The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club has acquired a rich history of home grounds since our foundation in 1918, all of which have very interesting stories to tell.
For almost three decades, the Spartans have been based at John Connell Reserve, although we haven’t always been situated in the multi-million dollar facilities we enjoy today.
Listed below is a detailed listing of our previous home grounds, from our time at Fremantle Park in the 1920s, to a variety of other locations after the Second World War, including Karoonda Oval and Trevor Gribble Reserve.
Our time at John Connell has also changed dramatically over the years, with our clubhouse previously located in the building encompassing the change rooms, before the shift next door to the newly built Leeming Sports Association complex.
John Connell Reserve – 1988-Present:
Having moved from Trevor Gribble Reserve in Bull Creek (which as seen below is still one of our home grounds), the Club changed its name for the second time in seven years to the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club.
In 1988, the Club was granted the magnificent sporting complex at Connell Reserve situated on Dimond Court, Leeming as its home ground.
The playing field measured 200 metres by 150 metres being planted in 1983 so were exceptionally well grassed and clearly had the potential to be the best playing arena in the whole association.
A clubhouse and change rooms had been built on the reserve at a cost of $209,000 and had been completed in December 1985.
The club provided the finance for the central pitch which was installed at a cost of $4000.
Before the club could take possession an incorporated association had to be formed with the Melville Allemania Soccer Club (now Leeming Strikers Soccer Club), who were the winter users of the complex.
Allemania was a second division club who had enjoyed a spell in the First division.
The association comprising the two clubs was then formed as the Leeming Sportsmans Association and as such took occupancy of the Connell complex in February 1986.
For over twenty years the Club enjoyed the Connell clubhouse rooms, until 2001, when a momentous plan began to upgrade the facilities.
By the time the new millennium had begun, the Club had been enjoying the facilities at John Connell for many years now, but the rapid growth of the Club meant that there was a need to further expand on the facilities.
Under the leadership of Brian Waterer, the Club’s most pivotal person in bringing these plans to life, the Club had approached the Melville City Council for a loan to add a second ground to the John Connell complex and to extend the clubhouse to accommodate a cool room and a committee room.
After some discussion, the Melville Council suggested that if the Leeming Bowling Club (situated just behind the existing Connell clubrooms) were to join the Leeming Sportsmans Association, the Council would be prepared to enter into a feasibility study to investigate the possibilities of building a multi-faceted building to cover the needs of the three sporting clubs.
Spartan President Brian Waterer (left) and Melville City Council Mayor Katherine Jackson (right) at the 2003 clubhouse opening.
The Club was elated at the prospect of being granted a sensational new clubhouse, and in October 2003, dream became reality when it was officially opened.
This project would also include the new cricket ground (with lighting) and another bowling rink.
After several meetings and some months of discussion, the architects concept plans were approved and these plans then went to the finance committee of the Melville City Council for approval.
Subsequently, the Council allocated $1 million dollars to the project which left the Leeming Sports Association to pursue a further $1 million through grants and loans to get the project to its next stage.
The project was completed in October 2003, and was formally opened on the fifth of that month by Melville City Council Mayor Katherine Jackson.
The new complex has panoramic views of the club’s cricket ground, air conditioning and a commerical grade kitchen and bar.
The culmination of years of work by the combined clubs through the LSA, it is a fantastic facility sure to benefit the operations of all three clubs.
During the opening ceremony, Mayor Jackson offered special praise to Leeming Spartan President Brian Waterer, who as President of the LSA had been the driving force behind the establishment of the facility.
The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club has utilised the outstanding facilities ever since, and they have certainly stood the test of time – built to such a high standard that our home ground is still by far and above, the leading location in the association.
Such is the quality of the location, you can even hire our home ground for your own function by clicking here.
John Connell Reserve (2016)
Trevor Gribble – 1981-1988:
Before the relocation to John Connell, a move almost universally approved by our members at the time in 1988, the Club was based at Trevor Gribble Reserve in Bull Creek, resulting in our name being the “Bullcreek Spartans”.
The move to Trevor Gribble occurred in 1981 as an attempt to acquire a more permanent location, with Clubs baring the name of their location given precedence over Clubs like ours. At the time, we were simply the Spartan Cricket Club.
Interestingly, the Club had been very happy with its previous home ground at Karoonda Reserve (now utilised by CBC), so it came as a shock to many of the members when the Club was re-sited to Trevor Gribble Park.
This was made more confusing as the Spartans were being moved so that the Brentwood Cricket Club could be moved onto Karoonda.
