Nuna Legend Alec Culvenor turns 90 !
Nunawading CC announces, with pleasure, the 90th birthday of Alec Culvenor. Many current and former Nuna players and families will not know much, if anything of Alec. Well, let’s fix that right now.
Alec is a Nuna legend, Life Member, First XI Captain, past-President (commencing in 1961-62) and 3-time premiership player. He played in First XI Premierships in 1957-58 (Nuna CC First A Grade Premiership), 58-59 and 60-61.
Alec, and his wife Joan, moved to Nunawading in August 1948. Alec started at Nuna the following season, 1949-50.
In 1957-58, Nunawading won it’s first A grade premiership. Captained by Alec, the team consisted of himself, vice captain Bob Saker, George Dolan, Doug Bosworth, Eric Thornton, Ken Rout, Doug Stephens, Les Jones, Bert Murphy, Tommy Reeves and Eddie Ham. For those older Nuna players, that is arguably a Team of the Century in its own right.
A local paper, The Eastern Times, had the following to say about Nunawading’s premiership:
This is the first A Grade premiership for the Club, in fact the first A Grade final in which they have played. On the first Saturday (March 15, 1958) Blackburn batted first and made 140, R. Street 56 n.o, Tom Reeves 5/15. Nunawading then commenced their first innings, and at stumps were 2/165, compiled in 110 minutes. The innings resumed on the second Saturday (March 22, 1958) and Nunawading only managed to add 52 runs for the remaining 8 wickets. Bob Saker (57) and Alec Culvenor (46), vice captain and captain respectively, were associated in a third wicket partnership of 98. D. Meehan took 7/51.
Nunawading were 77 runs ahead when Blackburn commenced their second innings and were 6/187 at drawing of stumps on the second day. Resuming on the third and last day (March 29, 1958), Blackburn declared at 9/279, D Meehan 90, C Frank (Captain) 64 n.o. at approximately 2.15 pm leaving Nunawading 202 to make to draw and 203 to win, in approximately even batting time. Nunawading scored 204 for the loss of eight to win by two runs. George Dolan scored 104, Doug Bosworth 36 n.o. while R Street took 3/45 and D Meehan 3/56. They had 25 minutes to spare.
The President of the Association stated, at the Club’s presentation dance held last Saturday at the pavilion that this is the best final match he had seen in 20 years. The following A Grade trophies were presented at the dance: Batting: George Dolan average 36.6, Bowling: Eric Thornton average 11.3, Fielding: Keith Fitzmaurice.” The Blackburn First XI players who competed in this Grand Final attended our Presentation Night.
This team followed up the next season (1958-59) with another premiership.
Alec was awarded Life Membership at the AGM on August 26, 1958.
Another premiership followed in 1960-61with Messrs Saker, Dolan, Culvenor, Bosworth, Thornton, Jones and Murphy playing in their third A Grade premiership. Club legends Mick McLachlan and Alan Haag also played in this team.
Alec noted, in his contribution to a book written on the history of the Club that “…..three players who were to make a significant impact on the batting line-up of other teams for several years were Eric Thornton and Ian Rowe as bowlers and Bob Saker in the slips, one of the best combinations I have seen”.
Alec was made Life Member in 1959, and was Club President for 4 years.
In 1980 Alec and Joan retired to Newstead, where they still live and Alec coached the local Under 16’s for several years. Alec tells a wonderful story albeit starting unfortunately when their home was burgled in 1995. Weeks later a lady living in Campbells Creek rang Alec and asked him if he ever played cricket for Nunawading Cricket Club. Of course Alec had and the lady advised him that her four year old son had picked up his Life Membership Badge in the local creek where the thieves had dumped the things they didn’t want over the bridge rail. The boy was very keen on cricket and the badge appealed to him. The lady noted the name on the back of the badge and tracked Alec down as she thought, rightly, that the owner would place great value on the badge. Alec suitable rewarded the youngster with suitable cricketing material.
Alec’s favourite cricket memory at Nuna is in a final when “the opposing (champion) batsman objected strongly to Keith Fitzgerald’s bowling. Keith was tall and quick and was accused of bowling bouncers to the point that Nuna were threatened with the reporting on Keith to the umpire (Fred Watson). I [as captain] replied that I would not give them the satisfaction and replaced Keith; where-upon the vocal offender was bowled first ball by the reliever”.
Alec’s stats over his career, place him well at the top of the list of the best bowlers ever to play at Nuna:
Best Career Bowling Averages,All Grades
|First Name||Surname||Total Overs||Total Maidens||Total Wickets||Total Runs||Average|
Alec and Joan have been good enough to come to many presentation nights over the years and Alec attended last season. It is with great fondness that the Club wishes Alec a very happy 90th birthday !