The Johnson Park Cricket Club was founded in 1967, when a few local members at the time got together and thought that the local area needed a sporting club in the summer months. The likes of Eddie Mathews (our first president), Barry and Lyn Rattle, Michael Roodhouse (formed the first committee of JPCC) and Barry Rattle (captained the team) put together twelve to fourteen players and entered a team in the Ringwood District Cricket Association. The first home ground used was Benedick Park in Knoxfield. The first game, played at home and resulted in a win against the Knoxfield Cricket Club. This rivalry has continued throughout the years with both clubs now playing against each other for the Paffett Shield in honour of the late Mark Paffett who was a past champion and premiership player at both clubs.
The Club in 1970 moved to Fair Park Reserve in Ferntree Gully, where we still remain today. A local member of the area Jim Johnson donated the land so that a sporting oval could constructed for local cricket and later football. In 1971 we formed our first junior team in the under 16's and in the same year we won our first senior premiership playing in C Grade against Mooroolbark CC. A great fighting come back by JPCC as we were 4/20 until Michael Roodhouse and Alan Jordan came to the wicket and put on a 230+ run partnership, with Roodhouse (138) and Jordan (112) leading the team to victory. The senior club went on to win four more premierships in the 70's and 80's. The club won its first junior premiership in 1973/74 and went on to win two more in the 70s and 80s.
The club, now boasting a number of talented juniors in these years with a number of players representing the club in the state-wide Under 16 Dowling Shield competition. We also produced one outstanding player Warren Whiteside, who went on to play District Cricket with the Richmond and St Kilda Cricket Clubs, winning three Ryder Medals for the best player in District cricket. Warren also played 1st class cricket for Victoria which was in the prestigious Sheffield Shield competition.
The committee in 1987 decided in the best interest of the club that it should move from the RDCA to the Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association (FTGDCA). In our first year we started in Second Division named the Neilson Shield Reserve playing off in the grand final but losing to the Knox Cricket Club. Mal Francis won the best player in the competition that year winning the Ron Lomax Medal. In 1988/89 we won our first senior FTGDCA premiership on the first day of the final against Mt Gate bowling them out for 109 and finishing the day at 1/158. Our second XI and third XI senior teams also won premierships with the seconds winning over four days in a rain interrupted match by taking 3/0 in the first few overs of day four. The next year we moved into the FTGDCA first Division grade named the Neilson Shield where we played in finals for a number of years with no success. We won three more lower grade premierships in the 90s and won our first Veterans Flag in 1996/97. Our junior ranks again bolstered by a lot of talented players won premierships in 1997/98 in the under 16's and under 14's. The club also produced many junior FTGDCA zone nine and Dowling Shield representatives.
The club in 1998/99 was disappointing in its senior ranks, getting relegated back to the FTGDCA Second Division, now known as the DeCoite Shield. In this year ex-junior Josh Dowling made the move to District Cricket at the Dandenong Cricket Club where he later played in their first eleven side in 2002/03. In 1999/00 the senior side was young but incredibly competitive and only missed out by three points in playing in the finals. The under 14's won the premiership that year in a strong period that produced three under 14 flags in four years. The club also played in seven consecutive under 16 (later changed to under 17) grand finals in a row winning three flags.
In 1999/2000 the club recruited well from the district ranks with Bryn Gaunt as Captain Coach where he helped set up a structure throughout the club, promoting our best juniors to the senior ranks, specialist coaching for all members and selecting the right people in the right positions. The club also had a slight name change, adding the Sharks moniker to become the Johnson Park Sharks CC and introducing a club theme song. Bryn went on to win the Lomax medal - best and fairest in Decoite Shield - in his first year at the club.
In 2000/01 we had another inclusion from the district ranks in Hawthorn Waverley’s all-rounder Paul Barber. Paul played 106 district matches and won Hawthorns club champion in their premiership year. Paul brought a lot of experience and professionalism into our club. Paul became our clubs highest run maker in our senior eleven making 801 runs in his last year. Paul represented the FTGDCA in many games and also played in the Victoria country team and in 2003 played for Australia Country against the New Zealand team at the Bowral Oval in New South Wales. Joe Dantini is inducted as a Life Member.
