'Great Years' Articles

A series of articles written by Andrew Hayward, and published on the Club's web site in 2014/15.

Great Year 1

This is the first in a series of articles about great years, either by a player, team or the whole club.

There was a sense of excitement around the Blues at the commencement of the 2009/10 season. Bentley had broken its 1st Grade premiership drought the previous year, and there were high expectations that we could go back to back.

However, it was the unheralded 3rd Grade side, who would come through to take out one of the Blues most extraordinary premiership victories ever.

After a disappointing 9th the previous season, Steve Paice took over as captain from Simon Magill, who had enjoyed great success with the team in earlier years.

The early part of the season was fairly uneventful, apart from a brilliant ton by JT.  After 8 rounds, the side was sitting at 4 and 4, and with teams needing a 7 and 4 ratio to qualify for the finals, the team was genuinely looking at an early finish to the year.

Here is how Paicey summed up the brilliant run in the last 3 qualifying fixtures:

'After an easy win against High Wycombe we faced top of the ladder Applecross and did well to restrict them to 185. Tristan Francis then made a magnificent 150 leading us to a 3 wicket win and we were then half a game out of the final, leading into the last game of the year against Swan Valley.

We headed to Swan Valley with almost the strongest team of the season on paper and despite them making 220, it was a great deck and ground and we chased the runs 4 down with the two best bats of the season Chris Pritchard and Leigh Martin making solid half centuries. A few phone calls later on Saturday night to check a few other scores,
confirmed we were playing finals cricket.'

The semi-final against minor premiers, Wembley at Veryard, looked to be a difficult affair, especially when Wembley elected to bat first.  However, yet another player rose to the occasion, this time Evan Britton who took a career best 5/55 to hold Wembley to a challenging finals score of 159. The next day Leigh Martin played perhaps his best Bentley innings making 73*, and leading the Blues home with just 3 wickets down. A comprehensive win!

The GF was also played at Veryard, this time against a quality Doubleview/Carine side, laden with former, top 1st Grade cricketers.  However the Bulldogs gave up the advantage after winning the toss, and sent the Blues in to bat first. Chris Pritchard 46, again stoutly led the batting as we scrambled to 7/100. The tail wagged and Bentley rallied to finish at 170, a competitive GF total but perhaps 30 short of what may be needed.

On the 2nd day, cometh the moment, cometh the man.  In a fiery spell of fast bowling Ben Mitchell ripped through the top order taking 6 of the first 7 wickets to fall.  The opposition were 9/128, but their seasoned campaigners got them to 165 before Paicey played the masterstroke by bringing on Anthony Brown who took the winning wicket.  Big Ben bowled his heart out to take 7/78 off 27 overs, and deservedly won the MVP.

The Blues had come from mediocrity to take out one of our best ever premiership wins.  It was a Great Year!

Next week we look at one of Bentley's finest ever players, who was contemplating retirement, but decided to play on to 'make up the numbers', and we're glad he did!  

Great Year 2

Today's intended story about Geoff Farrall will not be posted out of respect to the Farrall family, and will be published at a later date.

In the second of our Great Years articles, we examine the heroics of a player resuming cricket after a 15 year break.

The Blues expanded to 6 teams in 2006/07, with the introduction of a One Day side under the captaincy of Pete Smith.  As with most expansion years, there was some initial difficulty in filling the 11 positions.  Chris Taylor, a former top grade hockey player, debuted for the side in the 7th round of the 14 match season, hammering 60 quick fire runs, and taking 1/15 off 4 overs.  It was to be a pointer of what was to come.

Following a break of several games due to work commitments, Chris showed his all round prowess in the 12th round scoring 26 and taking 6/14 off 7 overs.  In the next match he scored 71 in run a ball time, and by now overtures were being made to get Chris up the Grades. However, his inability to guarantee he would not have work commitments, meant he was confined to the One Day Comp.  His next 3 innings produced not out scores of 26, 34 & 34 as the Blues took the minor premiership and faced off against perennial rivals Whitfords in a semi-final at Shelley.

