Para Vista Lutheran Cricket Club was founded in 1979, when a group of seven players from the nearby Enfield Lutheran Cricket Club decided that the rapidly growing Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and developing Para Vista area deserved a cricket club of their own. Under the astute founding presidency of club legend Tom Ollino, a single team was entered into the South Australian Churches & Community Cricket Association Division 5.
The logo from those days was a little different to the Para Vista logo we're all familiar with, but all the basics are still there!
The eleven players involved in that inaugural 1979-1980 season sent a clear message to churches cricket that the Para Vista Lutheran Cricket Club would become a strong and successful club, by winning all their matches that summer, apart from the Grand Final. John Dolling (Para Vista’s first inductee to life membership) scored a phenomenal 1013 runs that season, a Division 5 record that stands to this day.
Here's a picture of John Dolling addressing his charges in a recent past-players match at Para Vista Primary School:
The Grand Final loss of 1979-1980 burned deeply within those first eleven players, who managed to organise a second team for the 1980-1981 summer and have another tilt at a grand final – this time in Division 2 and Division 5. After finishing atop the ladder in the minor round, the Division 2 side sailed through the finals to secure the club’s first premiership title, and were promptly promoted to Division 1 for the 1981-1982 season.
The summer of 1981-1982 was hard fought, as Para Vista Lutheran became accustomed to A-Grade churches cricket, but the first team was able to scrape into fourth position and a finals berth. From here, Para Vista surprised all concerned by dominating the Semi Finals and then the Grand Final, to secure an A-Grade Premiership with the club’s first attempt. Colin McCard (5/38) and Ian Crawley (68) starred in the Grand Final, and as the following two summers unfolded, the club grew to three teams.
Ron Rathjen joined Para Vista in these halcyon days of the eighties - here he is celebrating a victory with team-mates!
At the beginning of the 1984-1985 season, Para Vista bid farewell to some of its finest players who departed to form the Tea Tree Gully Lutheran Cricket Club in another quickly developing area further up the hill’s face. The club dropped back to two teams for the next couple of seasons and when the A-Grade side was relegated to Division 2 in 1987-1988, it seemed that there were some tough times ahead for Para Vista – but what unfolded from that point onwards was the beginning of a record-breaking golden era for the club.
After winning the Division 2 premiership during the 1988-1989 summer, Para Vista found its way back into the highest grade and added two more teams – bringing the club total to four sides and providing an opportunity for young players from the local high school to play alongside their fathers in the lower divisions. Some of these young players form the backbone of our teams to this day.
Astonishingly, throughout the nineties, Para Vista’s four teams would go on to win twelve premierships between them, including eight consecutive A-Grade flags, a churches cricket record that will likely never be beaten. No less than thirty A-Grade players represented the club in those eight winning campaigns, and three players – Jeff Eckermann, Graeme Tscharke and Simon Janetzki – were privileged enough to play in all of them. Two players (Mark Weinert and Jason Maloney) were happy to play in six. In these eight seasons at the top, the A-Grade side won 81 of 94 matches, including an undefeated season in 1996-1997. Another crazy statistic from that era is that during the 1993-1994 summer, Para Vista teams fielded two sides in Division One, and they played off against each other in the Grand Final. Incredible stuff.
Here are the team photos from the 1992-93 A-Grade premiership, followed by the 1997-98 A-Grade premiership side.
Throughout this era, the club was administered by some talented and committed individuals. John Dolling served two separate terms as president, totalling sixteen years. Darren Cossens, Bruce Maple, Simon Janetzki, and Gary Spry also sacrificed a total of thirty years between them serving in roles such as secretary and treasurer. John Dolling and Maurice Foote also held the esteemed position of President of the SA Churches & Community Cricket Association for extended periods.
Beyond this dominant era of the nineties, Para Vista performed well across all divisions – managing to contest four more A-Grade Grand Finals (but sadly losing them all), and securing a D-Grade flag as the club sought to rebuild… and rebuild it did! Beginning with the 2006-2007 season, Para Vista begun another unbroken stretch of A-Grade premierships, totalling five consecutive seasons. Captains Richard Marshall and Marc Cossens ushered their sides through these summers with dominance, beating all-comers to establish another Para Vista dynasty in Division 1. In 2008-2009 and then again in 2010-2011, the club secured premierships with both their A-Grade and B-Grade sides. In 2008-2009, Steve Vines’ B-Grade side trounced Magill-Morialta inside the first day, the victorious team heading to the A-Grade final against North-Eastern Knights to watch their Division 1 counterparts Richie Marshall and Jonathan Smith put on a triple-century stand for the fourth wicket (both scoring centuries) to bring home the A-Grade shield. In 2010-2011, the A’s dismissed Fitzroy for a miserly 37 on Grand Final day, whilst the B’s managed to defend a small total against Adelaide Lutheran. The post-match parties after those dual-premiership Saturdays were a sight to behold - as you can tell from the smiles written on the faces of both sides in this photo from 2010-11:
The 2010-11 flags were the most recent premierships that Para Vista has won, but in the seasons since, both sides have performed admirably, reaching finals at the culmination of most summers and giving the best of their respective competitions a run for their money. The team affectionately known as The Goat-Herders (in reference to the team logo and the church from which the club was borne) still plays each Saturday at Edward Smith Reserve with the same vigour and respect for cricket as it did when those founding fathers first took to the field some 40 years ago.
Season 2018-19, the club’s 40th, sees PVCC enter a new era. Playing our cricket in Para Districts Cricket Association, will provide new opportunities for the club to further grow and our players to develop. Due to plenty of hard work off the field and plenty of fun on the field, Para Vista secured it’s first Premiership in 8 years; successful in the highest Limited Overs Grade at PDCA. Our first PDCA premiership in our first season. 2018/19 brought 610 runs by the longest serving Marc Cossens, 43 wickets from Jarrad McLeod and a stunning 126 not out in the Semi (to go with his 178* earlier in the season) by Tim Hodson ensured we progressed. Dismissing Salisbury North for 57 set up the Grand Final win. After 20 years at the club, and 4 for 2 in the Final, club staward Scott Brown secured his first A-Grade Premiership.
The 2019/20 Summer provides the backdrop to the next stage in the club’s history. The introduction of Women’s Cricket to Para Vista. We are looking for Women Cricketers to form our inaugural squad. Whether your have played before or are keen to just give it a go, jump on board. The club will provide the tools and support for your cricketing journey to begin.
PVCC's home ground is the picturesque Edward Smith Reserve on Grand Junction Road at Northfield, with the imposing walls of Yatala Prison forming the ground's eastern boundary. Matches are played on most Saturday afternoons in summer, Women on Monday Evenings. The club trains at Cedar College on Thursday nights from 5:30pm.
PVCC welcomes enquiries from players of all ages and skill levels, who may be interested in becoming a proud Double Blue. Will your heart beat Blue?
Do you fancy a hit? Come out and join in!
Story: Aaron Burgess expanded Scott Brown
Some text adapted from "100 Up! Celebrating a Century of Church Cricket in South Australia 1906-2006" Maurice Foote, 2006, Churches & Community Cricket Association Inc (in conjunction with Openbook Australia, Halifax Street, Adelaide).
Photos courtesy Mark Weinert & Marc Cossens private collections.