We remained in DeCoite Shield for five years playing in finals every year losing in the semi-final each year, until winning the premiership in 2002/03 against the Lysterfield CC. An exceptional performance by Craig Wenham taking 5/45 off 25 overs and winning the Ken Utting medal for best player in the Grand Final. Our junior section had again been successful in competing in finals every year and winning four premierships in four years. The club again had a number of talented juniors representing the club in Dowling Shield, FTGDCA and Mitchell Shield (Under 12 carnival) with numerous players moving to District Cricket.
In our first year back in the first division now called the Knox Tavern Cup were not looking too good, with thirteen of our senior players either retiring, moving on, or playing District cricket. The club was again able to recruit well, bringing one of their own players back to the club from District ranks. Josh Dowling was appointed captain/coach of the Sharks and his enthusiasm and motivation enabled the club to stay in the highest grade. Josh became the sharks' second player to be selected in the Victorian Country side that went on to win the Australian Country Championships.
Ex Johnson Park junior, Steve Seymour went onto to District cricket and represented Prahran in seven of their First X1 games for the 2004-2005 season.
To everyone's credit the club was competitive in every game throughout 2004/2005 and had a steady year, the first eleven missing the finals but also only just missing relegation as well.
2004/2005 yet again saw the Johnson Park Cricket Club moving forward with the recruitment of a Sri Lankan test cricketer. Dulip Samaraweera who joined the ranks as an assistant senior coach and junior development coach along with the re-appointment of Josh Dowling as the senior Captain Coach. The season yet again was a consistent year, with the first X1 just missing the finals by seven match points. The inclusion of Dulip to our ranks was a successful move as Dulip was our first Feaver Medallist for the best and fairest player in the FTGDCA highest grade, the Knox Tavern Cup. Dulip also won our three highest awards within our senior ranks winning our batting, bowling, and club champion awards. The club also had our second eleven playing in the finals for the first time for a number of years, but it was not their year. In the junior ranks we again had a number of junior teams in the finals, with only the under 13's becoming premiers. The club again had a number of competition representative players and in his second year at District level, Ben Stallworthy made his debut for the Hawthorn Monash Uni CC. Steven Seymour had another wonderful year by making the Victorian under 19 team.
In 2005/2006, Peter Dunlop (Fitzroy/Doncaster), Andrew Devenish and Mark Winton (both Hawthorn Monash) made their 1st XI Premier Cricket debuts. The first XI struggled for consistency but managed to beat some top sides after Christmas. The highlights of the season were Steve Bowen making the Victorian Country U/19 side; Premierships in the 13 2's and the Veterans winning Division 2; Dulip Samaraweera breaking the FTGDCA Highest Individual Score by making 235* versus Knoxfield at JPCC and also winning the Competition Batting Average (Ave 83.00); and Bryn Gaunt winning the Country Week Player of the Series with Dulip and Bryn becoming part of the successful Country Week Team which earned a promotion back to Provincial by winning Division 2 at Noble Park CC. The seasons end saw 3 Life Member inductions in Rod Bourke, Josh Monahan and Tim Reid.
In 2006/2007 the first XI made the finals for the first time in the top grade since 1994/95 under Craig Wenham (his first year as captain). The highlights were Dulip Samaraweera winning his second Feaver Medal and Competition Batting Award (Ave 112.00); Bryn Gaunt playing in the Victorian Country Side that won the Australian Country Championship at Mildura; Steve Bowen and English import wicketkeeper/batter Elliot Hind playing in the Victorian Country U/19 side; and Mark Halse making 258 in the third XI (A club record).
In 2007/2008 the first XI made the finals again under Craig Wenham, but even with a heroic century for Mal Francis they fell short in the Semi-final. The Highlights for the season were Dulip Samaraweera winning another competition batting average (Ave 85.60); John Simmonds winning his first competition batting average in B.2 (Ave 46.62); Premierships in the under 13 2's, 15 2's and B.2 divisions; Bryn Gaunt playing in the Victorian Country Side held in Mackay, QLD; and Steve Bowen playing in the Victorian Country U/21 side. Lynne Rattle and Mark O'Neill are inducted as Life Members.