Once again Chris got the job done, smashing 42 not out, off just 23 deliveries, as Bentley crushed Whitfords.

In what was to be a remarkable climax to Chris's season, the Grand Final was played against MNOB at Rosalie.  PC won the toss and the Blues got in first. However wickets fell regularly through the innings with the 2nd highest score being 16 of the 190 total that was scored.  Chris played a lone hand against some good bowling, to score a blistering 105 off 70 deliveries, playing every shot in the book.  MNOB faltered in reply and the Blues took the flag in their inaugural One Day season, with Chris a worthy winner of the GF MVP.

Chris had played just 9 matches in the season but made 411 runs at an average of 82.20. It was, a truly Great Year!  

Next week we review an exciting season where the premiership drought was broken after a 15 year wait. 

  

Great Year 3

This is the third in a series of articles about Great Bentley seasons, whether it be by an individual, a team or the whole club.

As chronicled in recent times following the passing of Gough Whitlam, the 1970's were a turbulent decade.

This was certainly the case at The Blues, as the club set about positioning itself, so that it could compete both on the field, & financially, with the established 'power' clubs. There was relegations & promotions, expansion, 2 simultaneous committees, fund raising bonanzas, and a bit of biffo to boot.  All in the name of a maturing club that wanted respect.

In the first 20 years of its existence the Blues had spent most of their time in Grade 2.  However, at the commencement of the 1971/72 season, it found itself in Grade 1. Unfortunately the slide was 'on' and the club dropped to Grade 2 the next year, and then for the first time ever, down again to Grade 3 in 1973/74.  This is the year we will examine in detail in this week's article, but it's worth noting that the Blues went straight back up to Grade 2, then up to Grade 1 again and made the finals immediately.

In a 5 year period we had been relegated, relegated, promoted, promoted, and then made the four in Grade 1.  These were turbulent times!

The 1973/74 season in Grade 3 began with the appointment of an 'outsider', Wayne Pulver, to captain/coach the club.  Wayne was a pugnacious left hander, who was able to get the best out of his players.

In a long qualifying season of 14 games, The Blues took the Minor Premiership by winning 11 of its games. Whilst there were some fine batting performances with Stu Rankin (424) & GD (311) the leading run getters, the dominant bowling was the key to the side's qualifying round success.  Geoff Farrall took 65 wickets @ 9.3, Stu Rankin 62 @ 10.2, Tony Malins 45 @ 10.4, and the inimitable Herb Weigle 31 @ 8.6.  Sensational figures, all. 

The semi-final was a classic drama filled match, played at Kent St versus Wembley.  Skipper Wayne invited the opposition to bat, and they were dismissed for 122, with Geoff (5/22) & Herb (3/12) taking the honours. In reply, Bentley scrambled to just 84, however there was still plenty of time left and Wembley batted again, only to be rolled for 89 with Herb (4/24) and Stu (4/31) the wreckers. To add to the drama, Brian Hayward & Tony had both desperately chased down a skied ball, only to collide heavily, fracturing Tony's cheek, and severely bruising Brian.

So, the equation was simple, Bentley had to chase down Wembley's lead of 128 with only 10 fit batsman, as Tony was unable to bat.  After both openers were dismissed for a duck, the Blues were effecticely 3 for none.  However the game took another turn, as Bentley steadied, and led by Herb 46*, managed to get the target, and book a GF appearance.

The GF versus Claremont was played at College Park.  The Blues got in first and made a solid 177. The top scorers were the remarkable all rounders Herb, 36, & Stu, 32. Thepair then opened the bowling and ripped through the Claremont line up, dismissing them for 96, with Stu taking 5/16 & Herb 2/27. As with the semi final, there was plenty of time left, and Bentley batted again only to be knocked over for 95, with Stu scoring 43 of them.

With Claremont needing 177 in 30 overs to win, Wayne again turned to his star all rounders. Herb (6/59) and Stu (4/61) bowled throughout the innings to dismiss Claremont for 129.

