16 September 2022

The Eastlake Cricket Club celebrates its centenary year

| Tim Gavel
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The 1922 Eastlake Cricket Club team. The side was formed from the staff of the Canberra Cooperative Society Store next to Canberra Railway Station. Photo: Supplied.

The 1922 Eastlake Cricket Club team. The side was formed from the staff of the Canberra Cooperative Society Store next to Canberra Railway Station. Photo: Supplied.

When Bill Findlay and Jack Esmond established the Eastlake Cricket Club in 1922 they perhaps did not contemplate the path the club would follow for the next 100 years.

It’s been a fair journey for Canberra’s longest-standing club across 13 incarnations.

There have been many manifestations of the original Eastlake Cricket Club, including South Eastlake, Kingston, Manuka, Manuka-Yarralumla, Woden, East Canberra, South Woden, Eastern Suburbs, Woden Valley, South Canberra, South Canberra-Eastlake, before eventually returning to the name, Eastlake.

During that journey, in 1928 Kingston and Manuka formed out of the Eastlake Club with Kingston taking over the assets of Eastlake Cricket, which included seven bats, three pairs of leggings and 12 pounds of debt.

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The Eastlake Cricket Club, as it stands today, was formed after the merger of Eastern Suburbs and Woden Valley Cricket Clubs following the reduction of the competition from 10 to eight clubs in 1989.

Initially known as South Canberra Cricket Club (CC), the committee approached Eastlake Football Club in 1998 for sponsorship.

This was granted under an agreement that the club change its name to South Canberra Eastlake CC, and then Eastlake Cricket Club a year later.

Little wonder then that the club, at times, has struggled to establish an identity.

Eastlake Cricket Club president Damian Eaton says players from the time of renaming have said they didn’t actually know that Eastlake was the original name of the club from 1922.

“This goes to show the identity of ‘Eastlake’ was effectively lost for several decades,” says Damian.

“Were it not for establishing our close and long-standing relationship with Eastlake Football Club, we may never have come to understand our own place in Canberra’s history.”

Vice president Petra Bright says the club’s identity is now stronger than ever.

“This season, as we celebrate 100 years of Eastlake Cricket Club, we honour more than just a name,” he says.

“We recognise all the incarnations of the club that have come together over the years to make us who we are today. We hope to see generations of new players wearing the Eastlake emblem on their uniforms long into the future.”

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And they will wear it with the understanding that many of the ACT’s leading players over the past 100 years have gone before them.

These players include:

John Gallop QC, ACT Supreme Court judge from 1982 to 2000 and long-term president of the ACTCA.

Ray Flockton, an all-rounder who played 34 first-class matches for NSW between 1951 and 1963.

Richard Done, a bowler for NSW and Suffolk in the late 1970s and 1980s, a senior coach with the Australian Cricket Academy, head cricket coach with the Queensland Academy of Sport, coach of the Australian under 19 cricket team. He was also the high-performance manager with the International Cricket Council (ICC) High Performance Program, and in 2020, took up the position of cricket operations director with USA Cricket.

Neil Fairbrother, a batsman for England during the 1990s who played 75 one-day international matches and 10 Test matches.

Rod Tucker, former Tasmanian captain and current ICC umpire.

SJ Moore, player for Western District from the mid-1980s to 2001/02 and Eastlake from 2002/03 to 2005/06 and was captain-coach. She represented the ACT on 33 occasions beginning in 1986/87.

Mark Divin, Tasmanian batsman and bowler.

Kris Britt, a member of the Australian women’s team playing for the Southern Stars against England in 2003. She played in 17 one-day internationals and two Twenty20s, and was captain of the ACT Meteors.

Nick Winter, played for the ACT Comets before representing South Australia in 2013-14.

Vusi Sibanda, a Zimbabwean Test and short-form player who made his one-day international debut in 2003.

Gary Goodman, who played for both Tasmania and South Australia and is now the Eastlake head coach.

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Up until 2002, the focus of Eastlake CC was on men’s grade and juniors teams before the club entered a team in the women’s first-grade competition.

The women’s team has gone on to win 12 titles in first grade including the premiership and the T20 Championship in the 2013/14 season.

The men’s team has also had a great deal of success with 20 titles across all formats of the game.

With the club now on a firm footing, there is no reason why in 100 years’ time there won’t be similar recognition celebrating the Eastlake Cricket Club’s 200th anniversary.

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Congratulations to the Eastlake Cricket Club on their 100th anniversary. The old photo in the article is from the Canberra & District Historical Society collection, dontated to the Society by Alan Foskett who had been given the cricket photographs by Keith Carnall, the talented all round sportsman. The cup is probably the Keir Challenge Cup for Sunday comp which the team ended up with in 1922-23 (the last winner of the Challenge Cup keeps it until another teams successfully challenges for it). The actual cup is held in the CDHS collection. The Eastlake team included several players from the Co-operative Store which was located near the Camnberra Railway Station.

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