The 2008/09 season saw the return of Peter Dunlop as captain/coach from District Cricket and with a number of other senior recruits, it looked like a promising season for the club. The first made the finals for the third year in a row, but once again came up short in the semi-final. Our 4th XI side was the only side to win a flag, doing it in style by winning on day one. A wonderful effort by Brendan Duke taking 7/9 to bowl the opposition out for 38 and in reply JP was 1/42. Winning the FTGDCA 20/20 comp and being only one game away from playing at the MCG for the state final was a huge accomplishment for the club. Well done to all that played to achieve this result. Highlights for the year were Bryn Gaunt & Peter Dunlop making the Vic Country team and Stephen Bowen making the Vic Country under 21’s side for the 4th year running, with David Carmen also playing for the first time. Well done to Chris Nied for winning the FTGDCA Div. 6 Batting award and to all the Sharks that made hundreds and took seven wicket hauls. Special congratulations to newcomer Simon Reynolds for a great 200no.
No doubt the big news for the season was the retirement of one of our greatest cricketers - JPCC Club Legend, Mal Francis. Mal has been JPCC's longest serving first XI player and member, our highest run maker, and the greatest century maker. Mal, you have been a credit to yourself, your family, and the Sharks. Congratulations on your career at JPCC. Mal will still be around the club fine tuning the next generation as coach of the under 12's. Mal has also decided to start a career in umpiring. The
Sharks wish you well Chook!
This season the club is looking forward to a successful year in all grades with Peter Dunlop as Club Captain and Coach, Tim Reid as Assistant Coach, Adam Burgess' addition to the club, along with a number of other senior recruits.
2009/10 season resulted in the club making history by winning its first top grade first XI premiership. Under Peter Dunlop as captain coach the team was struggling after Christmas and were sitting third last after being bowled out for only 48 by The Basin in round 8. The club turned its season around by going unbeaten for the remainder of the season to finish fourth with a record of Six wins five losses and 1 draw. The Sharks were massive underdogs playing top team Upper Gully in a semi -final at Kings Park over three rain interrupted days which included a huge hailstorm which damaged multiple cars and houses in Melbourne. The Sharks made a competitive 171 batting first and then bowled Upper Gully out for 85 for a convincing win which ended a run of three straight semi-final losses. The Grand Final at Upwey was one of the most memorable finals of local cricket with the game having twists and turns for both sides. After recovering from 3/1 Upwey made a solid 235 batting first. In front of a large crowd at Upwey the Sharks required a run a ball for the last 6 overs with only 2 wickets in hand. Craig Wenham completed a winning all-round performance to grab the Stephen Lee medal for the best afield in the Knox Tavern Cup by striking the winning runs with just three balls to spare in his 34 runs after taking five wickets for just 61 runs off 21 overs on Day 1. Wenham and an injured Steve Bowen put on 45 for the ninth wicket to reach 8/236 and seal an emotion-charged victory. The Under 17/2s also won the flag making it a great weekend for Steve Devenish who played in two flags in one season.
2010/11 season was a successful season with the first XI making the finals for a fifth straight season. The club enjoyed the great form of overseas player Aaron West from England who had a great season with the bat and finished runner-up in the Feaver Medal. The firsts were defeated by Eildon Park at home in the semi-final. The positive was 6 members of the losing semi-final side were ex-juniors who learned a lot about finals pressure against a team that went on to win the premiership.
2011/12 season saw the return of ex-junior Andrew Devenish from Premier Cricket as captain/coach joining his brothers David and Steven in the first XI. The club endured a tough season off-field with Fair Park Reserve being unavailable due to the ground being resurfaced with warm weather grass. The club introduced many young players in the senior grades with home games played at Chandler Park. The first XI made the finals for a sixth straight season but were again knocked out by Eildon Park in an away semi-final. The highlight of 2011 was Craig Wilkinson awarded life membership of the FTGDCA after 34 years’ service to JPCC and 15 years’ service to the FTGDCA. Linda Bourke is awarded Life Membership.