This was to be Bentley's 2nd Premiership success, following the initial win in 1958/59.  It was a truly Great Year during a remarkable decade!

Next week we look at a Great Year as a Bentley player takes out the WASTCA Grade 1 Champion Player award. 

 

Great Year 4

This is the 4th in a series of 10 articles which recognises Great Years by a Blues player, team or the whole club.

This week we look at the year of the first Bentley player, to win WASTCA's McInerney Medal Champion Cricketer.

The award was inaugurated in 1975/76 and although some wonderful Bentley players had gone close, we weren't able to claim one until Brendan Daye took out the 2009 medal. In an amazing sequence, Bentley players went on to win 3 of the next 4 medals.  Chris Prescott in 2010, Laurence Paice in 2011, & Brendan again in 2013.

The 2008/09 season had begun with high expectations after The Mighty Blues had finished 2nd on the ladder, after the qualifying rounds the previous season.  However, rain was to play havoc with a number of fixtures prior to Christmas.  Despite this, Brendan began the season consistently getting a number of 20's & 30's, and taking 3fa's in most games.

In round 5, he began to hit his straps, making 22, and taking 5/28 off 16.4 overs bowling first change against Western Suburbs.  A great effort, but it was his match winning performance against powerhouse Whitfords at MacDonald in round 6, that goes down as the finest ever individual all round performance, by a Bentley cricketer.  Bowling at first change again, Brendan took 5/45 off 18 overs as Whitfords were rolled for 129. As he went in to bat, the Blues were 4/11 & staggering. However, he went on to bat through the innings, finally finishing on 102*. Remarkable!

After the Xmas break, a feeble Freo-Mossie were thrashed outright with Brendan scoring 25, but with most of the work done by the quicks, he took 2/13, and 2/5 off a few overs in each innings.  In the next round, Brendan returned his season best figues of 6/73 against Doubleview, and then took 3/35 off 24 in a winning match at High Wycombe, and 4/54 off 25 v Applecross.

The qualifying season was over, and Brendan's 42 wickets @ 10, and 320 runs @ 30, were enough for him to become the Blue's inaugural McInerney Medallist.  A worthy winner!

It was a Great Year for Brendan & the Club, as The Mighty Blues went on to win their first 1st Grade Premiership. More about that later in this series of articles.

Next week, we look back in time at another great left hander, who also had had, a Great Year! 

 

Great Year 5

This is the fifth in a series of 10 articles about great seasons by a Bentley player, team, or the overall club.  No series such as this, would be complete without an analysis of a great year by our champion left arm spinner, Geoff Farrall.

Having just brought up his own 50 prior to the start of the 1976/77 season, Geoff pondered whether to play on, and perhaps prevent a younger player getting a game.  At that time he had achieved virtually everything an individual could.  As well as service as President of WASTCA & President of Bentley, he had taken 776 wickets at an average of 10 for his beloved Navy Blues.

As luck would have it, the Club had decided to expand to a third side that year and the call went out for all availble players to participate.  As always Geoff would do anything for the Club, and donned his whites again.

During the qualifying season, he once again led the Bentley & WASTCA bowling awards taking 69 wickets at an average of 7. Among his match hauls were 10/55 & 10/69. 

Not surprisingly the Blues made the finals and shaped off against Wanneroo Districts (later to become a WACA club) at Morris Mundy in Kensington.  Wanneroo batted first and against some extremely tight bowling, grafted to 140 off 72 overs.  Geoff bowled 25 overs in succession to take 7/44 in a marathon performance. Despite the traditional wobble in the run chase, the Blues got home the next day to finish on 155, thereby qualifying for the Grand Final.

The Grand Final against old foe Churchlands was an absolute epic.  Club historian, Tony Malins, described it as 'the most enthralling game of cricket I have had the pleasure to watch'.

After being asked to bat first, the Blues slumped from 5/73 to be all out for 78.  However Bentley, led by Geoff (3/28), bowled magnificently to dismiss Churchlands for 102, a lead of just 24.

