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THE STORY
 
 
 
 
          Evidence that the North Melbourne Cricket Club was formed in 1855-56 stems from an excerpt in the 1856-57 Australian Cricketers Guide which stated that the first suburban club was Emerald Hill, formed on September 29, 1855, soon followed by Richmond, North Melbourne and St. Kilda. The North Melbourne Cricket Club is believed to have existed a season at a time because of the lack of administration and the lack of an organised competition in which to play. 
         
          Matches were spasmodically organised between teams in the early days. The first documented existence of the club dates back to 1858. Back in the early days, North Melbourne competed for a variety of challenge trophies that were donated by businessmen and played under varying conditions. Competitions included the Coppin Challenge Cup, Cleeland Challenge Cup, the McLean Challenge Cup and the Metropolitan and Suburban Challenge Cups. These competitions date from 1870.
         
          The North Melbourne Football and Cricket Clubs have occupied the Arden Street Reserve since the 1870s. In 1885, the land was donated to the Board of Land and Works and the Town of Hotham by a pastoralist, James Gardiner, who was the founder of the Hotham Football and Cricket Clubs, under the proviso that it was used for recreation and amusement purposes for the Hotham Clubs.
         
          The 1870s were troubled times for the young club which, by now, had become a weak team. The club officially formed as the North Melbourne Cricket Club at the North Melbourne Town Hall in 1874. However, the suburb briefly changed its name in the late 1870s to become the town of Hotham, and the club changed its name to the Hotham Cricket Club in 1879-80.  
          
          A review of the Hotham Cricket Club in Boyle and Scott’s Australian Cricketers Guide published in 1880 reviews the 1879-80 season where it describes the club’s first year, the “old Hotham Club” having broken up through financial difficulties. The club had played twenty matches in the season for eleven wins, five draws and four losses. The name reverted to North Melbourne Cricket Club in 1887 when the town of Hotham was proclaimed the town of North Melbourne. During the 1880s, North Melbourne (aka Hotham) once again became a formidable club, one of the three leading teams of Melbourne, along with East Melbourne CC and Melbourne CC.
           
          In 1887-88 Hotham CC (North Melbourne) contested the Suburban Challenge Cup along with Essendon, Port Melbourne, Fitzroy, Hawthorn, St. Kilda, Williamstown and Warehousemen. Hotham CC had made substantial strides, remained undefeated, and took out the trophy. The Seconds also won the 2nd XI Cup. The following year (1888-89) saw North Melbourne, as it was now known, win the trophy again without losing a match.
         
          NMCC competed in the Suburban Challenge Cup, and were back-to-back Champions in 1889-90 and 1890-91 seasons in which they were also unbeaten. The team contained noted players, Ernie Bean, Richard Houston, George and ‘Harry’ Stuckey and the Carltons (John and Alf). Ernie Bean’s career boasted 200 wickets and over 4,000 runs. All of the above players went on to represent Victoria.
 
 

Ernie Bean
   
          Ernest Edward Bean (1866-1939). Born near Ballarat in 1866, Ernie Bean and his family moved to Dryburgh Street, North Melbourne in the mid 1870s. A tall, lean man who played 158 matches for the club and eight first-class matches for Victoria, Ernie last represented NMCC in January, 1916 at age 49.
  
          Bean was Secretary of NMCC for over twenty years, a club delegate for almost forty years, and held positions as VCA Secretary, ACB Chairman and was both a state and national selector. During Bean’s time as Secretary of North Melbourne the club won its only four premierships and two second eleven Premierships. Bean was a force in the introduction of District Cricket and in the creation of the Board of Control, and was the backbone of Victorian cricket for four decades as he and VCA Treasurer ‘Harry’ Rush led the Association to a position of strength.

 


 
          The Carlton family was the mainstay of the club and dominated the State side for four decades. John debuted for the club in the mid 1880s, whilst Alf debuted in 1890-91. John appeared in the first Victorian team to contest the Sheffield Shield (against NSW) at the MCG in December 1892 along with another North Melbourne player, Richard Houston. Will Carlton came into the team in 1896-97 and was followed by Tom in 1908-09. 
         
