The Five Team Club (1978/79 - 1987/88)
1978/79 saw Mitchell Park field 5 sides for the first time, on the back of their 1977/78 Section 1 premiership. The E-Grade remained for the rest of this decade (and beyond) and Mitchell Park as a club were reasonably successful and quite competitive in Section 1 for the most part, despite a slight dip in the early 80s.
The only premiership in this era was for the C-Grade in Section 5 in 1980/81, but all grades other than the B-Grade managed top 4 finishes at least once over the ten years. Most sides were competitive throughout the late 70s and 80s, and the C-Grade in Section 4 in 1985/86 and D-Grade in Section 6 the following year ended up playing in losing Grand Finals (finals having been introduced in 1984/85).
The A-Grade followed their 1977/78 premiership by finishing third in 1978/79, with club legend Bob Wood winning the batting trophy that would one day bear his name with 381 runs @ 29.3, while fellow legend Peter Berkshire won the bowling with 26 wickets @ 13.0. In 1979/80 Mitchell Park finished fourth, with stoic opener Neil Raeburn making 314 with a best of 131, while All-Time Team member Neil McAvaney won the Section 1 Association Bowling Trophy with 50 wickets, including a best of 7/32.
In 1980/81, the C-Grade won the Section 5 premiership. While four batters topped 140, the leader was Neil Murphy with just 169 runs for the season. But with three dominant bowlers in skipper Steve Kelly (46 wickets @ 8.7), Col Cunningham (34 @ 6.4) and Phil Lawn (25 @ 5.7) supported by cameos from the likes of Berkshire, Gumley and Trevor 'Spud' Murphy, they bowled themselves to victory.
In the last season before finals, 1983/84, two legends won Association trophies, with Alan Sutherland winning the Section 1 batting with 674 runs (including a best of 201 not out, which remains the A-Grade record score) and Peter Berkshire winning the Section 2 bowling trophy with 39 wickets.
1985/86 saw the A-Grade play in the Section 1 finals, ultimately finishing in fourth place. Brian "Skippy" McArdle won both batting trophies with 310 at 28.2, while the bowling aggregate was won Daryl Reynolds and Alan Sutherland with 26 wickets each, and a young Shane Rusby won the bowling average with 19 wickets at 15.05. Dave Reddaway won the Section 2 bowling trophy, and the C-Grade finished runners up in Section 4.
In 1986/87, Alan Sutherland won his second Section 1 batting trophy, with his 521 runs and 27 wickets helping shore up fifth place for the A-Grade. The A's finished this decade in fifth position in 1987/88 thanks to the batting of Neil Murphy and David "Dingo" Dean (who also won the A&SCA Fielding Trophy that year), and the bowling of All Time XI members Neil McAvaney and Daryl Reynolds.
- Bob Wood - Top A-Grade run scorer, as well as a more than handy bowler (over 150 A-Grade wickets). Only player to have played over 200 A-Grade games.
- Alan Sutherland - Our club's greatest all-rounder. Sudsy made 5 of his 6 A-Grade hundreds in this decade, as well as taking 10 of his 15 Five-Fors.
- Brian McArdle - Skippy McArdle was one of our greatest opening batsmen, playing 191 A-Grade games for the Lions. Loved the hook shot.
- Neil Murphy - the bespectacled, moustachioed Murphy was a solid right hand batsmen for the club for much of the 80s and early 90s
- Peter Berkshire - in the 80s Berky was a super quick inswing bowler and hard hitting lower order batsman.
- Phil Davis - the long serving A&SCA president started out as a 5-time D-Grade captain and Life Member at the Lions. Phil played 105 of his 153 games in this decade.
Team Of The Decade (unofficial)
3. A.Sutherland (c) *
4. R.Wood *
6. Neil M. Murphy
8. P.Berkshire *
9. D.Reynolds *
10. M.Thomas +
* = Member of official All-Time XI
(c) = Captain
+ = Wicket Keeper