The next morning Bentley batted again and were in dire straights at 5/43, when hard hitting wicket keeper Don Glover, came in.  Donny showed no nerves teeing off for a quick fire 66, as Bentley got to 136 providing a lead of 113.  Bentley were back in the game in a match where the pendulum continually swung from team to team. 

At 2/71, Churchlands were back in control, but Geoff stepped up to take 5 wickets to have them 9/101.  Soon after the No 11 came in, he popped up a simple catch to cover off Geoff, but it was dropped!

In a very tense finish, Churchlands last 2 batmen added the 13 needed to get them home.  A devastating outcome, to a brilliant match!

In the final wash up, Foxy had taken an amazing 86 wickets at an average of 7.  It was a Great Year!

Next week we go back nearly 20 years to a season that was to lay the foundations of the golden Bentley era to come.

 

Great Year 6

This is the sixth in a series of 10 articles about Great Years by a Bentley individual, team, or the whole Club.

Playing cricket for Bentley in the last 5 years of the Millenium, was an absolute pleasure.  The Club had won just 4 premierships  in our first 42 seasons, but went on to win another 5, in the next five years.  The indominable spirit of Captain / Coach, Steve Shearing, had made a decisive, brilliant impact on the Blues.

By far the jewel in the crown of the premierships, was the top sides success in Grade 2 in 1998/99.  This victory ended a 13 year hoodoo, since the top side had previously won a premiership in 1985/86.

In the preceding seasons under Steve's guidance, the club had gone through a period of aggressive recruitment, so much so, that at the commencement of 1997/98, there were high expectations around The Mighty Blues.

The boys burst out of the blocks & won their first 6 matches.  Chuck and Paapy were getting big runs, whilst Scotty Vallow, Junior & Tony Magill were taking 5 fa bags. Pre-Xmas, in a season defining match, Bentley lined up against second placed Nedlands at College Park.

Nedlands posted a handy 171, and took a couple of quick wickets before stumps on the first day to have Bentley on the ropes.

Words are hard to describe the carnage that occurred the next week.  Paapy made an incredible, undefeated 220, which included 35 fours and two sixes, which got us to 343.  Simply put, shot making at its best.  His total, surpassed the Club's previous highest individual score of 187*, made by Vercs some 20 years earlier.

Scotty Vallow continued on through the season with more 5 wicket hauls, whilst Paapy continued in the runs, to pick up the Association Batting Trophy and the Hayward Medal.  His opening batting partner, Matt Harmer, won the Association Fielding Trophy.

After finishing on top, the Bentley Blues ventured to Curtin Uni for a semi-final versus Freo-Mosman Park.  The heavens opened Saturday morning, and it bucketed down all afternoon.  The Freo players became instant curators and worked all night to get the pitch up. However, their hopes were shattered, when the umpires deemed the pitch unsafe to play on.  So a 92 overs a side GF, against Wembley at Scott Reserve, awaited.

Steve won the toss, and with Bentley 0/40 the Gods seemed to be with us.  Wembley boasted one of the fastest bowlers ever seen in our competition, so Matt Harmer's 36 wasn't just one of his most valuable innings for the club, it was also one of his most courageous.  In addition the opposition had recent WA leg spinner, Giles Bush playing. Bush was to bowl over 30 overs of tight, leggies in a fine exhibition that pegged the Blues back. From a shaky 5/137 at stumps, Chuck's steely 54* in a 3 hour epic, led Bentley to 9/196 off their 92 overs.

Hopes were high as the sides 2 strike bowlers Scotty, 3/51 off 31, and Tony 2/42 off 24, toiled away manfully.  (These 2 bowlers took 79 wickets between them, of the 130 wickets that fell that season.)  However Wembley got to 7/171 and appeared set for a victory, when Steve made the biggest call of his captaincy career, bringing on Paapy & Mark Lukan to try and get a break through.  And they responded magnificently, taking the 3 wickets quickly to give Bentley a 21 run victory.  Lukes's right hand screamer caught and bowled, started the celebrations.