2012/13 saw the club win the inaugural Norm Reeves Cup and the club’s second first XI flag in four seasons after coming from fourth again and upsetting League leaders Upwey and Upper Gully at their home grounds. Craig Wenham took 5/30 off 30 overs in the Grand Final versus Upper Gully at Kings Park, once again winning the Stephen Lee Medal for best afield in the Grand Final. Upper Gully could only manage 87 runs after being bowled out in the 64th over. JPCC chased the runs and finished only 4 wickets down to complete a convincing win. This now gives Craig three best afield Medals with 5 wicket hauls in each grand final which is an amazing achievement and something for the young guys to aspire to. Craig now sits as one of JP’s greatest alongside the likes of Francis, Gaunt, Christie and O’Neil of the past. This flag resulted in JPCC being the most successful FTGDCA club in the past ten seasons by winning three first XI flags. The club had 5 ex-juniors playing in the Grand Final including Andrew Devenish as Captain Coach. Other highlights were the move back to opening by Bryn Gaunt who made the most runs in the league (693 runs), overseas English youngster Adam Dobb took the most wickets in the league (43 wickets which is a new club record) and won the best FTGDCA U/21 Player Award. Adam’s spin twin Steve Devenish took 33 wickets also including one particularly important one in the away semi-final against top side Upwey. The improvement of the younger players throughout the whole club was great to see and Representative cricket was a highlight once again with a number of players representing the FTGDCA and Country Region this season throughout the Senior & Junior ranks. Bryn & Adam also made the FTGDCA & Country Region 8 Teams of the Year. Adam Dobb, Steve Devenish & Cam Bourke also played in the Bendigo Country Week Team that won the First Division Flag giving them 2 Flags in the same year. An amazing year for the club also saw the return of the club to home games at Fair Park Reserve which now has an excellent playing surface and revamped practice nets.
2013/14 saw the return of star JP junior Ben Stallworthy and arrival of UK overseas player Martin Weightman. Both proved to be star all-rounders with Ben sweeping the batting, bowling and club champion awards and Martin making a significant impact with his left-hand middle order batting and left arm new ball bowling. The Sharks won the FTGDCA T20 Premiers for the second time during the season after chasing 182 away at South Belgrave in the Semi and 144 in the away Grand Final versus The Basin. Cameron Bourke captained his first JP 1st XI flag and Martin Weightman, awarded best on ground in the T20 Final. The 1st XI lost a home semi-final versus Upwey defending 260 after a fantastic century by Ben who made 109*batting at 3. Ben capped off his season by becoming the first JP junior to win the Feaver medal for the league best and fairest player and joined Steve Devenish and Martin in the FTGDCA Team of the Year.
2014/15 saw the club win the Norm Reeves Cup for the third time in six seasons after coming from fourth again and upsetting top side The Basin in the semi and long-time rivals Eildon Park in the Grand Final at their home grounds in front of big crowds. The Sharks we were struggling in the semi with The Basin batting first sitting at 4/160 but a comeback saw Steve Devenish take 5 wickets causing Basin to collapse for 165. JP were then struggling at 6/120 in reply before Andrew Gottliebsen top scored with an aggressive 30 under pressure with Cam Bourke in support got the Sharks over the line 7 wickets down. The Grand Final was a 2-day arm wrestle on a slow ground. JP batted first a made a competitive 184 after being bowled out in the 78th over by a strong Eildon Park attack. Bryn Gaunt made 61 opening the batting with David Devenish getting runs again under GF pressure with 24*. With only 9 boundaries hit in the entire innings this was a game evenly poised. JP got key early wickets with Tom Nash removing Ben Morris continuing his finals big scalps after Jake Best in the semi and Trent Barrington dismissed Cody Morris before taking a key outfield catch of Nathan Hicks to leave the Panthers 3/78 off 42 overs at Tea. The Sharks then produced some of the best team bowling and fielding in the club’s history to strangle Eildon Park to be all out 137 in the 75th over. Ben Stallworthy with 3/39 off 28 overs and a direct hit runout to win the game won the Stephen Lee Medal with great support from Steve Devenish 3/37 off 16.5 overs and Martin Weightman 1/24 off 17 overs. Eildon Park hit only 3 boundaries and 1 six with a top score 32 due the Sharks