The Golden Years (1968/69 - 1977/78)
At the end of the 1967/68 season, the Happy Valley Cricket Club announced that they were relocating to the Mitchell Park Sports Ground and would also be renamed, to the Mitchell Park Cricket Club. During the first season as Mitchell Park (1968/69), they fielded two sides for the first time, and the A-Grade won the Section 2 premiership.
This resulted in promotion to Section 1. Over the next 9 years Mitchell Park finished in the top four on 8 occasions and finished their first ten years at Mitchell Park with our first (and to-date, only) Section 1 premiership in 1977/78.
This was by far our most successful decade in the A-Grade, and this was reflected when our All-Time Team was chosen for the 50 Year celebrations, with some 6 representatives from this era making the All-Time side.
In their first season as Mitchell Park (1968/69), the A-Grade won the Section 2 premiership under the guidance of captain Fred Wright. Two members of the Club's All-Time XI led the way, with Kevin Heffernan winning the batting trophy (that would one day bear his name) for the third time, and captain Fred Wright winning the bowling trophy for the second year in a row. Wright's 43 wickets at just 9.4 also gained him the A&SCA Section 2 Bowling Trophy. Along with F.Arscott (38 wickets at 12.2 in his only season for the Lions) and Gordon Carey (31 wickets at 15.1), Mitchell Park's bowling ripped through most batting lineups. Heffernan's 361 pipped the skipper Wright by just 3 runs for the batting aggregate, while Gordon Carey won the batting average with 303 runs at 30.3.
In their first season of Section 1 (1969/70), Mitchell Park finished in second position, this time under Kevin Heffernan's captaincy. Future All-Time XI member Gordon Carey won the A&SCA Section 1 Bowling trophy with 54 wickets. Fielding three teams for the first time, both the B-Grade and C-Grade finished third, in Sections 3 and 4 respectively.
Mitchell Park finished third again in 1970/71, then advanced to second in 1971/72, but dropped out of the four in 1972/73 for the only time in the decade. After returning up the ladder to third in 1973/74, they finished fourth in each of the following three seasons before completing their first decade at Mitchell Park with the 1977/78 Section 1 premiership under Neil McAvaney. Again, two members of the Club's All-Time XI led the way, with Bob Wood winning the batting trophy with 276 runs at 25.1 and skipper McAvaney winning the bowling trophy with 34 wickets at 12.2, featuring a best of 5/21. Jon Downs made 233 at 29.1 to win the batting average, and Gordon Carey also contributed strongly with the bat with 189 at 27.0. Carey also took 18 wickets, and along with David Peters (20 wickets at 16.6) he helped provide the main bowling assistance to McAvaney's spin.
In the lower grades, the C-Grade finished Section 4 runners up in 1972/73, and the B-Grade won the 1975/76 Section 3 premiership after a dominant season under stalwart Kevin Heffernan, who had dropped down the ranks by this stage of his career. Fred Wright won the batting aggregate with 472 runs, which remains the B-Grade season aggregate record and won him the A&SCA Section 3 Batting Trophy. Meanwhile, a young John Leicester averaged 175 with the bat in his 3 innings to win the 1975/76 B-Grade Batting Average trophy. With the ball, it was the triumvirate of Steve Kelly (31 wickets), John Gumley (29) and Peter Berkshire (25 @ 5.0 including best of 8/7) who brought most of the success. Also, Gordon Carey won the A&SCA Section 1 Bowling Trophy for the second time in 1975/76.
As well as the Section 1 premiership, 1977/78 also saw Mitchell Park field four sides for the first time, confirming their status as a powerhouse of the Adelaide and Suburban competition in the 70s.
- Neil McAvaney - Captain of Club All-Time XI. Off-spinner and lower order bat.
- Gordon Carey - Member of Club All-Time XI. All-Rounder. Middle order bat, quick bowler.
- David Peters - All-Rounder. Middle order bat, swing bowler. One of only six players to have won both the A-Grade batting and bowling trophies (along with Jolly, Wright, Carey, Sutherland and Farrant).
- Trevor Thompson - Quick bowler, as well as member of famous "Thompson Team" of 1999/00.
- Ron Hilton - widely acknowledged as one of our greatest ever wicket keepers, if not the greatest.
Team Of The Decade (unofficial)
2. K.Heffernan *
3. R.Wood *
6. F.Wright *
7. G.Carey *
8. N.McAvaney (c) *
9. P.Berkshire *
11. R.Hilton +
* = Member of official All-Time XI
(c) = Captain
+ = Wicket Keeper