Through the Centuries

Inaugural club, originally known as East Melbourne, amalgamated with Hawthorn (Sub-District) in 1912 and moved to Glenferrie Oval.

The ground was opened in 1860 and closed in 1921, after which it was demolished to make way for an extension of the Jolimont Yard railway sidings. The site has now been taken over by a housing estate, a feature of which is a semi-circular housing block with a tower, obviously designed to look like an ersatz football pavilion.

Four first-class cricket games were played at the ground in the 1880s, including the Smokers v Non-Smokers match on 1721 March 1887, in which the Non-Smokers made 803, at the time a world record innings score.

East Melbourne Cricket Club was the most successful member of the Victorian Cricket Association during the 19th Century and early 20th Century, winning more than half of the VCA’s Premierships during that period.

The club was formed in 1857 as the Abbotsford Football Club but they soon changed their name as part of a putsch to use the EMCG. The team mainly consisted of Scotch College old boys. When the club lost the use of the ground in 1921, they amalgamated with the Hawthorn Cricket Club to form the Hawthorn-East Melbourne Cricket Club and moved to Hawthorn’s Glenferrie Oval.

In 1989 it moved to Central Reserve Waverley upon the amalgamation of Waverley and Dandenong at Dandenong.

Then it amalgamated with Monash University (Sub-District) in 2003 and moved to the Monash University Sports Complex in Clayton in 2004.

Heritage

CRAIG Reece is working on an anniversary present Hawthorn-Monash University Cricket Club won’t forget. The clubs scorer and historian is compiling a book of scorecards, dating back to the Hawks origins in the 1860s, to recognise every player who has represented the club at First XI level. Reece said he had been working on the book for about 14 years and that, although he had planned to have it finished in time for the Hawks 150th anniversary this year, it was at least another four seasons away.

Originally, the plan was to do a historical book on the club, but I thought to do the scorecards as it reflects all who have played, they get a mention and their score published, he said. Its a winter project, something I spend those months doing. I don’t get much of a chance to do it during summer, when I’m very busy with cricket.

Reece said through scouring old newspapers, club files and regularly visiting the State Library he had compiled about 1300 scorecards. And, you find some really interesting things, the longtime scorer said.

The lowest score was in 1939 when Hawthorn-East Melbourne was bowled out for 16 by a VCA Colts side. A few years ago I wrote to a few of the players who were still alive, that had played in the game, to ask how bad it was. They said the wicket was pretty soft and that they had got the worse end of the conditions.

The highest score recorded came in the early 1890s when East Melbourne made over 600. (Only) half the St Kilda team showed up the next week, knowing they would be defeated, and were bowled out quickly and for not much. You discover a lot of things about cricket at the time and some peculiar attitudes opposition clubs had.

Reece said he first arrived at the club in 1975 when his cousin, who was involved with the Hawks at the time, suggested to club officials that he could work as the scoreboard operator for a few dollars a match. Then, one day, the senior scorer was away and someone said what about that kid who does the scoreboard? He can do it, Reece said. And, Ive done it ever since.

Reece said he enjoyed his role and that the club had never done anything wrong by him, so he was happy to help out. And, such is his devotion to the club, he travels more than two hours each weekend, from his home in Euroa, to score for the Hawks.

Reece named Hawks greats Graham Matthews and Peter Roach as the best players had seen at the club. Peter was a great wicketkeeper and batsman and Graham was a fantastic opening batsman on uncovered wickets, its a different era.