What a win!  What a Great Season!  The big wins, after a long, long wait, always seem sweeter.

It was to be a big nite at the Club. Glenn Davies B grade team had taken the 4th Grade premiership, for the second time in 2 seasons. 

Next week we move forward in time, to a season when The Mighty Blues were doing things on the Double!     

Great Year 7

This is the 7th article in a series of 10, about great Bentley years, by a player, team or the whole Club.

After stellar seasons in making successive Grand Finals in 2009 & 2010, the cricketing Gods had conspired against the Mighty Blues in the next 2 years, to put finals success out of their reach.

However, at the start of 2012/13, there was great excitement around the Club with 60th Anniversary celebrations in full swing, and the addition of quality WACA all rounder, Shane Saxon, & Warwickshire quick, Tom Allen.  Premiership winning tyro Jack Duffy, had also returned after a brief hiatus, adding depth to a quality batting line up, and setting club expectations high.

The Bentley machine quickly rolled into gear against Tuart Hill, with Tom showing he could bat with a hard hitting 61, before rain saved the Lions at home.  The next round Omo 90, and skipper, Hooves 84, looked ominously good, as they put together a 154 partnership, before Dayesy chipped in with a 4 fa.

Up to MacDonald to face a Whitfords team that no longer held any fears for the Mighty Blues.  After a 1st Saturday washout, Whitfords made just 128 off their 40 overs. Sacko was hitting his straps with the ball taking 4/23, before Dayesy iced the game with 63*, as Bentley won by 9 wickets.  A late rescue at Swanbourne by Tommy 57, got us to 173, before the once proud Swannies collapsed for 68, and 103, against the brilliant Hiten 4/23 in the 1st dig, and Sacko 4/16 in the 2nd.  A big one day win over fellow finals contenders Bassendean followed, with Dayesy taking the honours with 53* off 52, and 3/21.

Undefeated at Xmas was achieved for the first time in 60 years, with a brilliant win at High Wycombe.  Jack Duffy was the hero with the bat with 79, whilst Dayesy was thrown the new ball in Hiten's absence, and responded with 4/19 off 11.  It was a brilliant piece of captaincy by Hooves, and set in motion, plans for later in the season.

Meanwhile the T20 competition had started, and with 2 wins out of 3 games, Bentley had qualified for the quarter finals.

With Wyong still unavailable, our road warriors travelled to Pat Goodridge where they beat Wembley in a low scoring affair, before up to Monyash to chase down a handy 140 from Doubleview, with Mat Smith the highlight with a hard hitting 49.

Hopes of going thru undefeated still looked good, when we were 2/156 at Kent St (Hooves 64, Omo 62), but a collapse to be all out 204, gave Applecross the chance they needed to pass us with 6 wickets down.  Finally, back to Wyong, where Swan Athletic were too good, despite Dayesy's 7/45. Tom was recalled to Warwickshire, so Dayesy took the new ball at Swan Valley in the next match, taking a 5 fa off 27 overs, to go with his 55 runs, whilst Omo continued in great nick with 65.

T20 action was also hotting up with another touch up of Swanbourne at home, with Hooves 50, and Omo 71* starring.  At the semi, Hooves was again brilliant with 43 of the total of 102 against Swan Valley, who had defeated us in the previous year's GF.  Dayesy 3/4 and Hiten 3/16 ensured revenge was sweet, as the Valley were rolled for 68.

And so to another T20 GF, Bentley's fourth in the 5 years since its inception.  Ocean Ridge set a handy 9/109, however Hooves 39* led the Mighty Blues to 5/109 off their 20 overs.  A tie? A bowl off tie breaker?  No, a victory to Bentley under the 'Lost less wickets rule'!!  There was amazing scenes of confusion, before the verdict was confirmed.

This was Bentley's 2nd win in the T20 Division 1 competition!

