As far as records show and from photos of earlier teams The Ellerslie Cricket Club was up and running in the early 1920’s playing in the Auckland City & Suburban competition. We do have proof that their was a wicket at the Ellerslie Gardens, now the Auckland Racing Club and an All England Eleven played an Auckland Twenty Two in 1877 so we say if there was a wicket why not a cricket club?
The name of such a club is not known but we have our money on it being “The Ellerslie Cricket Club”.
The Roaring Twenties
Given all that the fact is we know the club existed in the 1920’s and was very strong playing in the City & Suburban Competition.
One famous name that appears in the photos is Charlie Kerr. Charlie was a great spinner and many say if he had played in the ACA competition he would have played for Auckland and maybe New Zealand but Charlie was a loyal C & S man and later played for the Greenlane Cricket Club up until the mid Nineties which made him a very mature cricketer indeed.
Not much more is known about the club in those days but we do have photos and a picture speaks a thousand words.
The Fifties & Sixties
The next era we have any history on starts in the 1950’s and this to is made up of photos and some history related by some old time residents in Ellerslie but it is all very sketchy.
We hope to add to this era as information comes to hand but we do have the old faithful photos to fall back on.
We did cater for some very useful schoolboy cricketers in the late Fifties namely Rex Hooten who later went on to play for Northern Districts, Auckland and in later years coached Auckland.
Also John Wiltshire who went on to play for and Captain Auckland.
The Club played out of The Ellerslie Domain in those days as Michaels Ave was just a gorse covered swamp but hard work and dedication by a loyal team helped by the Ellerslie Borough Council transformed it into an excellent sports field but this took many years.
It was and still is shared by the Ellerslie Football Club and between them they purchased and located an old US Army building which became their clubrooms until 1979.
During these years the club had just two Saturday Teams plus a Junior Team playing in the ACA within the Eastern Districts Assn and enjoyed a good competition with clubs like Panmure, Mt Wellington, St Heliers and Parnell.
They also had a very social Sunday team and every Sunday saw a huge picnic atmosphere at the Ave with cricket being the secondary fixture.
Stalwarts of the club were John and June Molesworth and through their hard work the clubs Saturday Teams flourished and later in the Sixties the club gained much needed new blood & went from strength to strength into the 1970’s.
This decade saw the club move from a mid grade club playing good cricket through to the ACA Premiership Competition in just 9 seasons.
We started the Seventies with a strong committee dedicated to getting to the top and each year our overall player strength built up with players like Ross Hackett and Steve Chapman, two very good players from Australia.
Ross played for NSW Juniors in his early years.
Other players to strengthen our club in the early 1970’s were Alan & John Verral, Ian Rout, Graeme Atkinson and many others.
In the 1973/74 season we won the ACA Major Club Championship for clubs with 4 or more teams in their ranks which was a great feather in our cap because from then on everyone sat up and respected us as a club of the future.
That same year we gained the services of Malcolm Beach from the Eden Roskill club and Stu McKay both very good spin bowlers and along with the talents of Steve Chapman and Blain Mahood both medium/fast bowlers we were starting to make heads turn.
During the 1976/77 season the then Secretary of the ACA Mr Quinton Baddelly introduced promotion relegation twice a year and this timed in very well with our performances on and off the field and by winning each grade we entered both at Christmas and at seasons end we were knocking on the Premiership door.
This was starting to upset some of the old boys in the ACA but too late because in the 1978/79 season we won our way into the ACA Premiership Competition and our First A side won their way into the ACA Senior A Competition.
Ellerslie was the first club to actually win its way into the premiership in decades as other clubs like Takapuna & Howick Pakuranga were installed in the premiership purely on club numbers, we won our way in and were proud of it.
ELLERSLIE CRICKET CLUBS FIRST PREMIER TEAM 1979-80:
T House, M Keogh, P Greaney, S Chapman, R Winborn, B Borich, S Sweet, A Hill, M Beach (Capt) A Rowson, C Quensell Absent, W Slack, I Gould, W Hand, M Richards, M Hawke, S McKay, E Flaszynski
The club really started to grow & with the promotion to the Premiership competition we gained the services of two outstanding English professionals, Wilf Slack a stylish left hand opening batsmen and medium pace bowler who was West Indian and Ian Gould an excellent wicketkeeper and right hand batsman.
Both Wilf & Ian hailed from the Middlesex County Cricket Club 2nd X1 but in future years would both move on and play for England.
We took the field in our first Premiership match against Suburbs New Lynn in a one day match up against current Auckland and New Zealand players Peter Webb & John Reid.
Much to everyone’s horror and our delight we won that match and this was the start of some very good years in the 1980’s.
Under the captaincy of first Malcolm Beach and then Bill Fowler the team progressed into a formable cricket team gaining respect within the cricket community and even though some seasons we struggled while in our building stages we never finished last in either the One or Two Day Competitions.
