Season 1989/90 saw the arrival of the experienced District Cricket left arm spinner Arthur Watkin as Captain & Coach of WPCC. Also arriving with Arty from the Hawthorn East Melbourne , was gun all-rounder Tim Caffery. Our boom recruits joined an already strong line up that included the legendary all-rounder Trevor Jones, strong batting line up of Kenyon, Verrall, Smith, Cusack, Dimock and Dobb; opening bowlers Heathy and Blundy; and keeper Willo. A great combination of local home grown talent and experienced recruits.
The First XI had a great season finishing on top of the ladder with 9 wins and 2 losses. Two of the best performances of the home & away season were thrilling wins over the strong East Sandy and Brighton Union sides.
We faced Mackie in the Grand Final at Bailey Park which was a four day game played over two weekends with a minimum of 70 overs per day. Like the semi final, the highest placed team only needed to draw the game to be premiers and there were no compulsory closures for batting innings. With Washington Park finishing on top of the ladder, we lost the toss again and Mackie asked us to bat. We had a minimum of 280 overs to bat to guarantee a first and famous Longmuir Shield flag and we were determined to give it our best shot.
Greg Cusack and Phil Verrall opened up and we lost Greggy early at 1/5. He’d been a steady influence at the top of the order since coming into the side in Round 4 with 201 runs and a top score of 62. Peter Kenyan joined Fabulous Phil and they batted confidently taking us to tea at 1/61. We lost Phil shortly after tea for 22 at 2/63 which saw Tim Caffery join PK at the crease. The classy left hander PK and hard hitting Tim took control with the bat and were cruising at 2/133 when Tim tickled one down the leg side to be caught behind. With 25 minutes to stumps, skipper Arty gave Ray “Stinga” Dobb the job to join PK and steer us to stumps. Peppered with a barrage of short balls and sledging they saw us to stumps at 3/146 with PK 74 not out and Stinga 8 not out the result of two defiant hook shots for boundaries.
Day two and we restarted steadily before PK was dismissed for a classy 90 seeing us 4/174. Trevor Jones joined Stinga with the second new ball into the attack and with plenty of work to do with just under 3 days left in the game. It was fast and furious out in the centre but TJ and Stinga guided us to tea to be 4/203 as they saw off the new ball. After tea, the boys built up their innings and got right on top of the attack playing shots all over the ground. They took us to 4/303 at stumps, with Stinga batting all day (75 overs) to be 74 not out and TJ 62 not out, their unfinished partnership of 129 had set up the Sharks innings for a big finish the following weekend.
Day three started as day two finished with TJ and Stinga in control. Then two controversial quick wickets saw the game turn. TJ on 74 was given run out in a dubious call and then Stinga was caught in slips off the pad for 76. Their 143 run partnership looked impenetrable until these dubious calls. At 6/317 the game was in the balance again. We lost Arty and Willo at 329 to be 8/329 which bought Cam Smith and Heathy to the crease. The injured Smithy batting at 10 (later diagnosed as a broken ankle) bludgeoned the attack with a sparkling 58 not out in an hour, whilst Heathy 14 and Blundy 13 provided great support to get us to 413. After his match winning 85 in the Semi final, Smithy’s 58 not out was blistering with some classic shots off the third new ball, including a pull shot for six that landed halfway over the adjoining oval.
Mackie had 20 overs to bat on day three and 70 overs the final day to try to get the 414 runs for an unlikely victory. But with a strong top order, including former Sharks Peter Lusby and Rod & Daryl Meaklim and the hard hitting Barnes, Gill and Hill they had the ability to give it a shake if we didn’t bowl well. We struck early with Blundy picking up Peter Lusby in slips for 4. Boomer joined Barnesy and they moved quickly to 1/70 at stumps. With a promising start to their innings we needed to start well on day four and that we did. First ball of the morning from Blundy saw 12th man Jol Dimock fielding at point fly at right angles to take a one handed screamer at full stretch to dismiss Boomer for 17. It was a blinder and set the tone for the rest of the day. 2/70 went to 3/111 as Hill was bowled by Arty then 4/111 as Rod Meaklim was run out by PK and Willo for a duck. Arty threw the ball to Tim Caffery and the rest was history. He broke the promising Barnes/Gill partnership to be 5/153 and then another wicket to be 6/154. A 63 run partnership delayed the inevitable but TC made it 7/217, then 8/217, 9/219 and when Arty took the catch at 1st slip off TC to dismiss Milton Hammon the Longmuir Shield was ours with Mackie all out for 222.
