Every year in local cricket there are a handful of clubs who have a very good year.
Their first eleven go back to back to back, the competition medal winner hails from their club and three players make the Team of the Year, all of their sides make the Grand Final, even better all of their sides win their Grand Finals.
In the NMCA 2016/17 Season, Heidelberg West had a very good year. Every senior team made the Grand Final, and then they won them. Whilst this is an exceptional feat, it is not particularly unusual, until you look a tad closer and notice that one of these senior teams was their Women’s Team. Peer a little closer and you will notice that there were two sets of siblings and five couples who won these premierships across the men’s and women’s teams. It wasn’t just a very good year, it was absolutely unprecedented.
Women's Training at Heidelberg Park
Situated in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, the Heidelberg West Cricket Club originated in the 1960s and its teams played the majority of their cricket in the Heidelberg District Cricket Association. When the HDCA folded in 2011, they moved across and joined the NMCA. Whilst they won a Grand Final during a regrading season in Quick Shield in 2012/13 they lost the subsequent promotion game that would have seen them move into A Grade. Since this time further premiership success had eluded the club, until now.
Fielding teams in Jack Quick Shield (B Grade), Les Horne Shield (B Reserve), E Grade and the Women’s Cricket Competition, President and Women’s Cricket Team Coach Calvin Robinson, states that he was ‘quietly hopeful’ that at least one of the men’s teams and the women’s team would come close to Premiership success this season.
Heidelberg West was one of the four founding teams in the Women’s Cricket Competition in 2015/16, and had made two T10 Tournament Grand Finals before reaching the Grand Final of the Lenore Smith Shield (Division Two) this year. The inclusion of marquee player Morgan Flinn, (an NMCA Junior alumni) into the team for the Summer Season added an extra family tie to a team full of wives, girlfriends and partners. The club had entered the season optimistic about their chances for another tilt at winning Jack Quick Shield and gaining the promotion to A Grade but what eventuated was something much greater. It all began on the first Sunday in March when their Women’s Team played their first Grand Final against Preston YCW District.
Having been sent in to bat first, Heidelberg West posted a total of 5/154 before having Preston YCW District 7 for 21 in their innings. Whilst Preston YCW rallied, they were eventually dismissed for 80 and Heidelberg West was crowned the Lenore Smith Shield Premiers. On the same day, the Second and Third XI’s went on to win their way through to their respective Grand Finals the following weekend, and the juggernaut began to roll.
Lenore Smith Shield PRemiers Heidelberg West & runners up Preston YCW District
On Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March, both the Second and Third XI’s played in Grand Finals. Victory looked unlikely in the second XI game with Heidelberg West falling to 5 for 30 chasing 79, however a tenth wicket partnership between brothers Andrew and Riley Muir saw a very unexpected win. Elsewhere in the third eleven, opposition team Bundoora Park posted 117 which was comfortably chased down by Heidelberg West with seven wickets in hand and plenty of overs to spare.
By halfway through March, three of the four senior teams had won Premierships and the First Eleven had just won their way through to the Jack Quick Grand Final the following weekend.
The First XI match against rivals Preston Baseballers was a spirited affair, having won the toss Heidelberg West chose to bat and posted a score of 182. Their opponents could only manage 158 in response. The Premiership Quartet had been completed.
The Four Heidelberg West Premiership Teams
As the dust settled on an extraordinary season that weekend, it became clear that we had just witnessed something very special. We wondered if there was any other association or club in Victoria, perhaps even Australia, who could lay claim to having five premiership winning couples and two sets of premiership winning siblings in the one season, it seemed unlikely at best.
There were Michael, Stephen and Morgan Flinn, the siblings who all won Premierships at Heidelberg West this year. Having played their junior cricket throughout the NMCA, as adults they all came to play at the same club in 2016/17.
Adelle and Michael Missen are parents to 2 and a half year old Claire and 6 month old William, who also happen to both be Premiership Players. Adele came back to cricket after a brief stint playing in high school in the late 90s and has played around the birth of her son. Her love for cricket at Heidelberg West is based around the bond the girls in the team share and ‘being a great example to her kids, showing them…what teamwork looks like’. A batsman and vice-captain of the second eleven, this was Michael’s first premiership after ten years at Heidelberg West. Much like Adelle his highlight is the close bond she has with her teammates and getting to watch his wife enjoy herself playing cricket.
Rebecca and Greg Camilleri have five children, and now they also have two premiership medals between them. As the Co-Captain of the Women’s Team Rebecca was the first Camilleri to pick up a Premiership medal in Season 2016/17, Greg as the First XI Wicketkeeper soon followed suit.
Husband and wife, Andrew and Louise Muir also enjoyed Premiership success together. Lou is Co-Captain of the Women’s Team and also plays in the team with her sister Lauren. As Captain and opening batsman of the second eleven Andrew has appreciated Lou’s understanding that playing cricket isn’t just ‘standing around doing nothing’ all Saturday, and Lou finally gets ‘why the guys get so frustrated with themselves!’ Cricket is more than a game at Heidelberg West, it is a family affair.
The heidelberg West Family
In our small corner of the cricketing world things continue to grow and change. Unusual records are being set, couples are winning Premierships, clubs are uniting as cricket families, conversations and expectations are changing and a new type of cricket story is being written. As it continues to expand and evolve, it will be told to friends, children and the wider cricket community, bringing more people to play the game we all love with a vision that will start to change the game forever. Cricket is a sport for all, and nowhere is that more brilliantly encapsulated than at the Heidelberg West Cricket Club.
And if you happen to meet anyone from Heidelberg West walking down the street in the near future and you ask them how they went this season, don’t be surprised to hear, this year, was a Very Good Year.