Nunawading Cricket Club

Alec Culvenor

Alec Culvenor

Alec Culvenor

Alec and Joan Culvenor moved to Nunawading in August 1948. Alec started at Nuna the following season remembering that he introduced himself to Ted Aumann on September 17, 1949 at the Nunawading Ground in Silver Grove. Alec was posted overseas a couple of times in his time at Nuna, with the last posting in November 1966 resulting in his eventual return to Sydney in 1970. 

His transfer to the USA with his company obviously meant he had to resign as Club President. Alec was a Life Member, 4 year Club President and member of 18 years standing. A farewell evening was held for him at George Thatcher’s home in December 1966 and Alec and Joan were presented with gifts from the club in recognition of their services. 

In 1980 Alec and Joan retired to Newstead, where they still live and Alec coached the local Under 16’s for several years. Alec tells a wonderful story albeit starting unfortunately when their home was burgled in 1995. Weeks later a lady living in Cambells Creek rang Alex and asked him if he ever played cricket for Nunawading Cricket Club. Of course Alec had and the lady advised him that her four year old son had picked up his Life Membership Badge in the local creek where the thieves had dumped the things they didn’t want over the bridge rail. The boy was very keen on cricket and the badge appealed to him. The lady noted the name on the back of the badge and tracked Alec down as she thought, rightly, that the owner would place great value on the badge. Alec suitable rewarded the youngster with suitable cricketing material. 

Alec’s favourite cricket memory at Nuna is in a final when “the opposing (champion) batsman objected strongly to Keith Fitzgerald’s bowling. Keith was tall and quick and was accused of bowling bouncers to the point that we [Nuna] were threatened with the reporting on Keith to the umpire (Fred Watson). I [as captain] replied that I would not give them the satisfaction and replaced Keith; where-upon the vocal offender was bowled first ball by the reliever”.

Alec captained the First XI to its first ever premiership in 1957-58 and followed it up with another in 1958-59. He also played in the winning Shield Grade grand final in 1960-61 for a total of three First XI premierships. His highest scores were 157 retired v St Peters in 60-61 and a 180 in 62-63.

A local paper, The Eastern Times, had the following to say about Nunawading's premiership:

" NUNAWADING PREMIERS" 

This is the first A Grade premiership for the Club, in fact the first A Grade final in which they have played. On the first Saturday (March 15, 1958) Blackburn batted first and made 140, R. Street 56 n.o, Tom Reeves 5/15. Nunawading then commenced their first innings, and at stumps were 2/165, compiled in 110 minutes. The innings resumed on the second Saturday (March 22, 1958) and Nunawading only managed to add 52 runs for the remaining 8 wickets. Bob Saker (57) and Alex Culvenor (46), vice captain and captain respectively, were associated in a third wicket partnership of 98. D. Meehan took 7/51. 

Nunawading were 77 runs ahead when Blackburn commenced their second innings and were 6/187 at drawing of stumps on the second day. Resuming on the third and last day (March 29, 1958), Blackburn declared at 9/279, D Meehan 90, C Frank (Captain) 64 n.o. at approximately 2.15 pm leaving Nunawading 202 to make to draw and 203 to win, in approximately even batting time. Nunawading scored 204 for the loss of eight to win by two runs. George Dolan scored 104, Doug Bosworth 36 n.o. while R Street took 3/45 and D Meehan 3/56. They had 25 minutes to spare. 

The President of the Association stated, at the Club's presentation dance held last Saturday at the pavillion that this is the best final match he had seen in 20 years. The following A Grade trophies were presented at the dance: Batting: George Dolan average 36.6, Bowling: Eric Thornton average 11.3, Fielding: Keith Fitzmaurice." The Blackburn First XI players who competed in this Grand Final attended our Presentation Night.

This season, 1957-58 saw Tom Reeves in the President’s chair and Eric Thornton secretary for the first time. Eric issued a ‘Newsheet’ in September 1957 advising that “Teamwork is as much a part of our game as a ball and a bat, teamwork must exist in all sport, even at our place of employment and in our home, so therefore….may I request the co-operations of the members during the season”. He was also trying to offload 8 remaining 56-57 C grade premiership photos for 10 pence each and noted that the committee, at it’s next meeting will be discussing the ground rental of £25 for the season. Arthur Walker and Eric Best were awarded Life Membership in August 1957. 

This team followed up the next season (1958-59) with another premiership, only two changes from the previous seasons premiers with Keith Fitzmaurice and George Hicks replacing Doug Stephens and Eddie Ham. The B grade team narrowly missed the finals when they lost the last game by 3 runs. Alex Culvenor was awarded Life Membership at the AGM on August 26, 1958. Ground reconstruction saw the A grade side playing at Mitcham’s Halliday Park and B grade on the oval behind the Blackburn Hotel (now a carpark)