The 1983/84 season was the turning point for the club when we finished
- 2nd in the Major Club Championship,
- 1st in the HEC MEMORIAL ROSEBOWL (best premier run rate)
- 3rd Grade won THE OPOTIKI CUP winning the grade,
- 4th and one day 1 pennant winners for 1st round wins
- and the highlight of the season when the Premiers won the
- LION BREWERIES CUP for the ONE DAY FINAL win over Papatoetoe on the last ball of the day at Eden Park No 1.
This was the year of big, mean Ole (Stan) Mortenson our English professional from Derbyshire. Stan was a fast bowler and hailed from Denmark, he terrified many a batsman and umpire alike.
Other notable players of the day were the old sea dog Alan Hill and the young brigade of Martin Pringle, Martin Bradley, Mark Sumich, John McGregor & Mark Keogh they were to be the nucleus of the team for many years to come under the captaincy of Bill (chook) Fowler.
ELLERSLIE CRICKET CLUB PREMIER TEAM 1983-1984
Winners of the clubs first ACA One Day Championship
[back] M Sumich, F Lancaster (manager and scorer), O Mortenson. [middle] O Broderick, J McGregor, M Bradley, M Pringle. [front] G Douglas, M Keegh, W Fowler (captain), M Smith, B Frost. [Absent] A Hill
This was not to be the last of our successes as we went on to win the ACA 2 DAY PREMIERSHIP title in the 1985/86 season and probably the main reason for this was a good all round team spearheaded by Devon Malcolm a very fast right arm bowler and another West Indian playing out of the Derbyshire County Club in England. Devon also moved on to play for England and took many wickets at test level.
This win was very exciting as once again Papatoetoe were our main rival with only 4.28 points separating the two teams going into the last match of the season but an outright victory over University saw us through to our first major premiership title.
As well the Senior A also won the PRESIDENTS CUP as winners of the Senior A competition making the 1985/86 season the most successful in the history of the ELLERSLIE CRICKET CLUB.
Other One Day Championship titles were collected in 1986/87 over Takapuna, 1989/90 over Suburbs New Lynn and 1991/92 over Cornwall.
We also played in the Premiership final against Grafton in a 3 day match at Eden Park but were outclassed on this occasions but finishing 2nd was no mean feat. Sadly a number of our premier players retired in the early nineties leaving a big gap to fill but we have had many fine performances since and many more to come.
ELLERSLIE CRICKET CLUB PREMIER TEAM 1985-1986
ACA PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS BISS THEW KNOCKOUT WINNERS
M Bradley, M Pringle, F Lancaster (Scorer) J McGregor, K Hjorth (President) D Malcolm, D Cosgrove (Life Member) H Patel, G Broderick, W Fowler (Capt) M Sumich, A Rowson B Frost, (Absent) A Hill, J Harding, R McKinlay, M McMillan
As well as the contribution given by all the players over this period to gain such successes it would not have been possible without the undying presence of Frank (Bomber) Lancaster The Premier Teams scorer. Bomber has hardly missed a game and is still turning up wet or fine to score for the team he has cared for, for over 20 years. Now that is dedication.
This decade started well but as mentioned the retirement of some of our established players saw the club go back into a rebuilding mode and as we have not gained great heights the club has been steady. Financial woes affected us like many other sports clubs in the later part of the decade and ongoing committees have worked hard to fix the problems.
As is of most sports the success of the club is gauged on the top team and unfortunately due to a restructure by the ACA the Premier Team was relegated to a new grade called 1st grade with promotion relegation so the challenge now is to gain that all important competition win and find our selves back in the Premier Division.
This can be done, 2001/2002 saw us finish second to our old foe Papatoetoe so 2002/2003 is going to be the year. We have the players to do it we just need the application and hard work.
ECC CRICKETEERS MID EIGHTEES
W Chapman, T Little, R Hooker, Frank Lancaster, S Chapman, K Hjorth, T House, R Finlay, V Patel, S Hayes, N McCracken, J Simms
Over the years we have had our share of players making representative level and I will attempt to name them all but do apologise if I have missed anyone or the teams they have played in.
There were also many others who made grade rep teams for Auckland over the years, far too many to mention.
- Shona Gilchrest = Auckland and New Zealand
- Rob McKinlay = Auckland and New Zealand Under 20
- Sean Tracey = Auckland and New Zealand
- Martin Pringle = Auckland and New Zealand A
- Bill Fowler = Auckland
- Martin Bradley = Auckland
- Emily Drumm = Auckland, New Zealand.
When we made the premiership grade we decided the club need a boost in player strength and coaching so it was decided to draw on the English County Professional to help us and following is a list of the players who have graced the Ellerslie Club and a profile on their ability.
- Wilf Slack, Left Hand Batsman & Medium Pace Bowler. Wilf played for Middlesex and England.
- Ian Gould, Right Hand Batsman and Wicket keeper. Ian played for Middlesex, Auckland & England.
- Iain Anderson, Right hand Batsman. Iain played for Derbyshire.
- Ole Mortenson, Fast Right Arm Bowler. Ole played for Derbyshire & Denmark.
- Tim Watts, Right Hand Batsman Tim played in the Yorkshire League
- Bernie Maher, Wicket Keeper, Right Hand Batsman. Bernie played for Derbyshire.