intense pressure. Andrew Devenish became the only two-time JP 1st XI Premiership Captain after lifting the cup in front of a big JPCC travelling supporter base that cheered a team that included eight ex-JP juniors. The JP youth had now made a name for themselves on the big stage. Martin Weightman won the club and league Batting Award capping off a great season joining Ben in the FTGDCA Team of the Year. The club announced Craig Wenham as the fifth JPCC legend with Bryn Gaunt added as a life member at the end of the season. Bryn has a FTGDCA competition record as the only player to have played in Premierships at all senior club and association representative levels. At JPCC club level Bryn has played in a Decoite Premiership in 2002/03, Three Norm Reeves Premierships in 2009/10, 2012/13, 2014/15 and a FTGDCA T20 Premiership in 2013/14 (Bryn Top Scored in 4 out of 5 JPCC Club Grand Finals listed). At Association Rep Level Bryn has played in Two Country Week 1st XI Premierships in 1995 & 2005 (Leading Run Scorer in Both Years) and a Victoria Country National Country Championship Winner in 2007 (Top Score and Man of the Match in the Final Game to win Championship).
2015/16 was a season that started positively but ended with the club relegated to Decoite Shield after 9 previous seasons in the 1st XI finals. A combination of injury, form and loss of experience sees the club in a period of transition on field. David & Steven Devenish won their first club batting & bowling awards and Andrew Devenish put plenty of games into his young squad which will pay dividends in the future.
2016/17 was a big occasion as it was the club’s 50th anniversary, which saw 185 guests celebrate the occasion with Matthew Sim and Scott Allister becoming Life Members and Bryn Gaunt a JP Club Legend. Both the 1st XI and 2nd XI continued their winning ways. Both sides made it through to the grand final where the 1st XI capped off what was a wonderful year by winning the Decoite Shield and returning to the Norm Reeves Cup whilst despite one of the best catches ever seen on a cricket field by Bailey Dewar, the 2nd XI fell short. Both grand Finals played against Lysterfield at Lakesfield Reserve, just a sign of how strong the Beavers were this year. The 1st XI led, by Ben Stallworthy (37 & 3/64), Liyan De Silva (53), David Devenish (44) and Ken Utting medallist Steven Devenish (44 & 3/68), made 7/238 to Lysterfield’s reply of 9/223 in a win dedicated to long serving training timekeeper Johnny Wray. Englishman, Adam Clarke joined the sharks for the season during which he became just the third overseas player to play in a premiership for the club. Ben Stallworthy continued his rich form by taking 30 wickets at an average of 16.47 for the season to go alongside his 478 runs at 43.45. Our juniors performed well with the under 14’s unlucky enough to tie with ladder leaders Mountain gate in the semi-final and our under 12’s fell agonisingly short against Upwey in one of the tightest Semi Finals in recent memory. Our Veterans made the grand final but could not get over the line against a strong South Belgrave Line up.
Season 2017/18 was the return to Norm Reeves Cup for our 1st XI and throughout a tough year, were able to avoid relegation. It was the end of an era with Club Legend, Life Member, Hall of Fame, Long time president Craig Wilkinson stepping down to spend more time travelling with his wife Shailesh. The club can never repay you for your hard work and commitment to our cricket club over 25 years as president and as a committee member for 40 years. The club was now in the reliable hands of club Stalwart Mal Francis. In a double whammy, fellow Legend, Life Member and Hall of Famer, Bryn Gaunt retiring to spend more quality time with his family. Bryn is one of the clubs leading Batsman in which he made 13 centuries with the highest score of 175*. We continued our strong overseas connections with Julian Whetstone joining us for the season. Andrew Devenish led the way with the bat totalling 458 runs at 38.17 and Ben Stallworthy taking 20 wickets at 27.40. JP also saw the addition of another senior side, with the local SKLPS community joining the club, for the beginning of a wonderful partnership. They had a stellar start to the season where they went undefeated until unfortunately, they fell short of the grand final losing to St. Johns Tecoma. A number of junior sides made the finals in their respective age groups but sadly came up short in the semi-finals. The season also saw Steven Devenish part of a premiership win, representing FTGDCA in Melbourne Country Week where he also picked up the “Best on Ground” in the grand final.
