards by the start of next season. That is a promise.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the Jordan family and the role they have played in this cricket club. We are all aware of the tragedy that struck on July 21 2004 when Dumpy and Joy were killed. The legacy that Dumpy left is his sprit and his love and passion for the Club.
I acknowledge Dumpy and Joy’s daughters, Cathy and Jo-anne and their partners who were with us earlier tonight.
I would also like to acknowledge the late Bruce Jordan and his contribution to the cricket club in what was a very short life. Today, this club’s office bearers all played junior cricket with the club, at times under the tutelage of Bruce who like Dumpy instilled the core club values in us in a very early age.
Between Myself, Crogger and Laddy we have played over 800 games with Heidelberg and played a role in administrating the club for a combined total of approximately 42 years.
We acknowledge the Jordan influence and thank Barb, Glenn, Grant and Gavin for the role they have played in the history of the club.
One of the great highlights of my Presidency is that after some 13 years of continually asking, this year, Grant returned to the First X1 as captain and I can’t help but think that is what this club is all about, developing outstanding juniors who go onto to bigger and better things but offering enough enjoyment along the way that they feel compelled to return and assist the club.
I hope that Grant can get back and play a role in avenging last year’s defeat and returning the EC Jack shield back to its rightful home.
I would like to acknowledge Keith Nihill and his wife Trish who is here with us tonight. Keith is still playing the odd game with us and is currently our oldest player. This year Keith put his hand up to manage one of the U/16’s of which his grand nephew is playing. I think Keith has now played with four generations of the Nihill family at Heidelberg. A stellar performance.
I would like to acknowledge all the Club Champions in the room, past captains, coaches and premiership players. Fortunately there are too many of you to mention individually. I would also like to thank the junior coaches over the years; people like Ian Walker, Trevor Skerry those kind of people who have donated tens of thousands of hours of their time helping develop great cricketers and sound people.
And I would like to thank those who made a great effort to get here tonight, Graeme and Carol Monaghan and John Prowse all the way from Queensland and there are many others who travelled from afar to be with us here tonight.
In closing I would like to give you a snap shot of where the club is at today.
Some 10 years ago we changed one of colours from dark blue to black to align ourselves more closely with the HFC. Co-incidentally at that same time we began our climb back up the ladder as a powerhouse cricket club in the North East of Melbourne.
We have now played in the HDCA A-Grade finals for the last 9 consecutive years. Of those nine years we have played in 6 A-Grade Finals for 3 flags.
This year we intend to arrest the imbalance. Today we field 4 strong senior Elevens and 7 junior sides, two U/16’s, two U/14’s, two U/12’s and a Milo Cricket Program with some 30 kids playing.
Off field our relationship with the HFC is the model for Councils and other clubs to follow. There is a common ‘Heidelberg’ understanding between the clubs an understanding, steeped in history and the want for success. Financially we have never been better off than we are today.
I thank you for coming tonight I know you will enjoy yourself and I would like to remind you; don’t be a stranger. If there is one chink in our armour it is the fact we don’t see too many past players at the club. Please drop in any Saturday afternoon, watch some great local cricket and raise a glass to the past and to the future.
Dean Turner - President - Heidelberg Cricket Club