- William Fowler, Left arm spin bowler & batsman. Bill played for Derbyshire, Auckland & Northern Districts.
- Devon Malcolm, Fast Right Arm Bowler. Devon played for Derbyshire and England.
- Harshad Patel, Right Hand Batsman.
- Bradley Parker, Right Hand Batsman. Bradley played in the Yorkshire League
There are of course many others who paid their own way out to play for Ellerslie during their off season.
Over the years the club has had many personalities through its ranks but some were to become or were more famous than just cricketers.
Roger Douglas = Politician, Minister of Finance. David Curtis = Pop Star Doug Cowie = NZ Cricket Umpire.
One thing about this club over the years is we have had many personalities, not as famous as those mentioned above but real personalities in their own right. Unfortunately for the readers sake we are unable to pass on the reasons.
We must remember those that are no longer with us but did so much for the club over the years.
Harold Butler A great stalwart of the Junior Club who worked tirelessly for years to promote the youth in Ellerslie.
Wilf Slack Our first club pro who sadly passed away while playing the game he loved in a benefit match in Africa.
Steve Chapman Came from Australia in 1968 and joined the club as a fast bowler and became one of the heroes of the clubs win to the premiership. Steve worked as club steward and committee member for many years until he was murdered on the park while leaving a Soccer Social.
This chore is one of the hardest for any club to come to terms with but is a necessary evil we must all come to grips with.
Over the years we have strived to gain sponsorship, run raffles and tried many other ways to raise funds but probably our greatest triumph was when we decided in the mid Seventies that we needed new clubrooms.
A small committee from the Cricket & Soccer Clubs was formed to identify the problem and to come up with a plan.
This was taken on with gusto and eventually the master plan was accepted by all those involved.
One of our members, David Cosgrove a self confessed entrepreneur, took on the challenge and with the help of the Ellerslie Borough Council, The Penrose Rotary Club and many other community sports clubs we started the fundraising.
There were many different avenues taken. The FUND RAISING QUEEN where every club or team took on a young lady and went forward to raise money in order for the young lady to win the crown and in turn for the clubs to realise the end goal.
We did everything possible but the two major assaults was The Ellerslie Fair held in the shopping centre where the main street was closed and stalls, jumble sales and you name it was done to raise the funds.
At the end of the time allotted a grand ball was held at Trillos in Westhaven for the crowning and the totalling of funds.
We were on our way, the design for the building had been approved and funds from local government had all but been approved. This turned out to be the hardest part as just at this time the Government put a freeze on local spending and we had to revisit the design but in the end we had done enough to realise what is now standing at Michaels Ave and at the time they were the flashest clubrooms in Auckland and a credit to all concerned.
Over the years Ellerslie has always suffered from a moving population which made it hard to gain junior cricketers and keep them through to senior level.
Going by photos taken of teams in the 1920’s we had real strength and again in the 1950’s.
In the 70’s a new influx of youth joined the club as it was critical by ACA rules that all clubs must foster junior cricket.
It is usually left up to a few keen parents to ensure the kids are looked after and coached properly and the club has been lucky to have them.
People like Roy Schnauer, John Molesworth, Dave Cosgrove, Harold Butler, Wayne Young and many more were assisted by regular club members over the years but during the 90’s Kevin Williams took over the mantel and has run the Junior section without fault. He has raised the junior membership to figures never realised in the past and has gained sponsorship for all teams.
As a result of all his hard work we are now seeing the youth moving into the grades and staying with the club.
Also the Junior Club has never had so many reps in both the zone squads and playing for Auckland, this can only be a plus for the club in the future.
Like junior cricket it has always been a tough assignment to get a Ladies Team to be associated with the club but with winning comes recognition and in the early 80’s we gained a ready made team from ALHA made up of some very good cricketers including past NZ & Auckland reps.
This team played in the top Auckland grade and were very competitive as well as a lot of fun in the social aspect of the club with the guitar playing evenings etc.
Over the years this team disbanded and we went without a team for a few years but now with a lot of hard work by people like Jason Trowill and others we have another team up and running and with plenty of promise.
We have celebrated two anniversaries over the past 20 years our 60th in 1982 and our 75th in 1997. Both occasions were special for the club bringing past members together and talking over past times and exploits.
Probably the most celebrated occasion was in 1982 when the Auckland Racing Club named a race after the club and the winners photo is still displayed in the clubrooms.
Our 75th was also a special night with past members coming from as far a field as Australia and The South Island.
What would we do without them that special band of people who give up their free time to run the club?
The AGM is usually poorly attended just the old faithful and those that think they can do better than those before them.
It is true though that without these people from all walks of life the club would not exist. Some fall by the way side others hang in for years.
As a past Secretary, Treasurer & President I know what it is like and I take my hat off to all those past and present committee members who have made the club over the years.
There should never be a conclusion to this page as history keeps rolling on and I trust that the next person that some day takes up the job to add more history has the same enjoyable experiences I have had over many years to relate to those that spend the time to read about the ELLERSLIE CRICKET CLUB.
Warren Chapman Life Member