Happy Valley Origins (1958/59 - 1967/68)
Mitchell Park Cricket Club traces its history back to 1958/59, when the Happy Valley club entered a side in Section 5 of the Adelaide & Suburban Cricket Competition.
Why is Happy Valley part of Mitchell Park history?
At the end of the 1967/68 season, the Happy Valley club notified the A&SCA that they would be relocating to the Mitchell Park oval and would be renamed to Mitchell Park Cricket Club as a result.
Roughly half of the Mitchell Park A-Grade players in 1968/69 had played for Happy Valley the previous season.
Why start at 1958/59?
Happy Valley commenced playing cricket at the old Happy Valley Recreation Ground from at least the 1875/76 season (one year before the first test match).
They competed in the Southern League for many years, last competing in 1954/55.
After having no team at all for 3 seasons, Happy Valley then entered a team in in Section 5 of the Adelaide & Suburban Cricket Competition in 1958/59.
As no players from 1954/55 or earlier had significant careers post 1958/59 and no players at all from 1954/55 (or earlier) went on to play for Mitchell Park, it was agreed by the club committee in the late 90s that the club's history (and associated records and statistics) should start when Happy Valley joined Adelaide and Suburban in 1958/59.
Furthermore, it was decided at that point that all Happy Valley records from that time onwards should be included in our club records.
Prior to this, only players who had played for both Happy Valley and Mitchell Park were included in Mitchell Park records.
By taking our history back to 1958/59, we cover the full Mitchell Park era, we include the full careers of players who played for both Happy Valley and Mitchell Park, and the three season gap and change of leagues makes for a nice logical break from the Happy Valley side that has no major connections to the side that relocated to Mitchell Park.
For the record, Brian Schurgott (who played for us as Happy Valley, but not as Mitchell Park) helped reform a team called Happy Valley some time in the early 1970s, several years after Happy Valley relocated to Mitchell Park. This "new" Happy Valley club still exists, and we have no connections with their history at all.
In their first season, Happy Valley finished fourth in Section 5, the lowest available level of competition. This was largely due to the efforts of captain Jack Jolly, who averaged 74 with the bat and 10 with the ball! Jolly had 3 x 100s and 4 x 50s in 14 innings that season, as well as taking twice as many wickets as his next best teammate. Fittingly, Jolly's 816 runs and 47 wickets won him both the A&SCA Section 5 Batting and Section 5 Bowling Trophies.
Jack Jolly led Happy Valley to their first premiership in Section 4 during the following season, 1959/60. Mitchell Park dominated this section, the lowest available, going through the season undefeated.
Don Dewar made nearly 700 runs to pip Jack Jolly for the batting trophy, while Jack Jolly took 50 wickets to win the bowling trophy ahead of his son Des Jolly, who took 30, while Brian Schurgott snaffled 20 wickets with his medium pacers. Dewar won the A&SCA Section 4 Batting Trophy and Jack Jolly won the A&SCA Section 4 Bowling Trophy.
Happy Valley went back-to-back under Jolly in 1960/61, this time in Section 3. The batting honours were shared around this season. Des Jolly won the aggregate with 441, but there were solid contributions from Jack Jolly, Bob Langley (brother of Australian Test wicketkeeper Gil Langley) and Don Dewar. With the ball, Jack Jolly won the bowling aggregate, as he did in every season he played at Happy Valley, while he was ably backed by M.Chambers with 35 wickets and Brian Schurgott took 24 in another consistent season.
For the rest of the Happy Valley era, they competed in Section 2, placing 4th in 1961/62 and 3rd in 1962/63, 1966/67 and 1967/68.
Jack Jolly won his third and fourth A&SCA Bowling Trophies in 1963/64 (Section 2, 47 wickets) and 1966/67 (Section 2, 40 wickets).
In 1967/68, Fred Wright won the A&SCA Section 2 Batting Trophy with 850 runs, including two magnificent centuries: 197 and 113, both against Kenilworth. This remained our Club's record run aggregate in a season for almost thirty years, and still remains the A-Grade record.
- Jack Jolly - Member of Club All-Time XI. Middle order bat and first change outswing bowler come off-spinner.
- Fred Wright - Member of Club All-Time XI. All-Rounder. Middle order bat, leg spin bowler.
- Kevin Heffernan - Member of Club All-Time XI. Top Order batsman, part time bowler.
- Des Jolly - son of Jack Jolly. Middle order batsman and off-spinner.
- Bob Langley - brother of test cricketer Gil Langley. Good top order batsman. Tragically died young when hit by a train at work in the railyards.
- Brian Schurgott - walked with a limp, bowled medium pace. Took over 100 wickets at a low average.
Team Of The Decade (unofficial)
2. K.Heffernan *
5. J.Jolly (c) *
6. F.Wright *
7. J.Manning +
* = Member of official All-Time XI
(c) = Captain
+ = Wicket Keeper