Back to the Championship, and Bentley had finished 2nd on the ladder and hosted nemesis Applecross in a semi final.  Heavy rain made for a soft pitch and Applecross inserted the Mighty Blues.  Dayesy was supurb with his 49 anchoring the side to 141, a total that looked about 60 short against a star studded opposition.  However there was still fight in Bentley, with Dayesy opening the bowling and bowling thru with 4/60 off 30, the visitors were dismissed for just 122, on a pitch that had dried out and played perfectly.  This was to be one of Bentley's finest ever wins.

So to Pat Goodridge again for a GF, a la 2009, but this time against reigning dual premiers, High Wycombe.  The BlueBoys were on a high, & when Mat 29, & JT 37, added a half century opening partnership, their was good cause for optimism.

Cometh the moment, cometh the man.  Omo's fluent 86 was described by many pundits at the ground, as the greatest innings ever played by a Bentley batsman.  Against a top quality Bulldogs attack, the Blues made 9/244.  In reply High Wycombe were never really in the game after being reduced to 7/105.  A mini fightback got them to 188, with Hiten 4 fa, and Sako and Dayesy 3 each.

This was a brilliant Premiership against all the odds of continually playing on the road.  If the 2009 GF win went down as one for the Club, this win went down as one for the players in the team.  They were magnificent all year!

To cap off the season Omo was the MVP in the GF, Dayesy won the McInerney (WASTCA) & Hayward (Bentley) medals, as the best player, and Omo even won the bat raffle at the WASTCA wind up!

The Mighty Blues has become the first Double winners by winning the Championship, and the T20.  It was a great year! 

Next week we revisit the 1980's, when a drought was broken, and there was 'that' partnership.

 

Great Year 8

This is the 8th article in a series of 10, about great Bentley years, by a player, team or the whole Club.

Unlike the 1970's, which have been earlier chronicled as a fairly turbulent period for the Club, the 1980's were more of a stable decade.  Perhaps a significant reason for this, may be attributed to the Canning Sports Club being opened in 1980, thereby giving the Blues somewhere to call home.

However like much of the 1970's, the early 1980's also were bereft of success. The A grade was continually up and down between 1st & 2nd Grade, without claiming that elusive premiership. 

In 1985/86 the Club was in 2nd Grade and again looked to an outsider, to lead them out of the 12 season wilderness.  Once again Bentley turned to an experienced left hand batsman.  

Peter Taylor was towards the end of a distinguished career as an opening batsman, in the Minor Counties league in the UK.  He brought with him a wealth of experience, and cricketing knowledge, as well as fine leadership qualities.

The Mighty Blues got off to a flyer with the unheralded Gary Harbord making a magnificent, undefeated 102. He featured in a fourth wicket stand of 129 with Brian Hayward 54. John Williams took a 5 fa to ensure the first up victory.  In a brilliant win at Tompkins in Fixture 2, Bentley recovered from 6/96, to chase down Melville's 276.  Lloyd Dungey was supurb chasing his maiden century, only to be left stranded on 99*, after the last ball was bowled. (Lloyd was granted 'Honorary' membership of the 100 Club that evening, and of course achieved full membership in his own right a number of years later.)

Gary 74, continued his run spree back at Wyong adding 152 with Ace 77, as the Blues won their 3rd game. Peter Taylor then swung into gear at EJ scoring 95 to ice the fourth match, and then 76 in the 5th game at Wyong, with support in the form of a century partnership from Ace 53* & Gary 51*, as Bentley sat on top with five out of five.

After riding the crest of a wave, the Blues were then unceremoniously dumped to the tune of three straight losses.  This was despite the continued good form of Ace in those fixtures of 5-32, 5-67 and 52.

Despite the set-back, Bentley bounced back with three wins to finish in fourth position. Ace 5-59, 67*and 53* continued in good nick, with help from Steve Cox 51, & John Williams 5-29.

After the qualifying rounds the batting figures had great depth with Ace 51.7, Lloyd 48.2 & Gary 44 all returning healthy averages, whilst the bowling was also led by Ace 31 @ 19, Ian Dicko 27 @ 17, Nairny 25 @ 20 and Johnny Williams 24 @ 17. 

