The City of Darebin
Oz Sports History
Turf Comes to Preston
It will undoubtedly come as a shock to learn that during the upheavals in Melbourne's
cricketing circles in 1905 and 1906, the scheme originally proposed for District
The inclusion came as the result of a direct application from the junior Preston
club then playing -
There was never any mention of the club's plans in the Preston Leader, but The Argus of 24 May, 1906 in suggesting plans for the new system were virtually in place noted "Both Brunswick and Preston have applied for admission to the Victorian Cricket Association under the scheme and the executive recommends that they be included provided both get their grounds fit for play next season".
This was probably the first time that the name of "Sub-
As it eventuated, Northcote won the 1905-
Accordingly to The Argus of 10 July 1906 (just three months before District cricket officially started), Second Grade of the new competition was to consist of Brunswick, Coburg, Carlton 2, Melbourne 2, Hawksburn 2, Hawthorn, Malvern, Brighton, Northcote, Preston, Port Melbourne, St. Kilda 2, South Melbourne 2, University 2 and Williamstown.
Hawksburn eventually entered the District competition as Prahran; the Third Grade
was to be made up of Second XI teams from most of the Second Grade clubs (although
oddly not Coburg) plus similar XIs from the weaker First Grade clubs -
"Grounds fit for play" appears to have been the sticking point in Preston's bid -
Despite the problems with the onion-
In retrospect, the Council's decision in fact cost them nothing -
"Prior to the "windfall", the Council had tackled the job of improving the Cramer
Street park by ploughing up and levelling the surface and endeavouring to kill the
"Windfall" or not (it appears that much of the money went towards improvements as
the Council's new attraction at Edwardes Lake, any plans of a quick entry of the
Preston Cricket Club to Sub-
Cr. Llewellyn Jones minced no words, suggesting bluntly that "we won't be playing
on a turf wicket this year, just on matting" and it appears that work did not commence
until October and the club certainly was "tiddly-
(We should add that Llewellyn Jones was a prominent real estate agent in High Street and he had a close association with the cricket club as the honorary masseur, a role in which he served briefly on a hospital ship late in the First World War).
(Archives of the Sub-
The Leader commented on the wicket in November after work finally got under way in August, 1922 :
"A Turf Wicket at Preston Park"
"Some people talk of lightly of putting down a turf wicket having no idea just what a "contract" it is.
"First there is the old ground to "box out" -
"This soil having been put in, together with the necessary drainage and the surface made level, then the very tedious work of planting the grass has to be commenced".
"This operation is now going forward and by the time it is finished, some 30,000 separate roots of couch grass will have been put in. We understand that certain kinds of grass seed will afterwards be sown in addition to the planting of the couch grass."
"It should be a champion wicket worth all the trouble and care that the Shire Engineer, Mr. W. E. Kelly, is taken in its preparation".
V.C.A. officials later inspected the wicket and ground and Preston's move into Sub-
Preston's residential "district" as defined by the Association included Preston,
Ivanhoe, Heidelberg, Fairfield -
(Preston's admission was clear-
The football club switched its last two home matches for the 1922 season to allow
the wicket and ground to be properly top-
"Hosted" may not be the right word -
Whether the (uncovered) wicket was still affected will never be known. Despite holding Coburg to 85, Temple taking 5 for 18, Preston after being in a winning position were bundled out for 68, Hugh Fothergill 19 and Les Punch 10 the only ones to reach double figures.
Preston and Gowerville Park