All the bowlers did a great job. Tim Caffery was the star with the ball 5/28 and Mark Blundy did the early damage with 2/45. Arty picked up 1/49 and Heathy and TJ both bowled tight pressure spells going unrewarded. A great team effort with contributions from all twelve players. Tim Caffery won the Harry Morgan medal with his 5/28 and 35, with PK, TJ, Stinga and Smithy all in contention with great performances. The boys celebrated long and hard well into the morning at the clubrooms and then on to Chapel Street to continue in the nightclubs. A few hours sleep and then it was back into the celebrations at the Rosstown Hotel for the day, later adjourning the Mick Cusack’s place to see out the night.
A famous victory for the club and for a team that included many of our club legends. Some of the award winners for the season included:
Tim Caffery won the Club Champion award, Batting Average 678 runs at 84.75 including three centuries, all not out and the Bowling Average 22 wickets at 13.59. Yes, his 5 wicket haul in the Grand Final was just enough to pip Mark Blundy who won the CMCA award at the end of the Home & Away season. Blundy finished the season with 25 wickets at 13.76.
Cameron Smith won the Player of the Finals with his outstanding innings of 85 and 58 not out.
Other stand out performances for the season included;
Batting: Trevor Jones 391 runs at 35.55, Peter Kenyon 348 @ 29, Phil Verrall 309 @ 25.75, Cam Smith 223 @ 27.88, Greg Cusack 201 @18.27, Ramon Dobb 175 @ 29.17, Arty Watkin 174 @ 15.82 and Jolyon Dimock 135 @ 45.
Bowling: Arty Watkin 26 wickets @ 24.27, Trevor Jones 16 @ 18 and Brian Heath 10 @ 30.70.
In addition to the selected 12 players in the Grand Final, the following players also played for the 1st XI to contribute to the successful season.
Peter Longmore (4 games), Shane Mackay (2 games), Paul Middleton (4 games), Travis Smith (1 game), Brad Tomlins (1 game).
After a tough 2014/15 season, the Sharks found their form late in the season to win the last three games to avoid relegation. In the off season, we lured back one of our favourite sons, Chris Williamson to captain the First XI. Joining Willow, was his good mate and talented batsman (and, as we found out in November, Shark Gift sprinter), Ben Richardson. Willow and Richo added some great experience and skill to a talented young squad who were determined to fulfil their potential after a disappointing previous season.
The First XI finished on top of the ladder with 55 points from their 11 games – 8 wins (including 1 outright), 1 draw and 2 losses – and saw them finish 4 points clear of West Bentleigh 51, CHAG 45 and ESBC 43. Of the eight wins, two games stand out as critical victories that gave the team the self belief to take them to the ultimate prize, an outright victory over Omega in Round 3 and a high scoring win over last year’s premiers Bentleigh Uniting in Round 5.
ESBC won the toss and batted. A steady start as opening bowlers Shane and Oata kept it tight. But we needed a wicket. Enter Gentleman Jim Cleary -- who scalped 3 quick wickets to restore equilibrium. ESBC’s star batsment, Brad Hodge and Anton Duddy looked menacing -- and a big target seemed possible. But superb catches to Prydey , Loges and Richo put the Sharks back on track. ESBC reached 8/ 216 cc with a big 6 off the last ball. Duddy 62 ; Hodge 45. Jimmy " The Reason" Cleary announced himself on the big stage with 25 overs, 5 maidens, 6 for 68 with his cutters, with no batsman ever comfortable. Reached his 50 wickets for the season. Mighty effort. Well supported by Matty Oaten -- 24 overs, 4 maidens , 2 for 72. And Shane was steady with 11 overs, 2 maidens, 0 for 18.