It was becoming very obvious that associations such as the F&DMCA (the association we found ourselves in at the time) were moving more towards district cricket and that district clubs – or those clubs with district names – were more likely to receive assistance from the various councils.
There were those on the Committee who had been aware of this for some time and had been advocating a change of name so as to give the club a better political bargaining point with any future ground negotiations.
Brian Waterer had led a move in the mid sixties to change the name to North Fremantle Spartans in an attempt to get Gil Fraser Reserve in North Fremantle as Spartans permanent headquarters.
The more conservative majority on the Committee crushed this proposal as they believed that Spartans long history and good name would see them granted Gil Fraser anyway. Subsequently a side by the name of Bank of Adelaide changed their name to North Fremantle Rovers and were moved onto Gil Fraser.
In its long history Spartans had acquired an impressive list of home venues, from Fremantle Park, Richmond Raceway, Steven’s Reserve, Gibson Park, Davilak Oval, Preston Point, John Curtin High School, South Fremantle Recreation Reserve, Karoonda Reserve and now Trevor Gribble.
Thus, the move to Gribble was put in motion to give the Spartan Cricket Club a district name (a name associated with the Club’s location, so as to prevent any forced moves in the future).
After a much bitter debate, which saw a few friendships fractured, the Club officially altered its name to the Bullcreek Spartan Cricket Club to reflect our location at Trevor Gribble, Bull Creek.
Significantly, the name change actually made no difference to the general organisation as it remained the cricketing activity under the auspices of the Spartan Sportsmans Association Incorporated. The Club colours remained the same as they had been since 1945, two blues and the famous red Spartan warriors head.
Karoonda Reserve – 1976-1980:
The Club acquired its first official home ground on the premises at Karoonda Reserve, a location now utilised by the opposition, the CBC Cricket Club.
Up until 1976, the Spartan Cricket Club had never held its own official home ground.
The Club had previously utilised Fremantle Park on Ellen Street, a location used as a central hub for all clubs based in the Fremantle & Districts Mercantile Cricket Association, before moving to a number of other locations including the Richmond Raceway, Steven’s Reserve, Gibson Park, Davilak Oval, Preston Point, and John Curtin High School.
Despite the revolving door of different locations, there was never an official headquarters where Club merchandise such as flags and premierships could be permanently stored for display.
By the time 1976 rolled around, the Club had been operating for over thirty years since it reopened following the end of the Second World War, meaning there were members who had been around for a long time, and wanted to view the historical records on display in a permanent housing.
The growing push for a location to set up shop meant that for the first time in its 59 year history, the Spartans acquired an official home ground.
Melville City Council granted the Spartan Cricket Club the Karoonda Reserve in Booragoon as its first official headquarters.
The Club did its part by funding the installation of practice wickets on the reserve.
The fine social facility now at the Spartans’ disposal led to the development of a very interesting social life for the Club which benefited both its financial wellbeing, and the morale of its members.
No Home Ground – 1945-1976:
Whilst the Club never had an official home ground before 1976’s move to Karoonda Oval, it did have a number of temporary residencies throughout its history.
Whilst exact historical records are hard to come across, it is interesting to note that during the 1933/34 season, the Club was based at the Richmond Raceway, having recently moved from Fremantle Park, the home of the cricketing association that the Club competed in.
By 1934, Fremantle Park had deteriorated into such a poor condition that Richmond Raceway became the headquarters of the F&DMCA. It is known that at this stage it was still Spartan’s ‘home ground’ of sorts.
Spartan Origin – Pre-WW2:
The Spartan team began playing in December 1918 and although they played on a regular basis it was in a rather loose collection of clubs playing with the Fremantle Matting Association which was run by the Military Garrison in Fremantle.
The Spartan Cricket Club first entered an organised competition in November 1919.
Cricket, like most sports, took some time to get re-established following the horrors of the First World War, but by the time the 1919-20 season rolled around, there were three competitions active in the Fremantle area.
These were the F&DMCA, The Fremantle Matting Association and The Fremantle Churches Association with the Spartan club naturally affiliating with the Churches Association, due to the fact the Club had been founded by the Reverend W.R. Hibbert.
During our time in the Churches Association, the Club never had a formal home ground, regularly playing at different locations each week.
The 1928/29 season finally saw the standards of the Churches Association decline to such an extent that in October 1929, the Club joined the Fremantle and Districts Mercantile Cricket Association, resulting in the Spartans utilising the facilities at Fremantle Park on a regular basis.
Fremantle Park in 1940 – at this time it was still the central location for the Spartan Cricket Club.