          All four Carltons went on to represent Victoria. Indeed, there was a Carlton in the State side every season from 1890-91 until 1931-32. Whilst Alf remained in Victoria, Tom and Will headed for New Zealand where they both played for Canterbury. John moved on to Queensland where he also played representative cricket. Between the four Carltons, they won five batting averages and sixteen bowling averages for the club. 
 
          Will and John won both. John Carlton scored 3,051 runs and claimed 464 wickets, while Will scored 4,765 runs and claimed 211 wickets. While official statistics have John Carlton down as taking 464 wickets, cricket historians have that number closer to 700.
     
 
Richard Shinnock Houston
72* matches
Batting Award: 6 times
Bowling: 3 times
John Carlton
98* matches
Batting Award: 3 times
Bowling: 6 times
John Henry Stuckey
143 matches
Batting Award: 5 times
*denotes matches from 1889 only
         
 
          North Melbourne Cricket Club were champions on four occasions (1887-88, 1893-94, 1895-96, and 1902-03) from five finals between 1860-61 and the formation of District Cricket. North Melbourne Cricket Club was one of ten clubs invited to join the District Cricket competition when it began in season 1906-07.
 
          Rules are brought in to zone the city and country into areas for Rules are brought in to zone the city and country into areas for recruitment.


          Inaugural teams were: Carlton, Collingwood, East Melbourne, Essendon, Fitzroy, Hawksburn (Prahran from 1907-08), North Melbourne, Richmond, St. Kilda, South Melbourne and University. Melbourne, which was in dispute with the VCA over the establishment of the ACB, and was unhappy with the introduction of residential zoning, officially stood out and their matches did not count for the premiership.
         
          North Melbourne were again a competitive team in the years before World War One, making the district finals on three occasions, yet losing all three semi-finals. The District competition was abandoned during the war years, but North Melbourne were soon back as a force, making the finals in the two years after the resumption of the competition. 
 
          It was not until the 1922-23 season that North Melbourne contested its first, and only, VCA final against Prahran at Toorak Park. Arch Cavanagh (NMCC Secretary from 1956-1971) was in attendance as a six-year-old lad. He had travelled in his father’s horse and cart as it made its way to the ground from his home in North Melbourne. James Connery was a surprise selection for North Melbourne for his second senior game; it was also to be his last. Connery had been promoted as a bowler, yet did bowl an over in the final. Despite North’s Test slow bowler TJ ‘Jimmy’ Matthews taking 5/87, it was not to be North’s day and Prahran were triumphant for a third successive season.
         
          It was the year before the Second World War that North was to taste finals action again. Under the leadership of Hugh Baring, North had once again put together a team to rival that of the 1890s. With the legendary Bob Dempster who opened the batting and bowling for club and state, they possessed a genuine all-rounder of class. The only NMCC player to make a double century, he was the first Roos player to score 800 runs in a season (he did it twice). In 1940-41, Bob accomplished the feat in just eleven games. Dempster also claimed 316 wickets to go with his club record of 7,599 runs.  
 
          Also coming onto the scene in the 1940s were George Meikle and the Maddocks brothers, Len and Dick, and Jack Watters and George Tribe. Recording all the data of the day was Jack (JL) Cameron, who became First eleven scorer in 1938 and remained in the post until 1970 when his son Jack (JD) took over the mantle.
 
Hugh Baring
 
Hugh Thomas Baring (1906-1968) captained the club for twelve seasons during a career that spanned nineteen senior seasons. A punishing right-hand batsman who could play in the middle-order or open the innings, Hugh played 209 first team games and scored 5,267 runs at 23.20. Hugh played two State matches for Victoria in the 1929-30 season. He was highly regarded for his leadership and was known as a tough taskmaster. A natural leader who was respected by both teammates and opponents, Baring became a club delegate and club President and was elected to the VCA Pennant Committee after retiring as a player in 1943. Hugh was also a State selector during his term as club President. In 2000, Baring was selected as captain of North Melbourne’s Team of the Century.
 
The Camerons
 
The Cameron family boasts four club life members (John L. Cameron, John D. Cameron, Veronica Cavanagh and Arch Cavanagh), and its involvement with the North Melbourne Cricket Club dates back to 1938 when John L.‘Jack’ Cameron Snr became the club’s 1st XI scorer.   Jack held the post until the 1970-71 season when he handed over the reins to son John D. Cameron (Jack Jnr). Jack Snr had also been scoring for the State team for over twenty years. Jack Jnr had been scoring for the club’s Second eleven since the mid-1940s by the time he took over from his father, and had already been on the 1961 Ashes tour as official ACB scorer. 
 
