History of WA Scammell Reserve

The ground was bushland in the early 1950’s and the Oakleigh Cricket Club who had entered the VSDCA in 1949 was seeking an additional ground for the establishment of a second turf wicket so that all four senior teams of the Club could play turf cricket.
The foresight of the then Secretary of Oakleigh Cricket Club, Lionel Dickson, saw this area in Guest Road as a suitable site. The Oakleigh Athletic Club was also seeking to establish a suitable home ground.

The combined efforts of Lionel Dickson of the Oakleigh Cricket Club and Geoff Goldworthy of the Oakleigh Athletic Club, both local businessmen, were able to convince the Oakleigh City Council to clear the land with the purpose of developing it into a sporting ground.

In 1957 Lionel Dickson on behalf of the Oakleigh Cricket Club conducted a “Miss Oakleigh” Competition to raise funds to pay for the installation of the turf area. A number of other local Clubs sponsored girls in the competition which was won by Desleigh Ward representing the Oakleigh Junior Swimming Club.
The turf wicket areas, centre wicket and practice wicket were duly laid and the Club played all their second eleven matches and trained there for two season (1959/60 & 1960/61) while the Oakleigh main ground was being resurfaced. The Club’s first eleven had to play all their matches away for those two years.

At considerable cost to the Oakleigh Cricket Club 3 phase power was connected to the ground for the electric roller to be used for the preparation of the wickets. Power had to brought from North Road along Guest Road and across to a central area along the southern boundary of the ground. This included the cost of supplying and erecting two poles. The electric roller was constructed by Fred White, a Life Member of the Club, at the cost of the Oakleigh Cricket Club. The Athletic Club commenced using the ground in 1957 for Little Athletics and continued using the ground for some years until Davies Reserve was developed specifically for the Athletic Club.

Around that time an old house in Broadway (Dandenong Road) was being demolished to make way for industrial development and the Athletic Club were able to have that building transferred to the Guest Road Reserve (as it was then known) for use as their dressing rooms. It was erected near the south west corner of the reserve. The Oakleigh Cricket Club obtained the tin garage that belonged to the house and they used that for their dressing room. This was erected near the Athletic Club house. The Athletic Club and the Cricket Club had power connected to those buildings at their cost. Power having to be brought in from North Road and three poles were erected.

In 1960 the Oakleigh Cricket Club entered their 3rd their games away as the Guest Road ground was being used by the 2nd the 4th eleven also in the MCL and the 3rd. For a number of years the Oakleigh Cricket Club did the bulk of the wicket preparation and a roster system of players was adopted for the final preparation and wicket marking on Saturday mornings. The water supply was sufficient to run seven sprinklers at a time and members of the club used to use them on evenings whenever possible and Rowland Williams spent every Sunday from daylight to dark for some four or five years connecting and shifting sprinklers to ensure that as much of the ground as possible received some watering. The sprinklers and hoses were supplied by the Cricket Club and stored in the tin shed. As they took up considerable space they had to be taken out each match day and put back before leaving the ground.

When Oakleigh Council formed Committees of Management for all the council reserves, Rowland Williams of the Oakleigh Cricket Club was the first Treasurer of the W.A. Scammell Reserve Committee of Management and held this position for many years. Other Oakleigh CC life members to be involved on committees at Scammell have been John Doig in the late eighties and early nineties and Allan Stamps for more than fifteen years to the present time.

In Oakleigh Cricket Club’s centenary season the Guest Road Reserve on 25th renamed the W.A. Scammell Reserve at the request of Oakleigh Cricket Club in recognition of William Alfred (Wob) Scammell, a long serving member and Life Member of the Oakleigh Cricket Club and the Oakleigh District Cricket Assoc. The Oakleigh Cricket Club Ladies teams used the ground on Sundays for some years until 1996. For the last four seasons (2008/09 - 2011/12) Oakleigh’s Under 15 Sunday team played their home games there.

Oakleigh CC has enjoyed continuous use of the ground for over 50 years. The Monash Council Horticultural Services now curates the ground and the wicket provides an even contest to both batsman and bowlers.

WA Scammell Reserve is a wonderful place to play cricket and it has been the breeding ground for many fine cricketers that have played at Oakleigh Cricket Club. It is a very important piece of the clubs evolving history.