Day 2 loomed bright and sunny and the Sharks had a steely look about them. The new scoreboard, overloaded with excitement, failed to work in the early part of the day so Milton manned the old manual scoreboard with his usual precision. Richo and Loges provided the perfect start. 0 for 51 at Drinks. Richo hitting out and Benn the foil. Then a slump -- Hodgey bowled Loges and we lost 3 for 9. At 3/ 60 , it was game on.
Garo fixed the electronic scoreboard -- but a hush came over Shark Park (except on the velodrome wing where the East Sandy fans had found their voice). The Moment of Truth had arrived. Cometh the hour -- cometh the man. 2 of them. Our stars Swiv Heywood and Andy Verrall stepped up and showed their class, just like they did earlier in the season in their match winning partnership against reigning premier Bentleigh Uniting. A big century partnership peppered with some fierce boundaries under intense pressure from the hardened ESBC veterans. One massive AV 6 landed up a tree and was lost for 10 minutes.
When both were pinged LBW , we still had plenty of work to do. ( AV 65 ; Swiv 60 ). Over 30 runs were still needed -- and the crowd in full voice. New batsmen in. But Skipper Willow ( 10 ) and young Tom Bishop ( 13 ) played their shots calmly and built the score closer to the target with patience and skill but both fell agonisingly close to the target. This bought SDS and Jimmy to the crease with 5 overs to go. SDS , a wonderful bat for No. 8 , stroked us to a win for the ages, with the most treasured clip through backward square leg in our history.
One of the great Grand Finals and a deserving victory for a great team that worked hard through the season and always rose to the many challenges it faced. Jimmy Cleary was the deserving winner of the Harry Morgan Medal with his magnificent bowling effort – very fitting that he stood up tall in the biggest game of the season after his brilliant efforts all season which saw him win the SECA bowling average and wickets taken awards. Willow was a deserving premiership captain, he lead the team with distinction both on and off the field. Underneath the calm, respectful and quiet demeanour is a shrewd, determined and great leader of men. He fittingly has the Longmuir Shield in his pool room alongside his SECA Umpires Captain of the Year award. Fittingly, our SECA team of the year representatives, Swiv and Jimmy, both stood tall in the Grand Final to put the icing on the cake of their impressive seasons.
Award winners and major stats.
Swiv Heywood Club Champion – SECA Team of Year
Jimmy Cleary - JQ Medallist, Bowling Average, SECA Bowling Average and SECA most Wickets, SECA Team of Year
Batting Average: Andrew Verrall 369 runs at 33.55
Fielding Award: Judgey
Some of the key performances for the season included:
Andrew Verrall 369 runs @ 33.55
Swiv Heywood 412 @ 29.43
Tom Bishop 204 @ 25.50
Nathan Grant 42 @ 42.00
Nick Pryde 167 @ 33.40
Shane De Silva 135 @ 27.00
Chris Williamson 170 @ 24.29
Dave Mackay 189 @ 21.00
Ben Richardson 163 @ 20.38
Jimmy Cleary 50 wickets @ 8.64,
Swiv Heywood 22 @ 13.73,
Shane De Silva 19 @ 18.00,
Matty Oaten 13 @ 28.54
In addition to the victorious 12 players, the following players also served the 1st XI during the season to help contribute to the successful season: Lemon Adlington, Gary Slaughter, Nathan Grant, Shaun Fisher and Travis Smith.
Top Row L-R: Tony Verrall (Senior Coach), Orry Lack, Shane De Silva, Andrew Verrall, Nick Pryde, Tom Bishop, Matty Oaten, Dave Mackay, Graeme Dellora (President). Bottom Row L-R: Jim Cleary, Benn Logan, Chris Williamson (Captain), Swiv Heywood (Vice Captain), Ben Richardson, Sue Latham (Team Manager).