Veronica, Jack Jnr’s sister, married Arch Cavanagh who became secretary of the club for fifteen years. Veronica caused a ‘scandal’ in 1940 when she brought out the drinks for the players. In those days it was the duty of the twelfth man and not a job for a woman. Veronica had been serving cups of tea when the drinks became due. With no twelfth man in sight, she and a colleague picked up the tray and waltzed out with the drinks. Veronica became the first woman in Australia to become elected life member of a cricket club.
 
Bill Dowling
 
William Joseph Dowling, OBE (1904-1973) - a life member of NMCC - became club secretary in the early 1930s and rose to become ACB Chairman (1957-1960) and VCA President (1963-1973). Along the way, Bill served as club delegate for many years, and as Australian Team Manager on the 1956 Ashes tour. In 1954-55 the WJ Dowling Shield under 16 competition was inaugurated and named after Bill who was the Chairman of the Executive at the time. Bill did not play senior cricket at Arden Street, but had 27 seasons at Brunswick where he won their batting on sixteen occasions. A lover of the game, whilst presenting an award in August, 1973, Bill suffered a heart attack and died. Fittingly for a cricket lover, it happened at the MCG.
 
 
 
          Immediately after the war, Ken Pearce and Sam French complemented the above to form the ‘golden team’. Ken Pearce went on to take a club record 472 wickets from 1947-48 until his retirement in 1962-63. Jack Watters and Bob Dempster proved to be the club’s greatest ever-opening batting pair. Jack with 6,174 runs is still in third place for the highest number of runs scored by a NMCC player. Joe White, a right arm opening bowler debuted in 1937-38 and proved to be the ideal partner for Dempster. Joe was to win the bowling on six occasions in a career that netted him 393 wickets at an average of seventeen. 
 
          George Tribe debuted in 1939-40, and the team made the finals for the first time since the Grand Final loss of 1922-23. George went on to win the bowling in five of the next six years when matches were played under varying playing conditions. In 1945-46, he also won the batting, making him the last man to win both the batting and the bowling in the same season.
 
          Hugh Baring, Ken Pearce, George Meikle, Len and Dick Maddocks, Jack Watters, Joe White and George Tribe were all selected in the North Melbourne Cricket Club team of the century from this era. Despite the strength of this team, success eluded them and they surprisingly did not participate in any VCA finals during this period.
 
 
NMCC Team of the Century
 
 
 
Career
Runs
Avge.
Wkts.
Avge.
1
Robert A. Dempster
1934-1953
7599
33.33
316
20.20
2
John C. Watters
1940-1958
6174
25.30
42
31.67
3
Richard I. Maddocks
1943-1965
7402
31.77
43
31.26
4
Leonard V. Maddocks
1942-1973
6095
25.08
260c
109st
5
Hugh T. Baring (Captain)
1923-1943
5267
23.20
52
28.44
6
George S. Meikle
1934-1943
3591
31.78
248
18.35
7
George E. Tribe
1939-1949
1237
19.95
298
15.17
8
Joseph M.B. White
1937-1955
1862
14.43
393
17.17
9
Richard C.A.M. McCarthy
1981-1992
1576
17.32
254
21.32
10
Kenneth N. Pearce
1947-1963
1149
8.51
472
17.59
11
John V. Saunders
1895-1904
8
8.00
38
15.63
12
Peter J. Cox
1971-1988
4096
29.26
227
24.86
 
 
 
With success still eluding the team, Dempster retired, and George Tribe now plying his trade in England with Northamptonshire, the club set about rebuilding. Jack Watters returned to playing in 1955-56 after two seasons out. Geoff Jinkins, who had played just five senior games in his first four seasons, had become the strike bowler by season 1955-56. Solidly built, stocky and just 5’ 8”, ‘Jiffy’ bowled with a slinging action that skidded the ball through to the batsman. He was much quicker than his run-up suggested. 
 
