Marking 150 years of Maffra cricket

A NEW book will tell the story of the Maffra Cricket Club, which is celebrating 150 years.

Author Allan Evans said that it was amazing what he dug up.

“For a town the size of Maffra, (it) was the place that dominated all of Gippsland football, and it dominated Gippsland cricket too, between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” he said.

“Some of the players were so good they were actually banned from playing, they weren’t allowed to play together because they made Maffra unbeatable.

“There was one player, Willie Mitchell, who took well over a hundred wickets every year.”

While the club has gone through several iterations, Mr Evans said it was interesting to see how the club culture had changed since its earliest days.

“Back in the 1880s there was prestige to be gained from being part of the cricket club community, it was more of a social position to be president of the cricket club than to be part of the sporting fraternity,” he said.

“This is where the elite sort of met, people like Angus McMillan and Allan McLean, he was vice premier of Victoria and president of the Maffra Cricket Club at the same time.

“Not because he was keen on cricket, but it was a position of social standing within the community.”

Evans’ project began when the club decided to find some memorabilia for the clubroom, and stumbled across a Gippsland Times article while researching family history.

“I found a cricket match, from before the town was around, before it was called Maffra and … seeing as how we’re doing this updating of all our memorabilia, I thought, that’s interesting, it’s from 150 years ago, maybe I can find a few things from that time that we can stick on the wall, and I got carried away,” he said sheepishly.

The book will be launched on February 20 at the club rooms.

One hundred and fifty copies will be published, with all proceeds going into the club.

“It’d be good to get as many people from the past here,” Evans said.

“Every club around here, they’re very protective of their record, everyone’s very proud of what they achieve.”