The Semi Final brought Bentley up against Grade Winners Hamersley/Carine. Peter Quartermaine, dropped for the final qualifying game, chose the ideal time to show his true ability, and his 76 was the only score above 30 in the Blue's 196. In reply Hamersley/Carine never came to terms with the bowling led by Nairny 4-26 off 23, and they were dismissed for 140.

A 92 over Grand Final against Marist Newman Old Boys (latterly Subi-Marist), at College Park awaited. Despite some long spells by each of the 4 bowlers, it was the MNOB batsmen who took the honours finishing with 9/250, a daunting target in any game, let alone a Grand Final.  Quarters continued in his good form with 44, but after The Mighty Blues had slumped to 6/83, all was just about lost.

In came Matt Knowles, to join Lloyd at the crease.  By his own admission, Knowlesy wasn't that good a batsman.  However, he had played hockey for WA, having been very close to Australian honours, so he was used to big games & was not overawed by the occasion. He and Lloyd, pushed, prodded and snicked the ball thru a very intense period, before opening up and playing their shots in a tense 3 hour partnership. When Knowlesy departed for 79, he and Lloyd had added 148 for the 7th wicket, to get Bentley within 20 runs of victory. Fittingly Lloyd knocked off the winning run shortly thereafter, finishing with 59*.

It was an unbelievably good run chase.  It broke the 12 year premiership drought. It was a Great Year!

Next week, we go back in time as the fledging Bentley Blues win their first premiership!  

 

Great Year 9

This is the 9th article in a series of 10, about great Bentley years, by a player, team or the whole Club.

In this article we examine the 1958/59 season when Bentley Park, as they were known then, won their first premiership.

It was a different time and a different place.  Wyong Reserve did not become available for another 5 years, hence the Club had previously put down a concrete pitch to practice on, at A.Spencer's property in Mills Street Cannington.

It was an era when the family car, for many, was a dream rather than a reality. Players would meet centrally to share the few cars available to get to games.  At the end of the season, it was noted that 23 cents was in the Club's bank account.

Since its inaugural season in 1953, The Blues had always had strong bowling attacks, but struggled to make big scores.  This was to change in 1958/59 with the arrival of the gifted left hand batsman, Ken Esmond.  In this premiership year, Ken was to make three centuries & four half centuries, totalling 729 runs at an average of 66.27. This Club record for an individual's total runs in a season, still stands today.

Bentley Park competed in a six team "B" Grade competition, and had a brilliant qualifying season resulting in an 8-1 winning ratio.  The bowling was outstanding and got away to a flyer in the first match against Floreat Park dismissing them for an all time opposition low, of just 14.

Brian Trouchet led the bowling with 43 wickets @ 6.9.  He was followed by Ted Treasure 38 @ 7.1, Geoff Farrall 37 @ 6.2, and Roy Down 32 @ 10.4.

Having finished on top of the ladder at the end of the qualifying season, Bentley went straight through to a Grand Final against Graylands at Forrest Park in East Perth.

Graylands batted first making just 66, with Roy Down taking 5-24.  At 3-21 Bentley Park were struggling a little, but a fine stand of 103 between Geoff Farrall 63, and Ken Esmond put the Blues well on top. A subsequent partnership of 176 for the sixth wicket between Esmond and Roy Down 101 put the result beyond any doubt. Esmond finished with 138 and Bentley 349, an all time high for the Club. A dispirited Graylands were routed for 47 in 75 minutes in their second innings with
Brian Trouchet taking 5-22.

It was a wonderful win for the fledgling club without a home.  Their matches were played at Raphael, Wellington Square & The Esplanade. Extra social matches were played between the 9 scheduled fixtures so that all 16 players on the roster, could participate. 

At the wind up that season, over 100 people danced the night away celebrating The Mighty Blues victory.  It was a Great Year!

To complete this series of Great Year articles, next week we review the year the monkey came off the back, as the boys from Bentley became first grade champions! 

 

Great Year 10

This is the 10th and final article, about great Bentley years, by a player, team, or the whole Club.

