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History_The 1930's - The Era of the Allrounders

By the early 1930s many of the stalwarts of the 1920s had retired. However there were ready replacements and with Tommy Alway providing the experience, the club entered another successful decade. Season 1931-32 saw the introduction of four new youngsters to Canterbury. These four, Keith Silvers, Clyde Ingram, Len Larkin and Norm Shores were to be the backbone of the side for the next 15 years, ensuring the continuing success of the club. Premierships were won in 1931-32, 34-35, 37-38 and the double triumph, on turf, in 1940-41.

These four players were all very different. Keith Silvers was the elegant left-hander who was the premier batsman in both the Reporter association and the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association. The Silvers, links with Canterbury start before the First World War, with Keith's father Frank who was both a player and club treasurer for many years. Frank became the club scorer at about the same time that young Keith commenced his senior career at Canterbury, and continued in this role until the late 1940's. The club still has scorebooks from this period, and their neatness and detail bear witness to the exacting care that Frank Silvers took in his task. Keith's batting record is outstanding: he won the batting average 9 times. Keith's best year was 1943-44 when he compiled 796 runs at an average of 53.00. His most memorable innings was in the second innings of the 1941-42 Grand Final at McCleay Park against old rivals Mont Albert. Canterbury were struggling at 3-38 in the second innings (and already behind on the first innings) against the slow off spin of Geoff Mair, when Keith proceeded to play the innings of his life lifting Mair 4 times in as many overs out of the ground. Keith finished with 157 not out which included 9 sixes and Canterbury ended the day at 7-282. Unfortunately the next Saturday was washed out and Mont Albert won that particular premiership on the first innings. Keith was captain of the first eleven for 6 years, and was captain when Canterbury played its first game on turf against Deepdene in 1938-39. Keith also served on the committee and was treasurer for five years.

Then there was Clyde Ingram, who was a slashing left hand bat, known for his big hitting, and a right arm fast bowler. Clyde was a dynamic personality with a great love for the club, a real motivator who could lift other players with his enthusiasm, powerful hitting and magnificent fielding. Clyde was one of the three top all-rounders that the club was blessed with in this period, winning the batting average twice and the bowling average 5 times. Clyde was also the captain of the first eleven for a number of years in the early 1940's.

Len Larkin was a remarkable cricketer, who like the others joined the club in the early '30's and played for the next 20 years. Len had suffered from polio as a child, and as a result his mobility and gait were somewhat affected. But this adversity only made him more determined to succeed. "Lark" as he is known became a successful stock bowler of medium paced leg breaks, and a forceful opening bat. As he explained to this writer he enjoyed the new ball coming onto the bat.

He remembers fondly his demolition of Harold Britt (a left hand quickie from Deepdene who played a few games for Victoria) in 1947-48. 'Lark' hit 29 off Britt's opening over (a 2, five 4's, a 6 and a cheeky single to keep the strike), to effectively destroy Britt's confidence for the semi final the following week. We will be hearing more about Britt and Deepdene a little later. Len was captain of the first XI in his latter years, and was twice captain of the combined E.S.C.A. side that played an annual match against Hawthorn East Melbourne.

The other all rounder who came to the club at this time was Norm Shores, known as 'Shoresy'. Norm was introduced to the club by Sid Mackie. Norm's career with Canterbury spans 40 years and his contribution to Canterbury has been colossal. Further mention of Norm will be made later on.

But there were others too. George Guiver (Keith Silvers' brother-in-law) was an elegant right hand bat, a useful change bowler and an outstanding fieldsman. Ralph Jeffrey was an all rounder who went on to play district cricket with Richmond, and managed some games with Victoria. One of his claims to fame is that he bowled Bill Ponsford in a district game. Then there was Stan Self, who played on and off for 20 years and bowled slow leg breaks. Stan won the bowling average in his first year with the club in 1935-36, and in the semi final of that year, against North Balwyn, added 90 for the final wicket with Jackie Morris, to enable Canterbury to finish with 140. Alec Briggs and Noel Thackeray made good contributions with the bat, and O'Connor and Littlefield were useful bowlers. Billy Hulme was a reliable wicket keeper for much of this period.

The success of the club in this period was built around consistency and flexibility. For example in the 1937-38 premiership year 5 players scored over 250 runs and eight players took more than 10 wickets. Clyde Ingram won both the batting and bowling trophies, but Norm Shores was awarded the all rounders' trophy.

A feature of the club during these depression years was its 'togetherness'. Of course. 'on field' success was a part of this, but much of it was due to the generosity of Mr and Mrs Guiver (senior), who every Sunday used to open their home to members of the club. Mrs Guiver would serve beautiful meals, while George senior would supply the necessary liquid refreshments. Impromptu entertainment and card games made the evenings enjoyable and ensured a real basis for friendship and loyalty to the club that was carried onto the playing field.

Financially the club survived these depression years through donations from local businesses, and annual subscriptions of 10/- from players. Players also contributed 1/- a week to pay for the umpires. The average wage at this time was still around 4 Pounds per week.

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Elizabeth and David Everard
Jane and Paul Dillon

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