Geoff will always be remembered for the Labour Day match at Prahran in 1959. Batting first on a rain-affected wicket, Prahran were bowled out for 53. North were knocked over for 52. Most North supporters had left the ground and headed off to the Orrong Hotel to drown their sorrows, missing one of the most amazing spells of bowling ever recorded in VCA cricket. Jinkins and Ken Pearce routed Prahran for 13, still Prahran’s lowest score against any opposition. Jinkins claimed 8/0 from 4.2 overs while ‘Lofty’ Pearce got the other two. Rex Harry actually dropped a catch at square leg off ‘Jiffy’, but claims to have saved a run. The Prahran innings was all over in 8.2 overs and 41 minutes. The Prahran side included Test player Sam Loxton.
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
JINKINS GJ
. . . . . . . .
.W. . . W . .
. . . . . W W .
. . . W . W . .
W W
 
0/0
2/0
4/0
6/0
8/0
(8 ball overs)
 
Continuing their dominance were the Maddocks brothers. Len had debuted in 1942-43 and played until 1961-62, re-appearing in 1970-71 for a further three seasons after a spell in Tasmania. Remarkably, Len won the batting in 1971-72 at the age of 45, twenty-five years after he first won the award. Len and son, Ian, played in the same team for three seasons before Len retired. Ian, another ‘keeper, went on to represent Victoria. Another of Len’s sons, Colin, also played a senior game in 1977-78. Len was voted the Victorian wicketkeeper of the 20th Century, representing Australia in seven Test matches, and played for both Victoria and Tasmania in a first-class career that spanned 22 years. 
 
Younger brother Dick debuted the season after Len, and his tally of 7,402 runs is the second highest in the club’s history (behind Dempster). Dick won the club’s batting on ten occasions before his untimely death at age 40 in 1968. Dick also represented Victoria from 1948 until 1957. The Club Champion award is named in his honour.
 
Len Maddocks
 
Leonard Victor Maddocks (1926- ) debuted in senior cricket for NMCC in 1942 as a 16 year-old and went on to play a record 237 matches for the club, winning the batting on six occasions spanning 25 years. Len won the first of his seven Test caps against England in the third Test at the MCG, which started on New Year’s Eve, 1954, and he top-scored with 47. He followed this up with 69 in the fourth Test in Adelaide. A wicketkeeper-batsman, Len’s first-class career spanned from 1946-1967 in Victoria and Tasmania during which time he scored 4,106 runs. Len also claimed 277 first-class dismissals to go with his record 369 at North Melbourne. Len served as VCA Treasurer from 1972 until 1983, and was heavily involved in the organisation of the Centenary Test in 1977 when on the ACB Executive. Len was also the Australian team Manager on its ill-fated 1977 Ashes tour following the Centenary Test. At this time, Len was also NMCC president. Len also served as a Victorian and Australian selector until he retired from the ACB in 1983.
 
A 20-year-old leg spinner, Rex Harry, debuted in 1956-57 and went on to take 239 wickets for the club. Bowling with an unorthodox grip, Rex also represented Victoria and won the bowling on four occasions.

1960-1990

The club finally tasted District success in 1961-62 when the Second eleven defeated Fitzroy by three runs to claim the Premiership. The team comprised John Izon (capt.), Ted Ajani, Ray Bowman, John Cooney, Eric Close, Alan Doble, Bob Durant, Neil Jacobs, Barry Simpson, Hugh Sykes and Lyle Wilson. Barry Simpson was unbeaten on 100 in our second innings.

In the 1960s, the ground began to deteriorate. The ‘Dog Track’ was removed, then the red brick perimeter wall, scoreboard and terraced stand, and the ground was renamed the Arden Street Recreation Reserve. 


Amid the decline of the 1980s, one player stood out - Richard McCarthy. Richard was a fast bowler who bowled with unerring accuracy at a lively pace. Absolutely lethal on his day, Richard claimed 254 wickets at an average of 21.32. He was to win our first Ryder Medal in 1988-89 and represented Victoria from 1984-1990. 