In closing, the author wishes to acknowledge & thank, Club Historian Tony Malins, whose meticulous record keeping, and analysis, has enabled this series to be written.

In this final article we examine the 2008/09 season, when Bentley won their historic, first, 1st Grade premiership.

Whilst the Mighty Blues had shown steady improvement in the previous decade, the initial stimulus to have a 'red hot premiership tilt', came from an unlikely source.

Kiwi journeyman Michael Schoelfield, had recently taken over as 1st Grade captain, and immediately saw the potential of a brilliantly, talented group of young cricketers. Schoe urged the Club to bring in some experienced quality cricketers, to add depth to the team.  Messrs Solomon, Coverdale & Wittenslegger, duly arrived at the Blues to bolster the playing stocks.

Whilst Schoe didn't go on to play on in the GF himself, his contribution was critical.  Of course there were many others behind the scenes, who had also played their part, in fact too many to name individually. However, it certainly was a case of 'Team Bentley', as many did their part, all ably led by President Steve Shearing.

As the season started, Soly was in charge as skipper, whilst Covers worked closely with him, using his in depth cricket knowledge.  They were a formidable leadership team.

Covers scored a fine 91 in the first game, but despite Pressie taking 4/56, the Blues lost to Bedford in a close one. Fixture 2 was washed out as the Blues had Wembley down and out, but finally got a win in the next round with Hooves scoring a brilliant ton.  Fixture 4 was also washed out with another Blues win seemingly in the bag. 

In round 5, Covers led with 98, whilst Dayesy took 5/28 to ice the game at Western Suburbs. Dayesy then had the Superman cape on at Whitfords, taking 5/45 & making a game winning ton not out.  Three, one & two, at the break, which should have been 5 & 1 if not for wash outs.

A batting exhibition of 110* by Covers at Freo-Mossie set up an outright with the wickets shared around.  Dayesey's 6/73 was not enough to beat Doubleview, whilst Arden's 98, and Pressie's 5 fa at High Wycombe, ensured a good win. 

A tie at home versus Applecross, and then a breathtaking 96 by Arden, with 50's to Covers & Jack Duffy, made for an easy win at Swan Valley, and 2nd position on the ladder after the qualifying round.

The semi-final at Scott Reserve v Doubleview looked like getting away at 2/65, but Pressie slipped into gear bowling leg cutters at 140 km/hr.  A brilliant spell saw him take 6/36 as the opposition were all out for 100.  Special mention of one of the finest reflex catches taken by a Bentley player as Omo took a screamer at very short, backward square leg.  The Blues batted steadily the next day to finish at 7/161.  Soly played a captain's courageous knock of 31* to top score.

And so to Goodridge to play Applecross in an 80 over GF.  Getting in first, despite Arden & Covers making 30's the Mighty Blues were 7/80 at tea.  Some were thinking...maybe you have to lose one to win one.  However, the Fanayan bros had other thoughts and each played their most important innings of their careers to that time with Fab 34 & Omo 39.  The indefatigable Pressie, was also to play his most valuable innings, making 35 batting at 10, leading Bentley to a handy total of 203 after 78 overs.  The Blues were back in the game.

Day 2 started brilliantly. Applecross's 3 top batsmen were back in the sheds with only 1 run on the board.  This was to be Bentley's day, as wickets fell regularly, with 2 wickets each to MVP Pressie, Hiten & Dayesy.

 If Jim Maxwell had been there, he may have described the last moments of the match like this:

'Applecross are 9/138 as Daye, the talented left arm orthodox, turns at the top of his run, and comes in and bowls to Scheffer who attempts to drive.  He's knicked it, he's gone!! Yes! Solomon has taken a catch behind. He hurls the ball to the heavens, as his team mates sprint in to join the celebration.  This magnificent Bentley team have got off the canvas to win!' 

A brilliant win by the Mighty Blues. The club that was built on mateship, and forged in hard times, had finally achieved the pinnacle!

It was the Greatest Year of All!