There would be a significant improvement during 2018/19 with the 1st XI finishing outside the 4 on percentage in what would become the last season of our longest serving 1st XI captain Andrew Devenish. Andrew has spent 7 years at the helm in what was a successful time in the club’s history, winning two Norm Reeves cups and one Decoite Shield during his tenure. He will take a step back to spend more time focusing on family and his business. Younger brothers Steven and David Devenish leading the way with the bat and ball, respectively. The JPCC SKLPS continued their form from the previous season, again making the Grand final and coming up short against St Johns Tecoma. Unfortunately, it was slim pickings for the rest of the club as they struggled to get wins on the board. The season also saw the return of Life Member and Hall of Famer Tim Reid to head up the coaching ranks and take over the captaincy of the 2nd XI. Mark O’Neill was announced as JP Club Legend after starting as a junior in the late seventies and still playing senior cricket to this day, taking the only club ‘10 for’ versus Bayswater CC and playing in multiple senior premierships.
2019/2020 was a difficult year with mass recruiting taking place around the competition. Club president Mal Francis hands the reins over to Rob Crosby who has seen the last few years as vice president whilst also helping run the junior program and manage the vets. The 1st XI, led by new captain Steven Devenish, again found themselves fighting off relegation, with Steven Devenish playing an outstanding game in the second last game to send Upper Gully down to Decoite shield, however a small thing called COVID-19 saw the season cancelled early with just the grand final lost. The FTGDCA decided to abandon relegation for the season. Big hitting Englishman Joseph Hayes joined for the season who would become our last overseas player since the global pandemic. Andrew Devenish and Mitchell Ley led the way with bat and ball. The season also saw the introduction of our second JPCC SKLPS side, with both sides making the finals. However, could not get the job done falling short.
2020/21 saw the return of cricket under heavy Covid restrictions, with a one-day season implemented due to a reduced season. Once again, the 1st XI won the important games to keep their head above relegation. Steven Devenish had a clean sweep, winning the Batting with 492 runs at 37.85 and bowling with 16 wickets at 19.56. He had solid support from Andrew Devenish and fellow “Mal Francis Medal” winner Mitchell Ley. The lower grades continued their strong form with both SKLPS sides joining our 3rd XI in the finals, unfortunately they all missed out in the semi-finals. The under 14s made the grand final but missed out due to weather with the grand final abandoned without a ball delivered. Karen Devenish was announced as a life member after 15 seasons as club 1st XI scorer.
Once again season 2021/2022 began under strict restrictions with another one-day season looming after a late start. Due to the competition’s desire for an 8-side top division avoiding relegation was going to be difficult with three sides getting relegated. Rob Crosby steps down after two seasons as president. The role was taken up by Toby Whilesmith. Captain Steven Devenish had a career best season where he piled on 665 runs and earning himself a spot in the FTGDCA “Team of the Year” as the opening bat and captain. He also finished runner-up to Jack Saultry who took home the bowling award, taking 15 wickets at 24.47. Otherwise, the lower grades had a wonderful season with all 4 sides making the finals. The division 6 finals series included the “battle for JP” with the SKLPS just getting over the line against the 3rds and running out eventual winners in the grand final. Our second SKLPS side came up short in the grand final against a strong Basin outfit and our “Legends” side in division 9 fell short against Eildon Park. Some of the famous faces included in this side were Mal Francis, Mark O’Neill, Dean Bowman, Cam Clauscen, Adrian Romei, Joey Dantini and none other the “retired” legend Bryn Gaunt who won yet another comp batting award. Our junior section represented the club strongly with the under 12s making the finals and the under 18s taking home the flag. Gary Saultry was announced as a life member after an amazing contribution to the club which started as a junior coach in 2005 and continues as club secretary today.
Go the Sharks!!!