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Blackburn Cricket Club Inc.  

Morton Park, 35 Central Road, Blackburn, Vic. 3130

Tel: (03) 9894 1409

ABN 54 085 863 658

© 2017 by Blackburn Cricket Club Inc. 

 

Reconstruction: Post World War 2

The Club's Annual General Meeting for the 1944-45 season was held in August 1944. Only six or seven members were present.  With no officials other than the Secretary present, Bert "Pop" Allen, as the most senior member in attendance, acted as Chairman.

 

In 1946-47, Blackburn fielded two sides in A and C Grades with Bert Allen captaining the C Grade team.

With the return of ex-servicemen and recruitment of new members, player numbers began to grow.  "Pop" Allen is recalled fondly as something of, what in more recent times may be called, a tyrant.  He was a stickler for appearance insisting on players shirts being tucked in and boots polished, reasoning that "if you wanted to be a good cricketer, you first had to look like one".  His strong hand was needed to guide the often unsettled returned servicemen.

During Pop's reign, the Club adopted its first official cap - maroon with a black front panel with the Club's initials in white.  It was rare for players to have their own equipment so consequently the Club's kits had an importance they do not possess in the modern era and enabled anyone willing to play to have a game.  Neville Jacobs performed the onerous task of property manager for the Club for over 15 years during this era.

The Club also had a stylish black blazer with its emblem on the left breast pocket.In many cases, this pocket was detachable so the players could substitute the Football Club's robin emblem for the Cricket Club's during winter season.

As President, "Pop" Allen reintroduced batting, bowling and best clubman trophies together with the annual Presentation Dance.  Regrettably, the players who received those awards during the Fifties, appear to be lost.  In 1950-51 "Pop" Allen led the 2nd XI to the clubs first post-World War 2 flag in C Grade against Warrandyte.  During this period, the players would frequently ride their bikes to away matches including to far flung places like Warrandyte.  And on the A.N.A (Australia Day) weekends after play, Neville Jacobs, who had often bowled a number of overs, would then leap on his bike and ride to Launching Place to join his family camping.

Things became easier in later years when the players would pay Len Toogood (later to become a Blackburn North Legend) sixpence each for petrol money and ride to away fixtures on the back of Len's three ton tray truck.

 

In 1952, a special meeting was convened at the home of "Pop" Allen to organise an Under 16 team.  Only two under age members, a 12 year old Peter "Flash" Foster and Don Dobson, attended.  Notwithstanding that poor attendance, the Club managed to field an Under 16 team for the first time in 1952-53.  The new junior team made an inauspicious start.

Playing on a tiny ground behind the old Surrey Dive, the side only managed to make 27 runs and was annihilated.  "Flash" recalls the entire team being driven to away matches in "Gubby" Allen's single seater Ford with six to eight players in the boot and the others in the front.  The fledgling junior team didn't win a game during that whole first season.

However, in the following two seasons, the Under 16s won the flag.  On both occasions, the team defeated Vermont to claim the first of the Club's many Junior premierships.

 

The Blackburn Cricket Club was on it's knees after the effects of World War 2, and it would not be overstating to say, under Bert "Pop" Allen and his committees saved the Club, and more than that, they rebuilt and laid foundations for the success the Club would enjoy into the future.

Under "Pops" administration the Club's ailing finances, which threatened its survival, were restored, high quality players recruited and spirit injected into the Club through re-instituting player awards and an annual Presentation Dance.  Among his many initiatives, the establishment of a Junior team has been the most enduring legacy he left to the club.

 

Blackburn regained its strength post-war and went on to play in many finals leading into the sixties, including winning 4 senior flags.

  • 1950-51 2nd XI - B Grade vs Warrandyte

  • 1952-53 3rd XI - C Grade vs Box Hill Church of Christ

  • 1957-58 3rd XI - D Grade vs Doncaster Footballers

  • 1958-59 2nd XI - B Grade vs Vermont