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Nervous Nineties



A disappointing on-field season paled in comparison to some other tragedies, which befell the Club this season, with the deaths of 5th XI captain and popular figure Tim Urlichs and famous BHRDCA Umpire Geoff Griffith while playing a veterans' game at Morton Park.  As a mark of respect, the Committee decided that the 5th XI bowling trophy should be named in Tim's honour and the winners of the Club's annual Six-a-Side tournament receive the Geoff Griffith Shield.

Of the senior elevens, only the 6th XI competed in the finals.  It won the semi-final against Forest Hill by 44 runs - 223 to 179.  Unfortunately, in the Final, the side could only muster 109 in reply to Heatherdale's 187 (and 5/220) to finish the season Runners-Up.  The teams finals appearance was in no short measure due to the brilliant individual season of skipper Terry Smith, who won both the Association batting (429 runs at 47.67) and bowling averages (967 wickets at 14.49).

The Club's junior section outperformed their senior counterparts with the Under 14As winning the flag, Under16Bs finishing Runners-Up and the Under 14Bs bowing out in the semi-final.



The 1st XI finished the season agonisingly close to playing finals, after thinking they had just snuck into 4th spot, the Association did a recount (from a round 2 oversight) and Bennettswood replaced Blackburn and went on to win the pennant.

The Firsts had trained on the Tuesday night in anticipation of its first finals appearance in three seasons.  The unenviable task of informing the players of the Association's "count back" fell to first year President Peter "Turk" Turnley.  Neil Robertson recalls:


"It was unusual for Turk to call mid-week and initially I feared someone must have died.  Given those fears, I was quite relieved when Turk delivered the bad news. However, after I put the 'phone down, the disappointment really set in.  It wasn't until later that I thought about how tough it must have been for Turk to make all those calls."

The 4th, 5th and 6th XIs finished the home and away season first, second and first respectively on the ladder.  Despite their "top billing", the Fourths and Sixths were both eliminated in the Semi Finals.  The Fours went down to St. Davids by two wickets - 203 to 8/206, and the Sixths by four wickets to Eley Park 173 to 6/175.

By contrast, Nick Ilic's 5th XI easily defeated East Burwood Uniting in its semi final - 8/194 to 114.  However it could not sustain its momentum in the "big one" eventually going down to Yarraleen 184 and 3 for 136 dec to 209 and 3 for 97.

Again, the juniors enjoyed reasonable success with the Under 16Bs avenging its previous seasons Grand Final loss, the Under 14As finishing Runners-Up and the Under16As being eliminated through a washed out semi-final on the basis of an inferior ladder position.



With its burgeoning player numbers, the Club decided to field eight Senior XIs for the first time to join Nunawading and Vermont South as one of the largest Clubs in the Association.  That bold expansion decision yielded immediate dividends as the Club equalled its best ever previous premiership haul with three senior flags.

The top two XIs had forgettable seasons and the Thirds and Eighths both finished fifth to narrowly miss any March finals action.  Gladly, the 5th, 6th and newly formed 7th XIs all brought pennants back to Morton Park.

  • B3 Grade - 5th XI - Blackburn 149 and 185 Defeated St Davids 97 and 112 outright!!

  • C2 Grade - 6th XI - Blackburn 180 Defeated Mitcham 154.

The 7th XI had what can be called an unbelievable win, after Terry Smith's team slumped to 6 for 19 at stumps chasing St Davids 188.  What unfolded the next day was one of those rescue missions that makes our game great.  Robert "Tex" Toose and Peter Lazer put on amazing 130 run 7th wicket partnership to bring the game within grasp.  When Tex was dismissed for 82, an unfazed Richard Turnley joined Lazer and they took they took the team to victory.  The final score was 239.

The Under 16As led by the Coach's son Brad Cullen completely outplayed the top placed Glen Waverley Hawks, which had beaten the boys twice during the home and away season, to take out the major junior grade premiership.


During the winter recess, the Club started running a Bingo Session at the newly established North Blackburn Bingo Center at 7pm on Monday nights.  Mike Dwyer and Gary "Bags" Feenane, ably supported by Mark Paterson, Ian McCarty and Neil Robertson, managed these sessions, which were beginning to pay dividends in terms of the Club building investment funds for the redevelopment of the Morton Park Clubrooms.

A Council grant enabled the Club to replace the wicket on the top ground at Morton Park with a wider pitch and longer run-ups, an innovation which set a new standard in the Box Hill Reporter.


In what would to be a momentous decision for the Club, the Committee appointed Craig Gislingham as coach during the off season and also coaxed Darren Croft back to the Club as Assistant Coach.

With the injection of these, and other recruits into the Senior Eleven, the consequent "domino effect" down the grades and the development of several promising young juniors, the Club looked forward to the season with justifiable optimism.

The Firsts lost out to Heatherdale in the semi final, the Seconds led by Steve Sweeney, were routed by Vermont South in the Grand Final to finish Runners-Up.  The Thirds just missed fourth spot after a great outright win in the last round, the Fourths were left to hold up the rest of the ladder. The 5th, 6th and 7th XIs unfortunately could not repeat their last season grand-final victories, and finished out of the finals, the Eighth XI finished strongly to get to 6th on the ladder.

All three junior sides made the Grand Final in their age group, but sadly all fell at the last hurdle.

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