SURREY HILLS' HISTORY
Surrey Hills Cricket Club was formed in 1889 and played its first games on the corner of Broughton Road and Canterbury Road, Surrey Hills. Some of the early players to play with the club were Collins, Smith, Bolton, Dunn and Staines. The club moved its ground to its present position on the corner of Elgar and Canterbury Roads Box Hill in 1905.
The club was reasonably consistent although it was not until the 1912/13 season that it won its first Premiership in the Reporter District Cricket Competition. Horrie Kent became President in 1917 and held this position until 1928. During his Presidency it was decided to enter a side into the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association. This, however, was considered unsuccessful and the side was withdrawn two seasons later.
It was not until 1929/30 that another Premiership was won under the captaincy of L. Watsford. The side also won a Premiership in the following year. In 1936 the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association decided to start a Turf competition and Surrey Hills decided to enter a side. The following year a second side was entered in the competition.
The Box Hill Council was always trying to assist the club and made several changes to the ground to improve its quality and also make an impressive sight when people entered the City of Box Hill. In 1939 Surrey Hills Holy Trinity Cricket club joined the E.S.C.A. and in two years time changed its name to Surrey Park Cricket Club, some 35 years later Surrey Hills and Surrey Park were to amalgamate. It was also in 1939 that club stalwart Wally Ash took over the reins as President of the club and he held this position for an incredible 26 years. Outstanding players for the club around this time were Bill Cocking, Frank Cading and J. Maguire.
With the advent of World War 2 the turnover of players at the club was high and the number of teams in the E.S.C.A. decreased. Surrey was still able to field strong sides and won consecutive Premierships in 1942/43 and 1943/44. The second eleven also won the flag in 1943/44. It was during these years that the famous footballer Roy Cazaly played for the club.
After the war cricket began to thrive in the Eastern Suburbs. Ian Cleland and Harry Box were two new players to the Surrey Hills Club and the side was runners-up to Deepdene in 1946/47. In 1948 a young Maurie Wilson joined the club from Wonthaggi. This was to be the start of a great association with Surrey Hills and the E.S.C.A. Maurie opened the batting in the first eleven for over 20 years and continued playing with the club for 367 games. He also held nearly every committee position within the club and found time to an executive with the E.S.C.A. for many years. He was rewarded with Life Membership of both Surrey Hills Cricket Club and the E.S.C.A.
Frank Cadan who was already a stalwart of the club took over the duties of Secretary and held it until 1965/66. Frank was a fine spin bowler and he was also rewarded with Life Membership. Surrey Park, our next-door neighbours were playing very good cricket in the '50's winning Premierships in 1954/55 and 1956/57. Bill Hearn was an outstanding all-rounder for Surrey Park and Leo Morrissy was a very happy Secretary and long serving player.
In 1958/59 Surrey Hills entered an Under 16's side in the E.S.C.A. and over many of the coming years supplied a steady stream of talented young players to the senior club. In 1961/62 the senior side was narrowly defeated in the Grand Final. The same year Kevin Oliver was the outstanding junior player in the association winning both the batting and bowling averages and he also won the prestigious Dave Dickie trophy as the most the most outstanding young player in the association. The following year saw the first junior Premiership for the club. In 1963/64 Alan Sieler won the Dave Dickie trophy, he was a fine batsman and went on to play for Victoria for a number of years. The strength of the juniors continued the following year with another Premiership.
In the late '60's Surrey was a strong club and gained joint Premierships (due to bad weather) in 1965/66 and 1967/68. In 1965 a young fast bowler, Neil Oliver, commenced his senior career with the club and was still playing some three decades later. Good players throughout this period were Bill Ogilvie, Graeme Miller, Mal McPherson, Maurie Wilson and Rex Harry.
The club was growing and expanded by introducing a third senior team and the introduction of the Under 14's.
The '70's saw Surrey as a very strong club at all levels with Premierships in the first eleven 1972/73 (joint) and 1974/75. The third eleven Premiers in 1973/74, 1974/75 and 1975/76. The Under 16's won in 1971/72 and 1974/75. The Under 14's continued with victories in 1971/72, 1972/73 and in 1979/80.
In 1975/76 Surrey Hills Cricket Club and Surrey Park Cricket Club amalgamated and the club now has 5 senior sides. It was also amazing how many players had come through junior sides and were local to the area. Good players during this period were John Wright, Bill Ogilvie, Buddy Reid, Bill Ondaatje, Ron Bently, the Oliver - Kevin, Geoff, Neil and Peter, John Cadzow and Kevin Payne.
Thus began as a struggle to keep up with the excellent results gained during the 1970's. The first eleven were there abouts but was unable to obtain a Premiership during this decade. Eddie Illingworth joined the club as coach and although he was outstanding, was unable to bring about a Premiership. Eddie was very successful in the E.S.C.A. and won the Dunstan medal on several occasions. Towards the end of the 80's the strength of the first eleven had declined and the side was relegated from the top division for the first time. It would be a number of years before the club would be able to field the first eleven in the top division again.
1989 was a big year for the club as it celebrated it's centenary. Efforts on the ground were not overly successful, however, a number of functions were held to celebrate this milestone including several reunions for past players.
The club's junior section was very strong in numbers and gave many boys the opportunity to play cricket. There were now Under 16's, two Under 14's and two Under 12's. Most of the effort in running this large group was taken up by Charlie Simms who to later be awarded Life Membership. Good players during this period were Richard Jones, Brendan Barry-Murphy, Rob Davies, Mick McCrae, Kevin Payne, Rod Watkinson, Ian McGregor, Andrew Toop, Michael Nelson, James Fairweather and Nick Dawe.
In an effort to gain elevation back to Senior grade Dave Power was appointed Coach of the club in 1993/94. Success came that year when the first eleven winning the flag and promotion back to Senior grade. In the final, Power, Barry-Murphy, Jones, McCrae and Toop performed well with the bat while Harris, McCrae and Power bowled well.
The club currently has four senior sides who perform reasonably well without any great success. As with a lot of Clubs there appears to be a decline in the number of players who wish to play cricket. In 1997/98 the club introduced a Veterans over 40 side. This has been a great success with many former players getting back together to enjoy a game of cricket. Also in this year club stalwart Neil "Curly" Oliver broke Maurie Wilson's longstanding record number of games with Curly now having played 371 games with Surrey Hills Cricket Club.
Surrey Hills Cricket Club has now been in existence for 108 years and during this time has provided entertainment and the opportunity for thousands of men and boys to play and enjoy cricket. They have been able to learn sportsmanship and gain comradeship with both teammates and opposition players. Junior players are given every opportunity to join in and play cricket as well as help develop healthy minds and characters for their future lives. There have been many people who have voluntarily given their time as Presidents, Secretaries, Committee men as well as in many other capacities to make this the great club it has grown to be. To all those who have gone before us and those still with us we give our heartfelt thanks.
- Contributed by Neil "Curly" Oliver.