1985-1988

North Melbourne CC merged with Geelong CC in 1985 to form the North Melbourne-Geelong CC. Geelong CC had been seeking admission to the VCA for forty years, and a merger was sought with North Melbourne CC. In a close vote by the committee, it was moved that the club merge with Geelong for a trial three-year period. The merged club attracted several top players including state representatives, David Harris, Kevin Neville, Ray Bright and Graeme Ross. A delegate from each club was selected, with Frank Murphy representing NMCC and later Cricket Victoria president, Bob Merriman, representing Geelong. After an uncomfortable three years, the NMCC Committee, under new President Frank Murphy voted unanimously against formalisation. Geelong was eventually admitted into the competition along with Frankston-Peninsula in 1993-94.
 
 
1990-2013

The arrival of Earl Eddings in 1992-93 sparked a revival of the club. North had been rooted to the foot of the table for many years when Earl transferred from Northcote looking to revive his career, following his friend Adam Dale, who had done so the previous year. Earl was an astute player and aided the club both on and off the field by recruiting players such as Adam and Josh McGinty, Greg Hobba and Shannon Waters as well as his father Michael who went on to be Secretary and President. Earl both captained and coached the club during his playing days before becoming President in 2003.
 
North Melbourne made the finals on the back of the team that Earl had pieced together in 2000-01, forty years since its last appearance. Shannon Waters, in his first season, formed a lethal new ball partnership with Adam McGinty. North Melbourne defeated Fitzroy-Doncaster outright in the final round of the season to clinch their finals spot. North Melbourne Cricket Club had regained some respect.
 
Earl lured Adam Dale back from Queensland when he announced his retirement from first-class cricket in April, 2003. Dale’s only season back saw him take 61 wickets at an average slightly over twelve to be rewarded with the Ryder Medal. Supporting Adam in 2003-04 was another former Northcote quick, Shannon Waters. Waters also had a stellar season trundling in from the other end in a partnership that netted 112 wickets. ‘Muddy’ will remember the match at Swan Hill in January, 2004, when once again Prahran were humbled by a Roos bowler. Prahran, this time dismissed for 38 in under twenty overs, with Waters taking a career best of 7/11. Both Waters and Dale were deservedly selected in the Premier League team of the season for 2003-04 and again the Roos made the finals.


The merger with Greenvale - Creation of Greenvale Kangaroos

In 2013 the Greenvale Kangaroos Cricket Club were born after the members of both the North Melbourne and Greenvale cricket clubs unanimously voted for the two clubs to come together. The merger was a bold and unique venture that created a "super club" in the north western suburbs of Melbourne. 

Supported by the Hume City Council and Cricket Victoria, the Kangaroos play out of the Greenvale Recreation Reserve. The aim of the merger was to create a formidable Premier club in Melbourne's 'northern' growth corridor, offering young people residing in that area, for the first time, the opportunity to play cricket at Premier level within their own community. For members of North Melbourne it was the perfect solution to preserve the proud, rich and long standing history and culture of a 150 year old icon. It also allowed them to move to a burgeoning region and remain connected with cricket north of Melbourne where there was an opportunity to attract players and volunteers who reside in the area and the northern country/regional areas.

The club is the first of its kind and allows cricket to be played at any level regardless of ability.

The merged club sees it field four Premier cricket teams, three VTCA turf teams, several Senior North West Melbourne Cricket Association synthetic teams, as well as a full complement of junior teams. The club also runs and operates the Milo In2Cricket program. 

The Hume City Council played a key role in securing the partnership, agreeing to develop turf training facilities, as well as providing additional ovals, lighting systems, social facilities and pavilions amongst its commitment. More immediately the Kangaroos conducted works to improve and develop an upgrade of practice facilities, both turf and synthetic, relevant machinery to support the preparation of Premier League standard turf pitches, extending the social area, building a new electronic scoreboard, increase storage facilities, and obtaining sight screens. The Kangaroos also boast plans to develop an indoor training facility in their future. These facilities will be the envy of other cricket clubs Australia wide.

Hume city council Mayor Geoff Porter summed it up best when he said ""Having the Greenvale Kangaroos in Hume will provide the opportunity for a young person who may start out in cricket at under 10's or 12's the opportunity to go through from this junior level to eventually play cricket for Victoria and then Australia without ever leaving the area. It will ensure that young people in Hume will have access to the best training and playing facilities possible".

Bruce Kent and David Maddocks were co-president for the first year whilst Steve Maddocks had the honour of being the clubs inaugural Premier coach. Tarek Moughanie coached the local side of the club.

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