The last shot had barely been fired to end the Second World War before cricket was well and truly back in full swing in the Fremantle area.

The Spartan Cricket Club was reborn thanks to the efforts of two very fine cricket stalwarts in Albert West and Jack Knox-Peden, three years after it was put into remission in early 1942.

West, formerly of the Essandee Club, and Knox-Peden of the Navy Club, were responsible for reforming the Spartan Club, reconstituting the association in which we had participated in, the Fremantle & Districts Mercantile Cricket Association (The F&DMCA), and founding The West Australian Cricket Union.

The latter was a union of all the district competitions in the Metropolitan areas and provided the framework for inter-association matches and state games at that level against Victorian and New South Wales sub-district associations.

With the return of the Club, there was no further involvement from the Church of Christ in Fremantle, the organisation responsible for originally forming the Spartan Cricket Club, and this naturally led to a change in outlook and personnel.

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When the Club left the Churches Association in 1929, the Church had very little influence over the ongoings at the Club, although 1945 marked the first time officially that the Church had no involvement whatsoever with the Spartans.

Mr. Albert West (pictured below) served as the F&DMCA Secretary from 1919 until 1956, having previously served as secretary of his native club, Essandee from 1919 to 1942.

Mr. Albert West, the third President of the Spartan Cricket Club.

West became the first President of the Spartan Cricket Club since its reopening, a position he held officially from 1945 until his retirement in 1959.

Albert West also kept all the records of the association, the Essandee Cricket Club, and the early post-war years of the Spartans in a tin trunk, but unfortunately when it was presented to Brian Waterer in 1965, it was discovered that termites had destroyed the contents.

West proved to be a much needed powerful figure, and together with Knox-Peden, the two men almost single handedly ensured the Spartan Cricket Club would return stronger than ever.

Having essentially been reborn, the Club was now into its twenty-seventh season, and claimed its place once more as the leading side in the F&DMCA.

It is currently unknown what happened to the Spartan’s second President, Mr. Stuart Thomson, who had led the Club up until its remission in 1942. 

Despite this, there were a few of the pre-war faces on hand to help get Spartans re-established.

Ian McClumpha resumed as captain and in all his reign as Club leader lasted from 1931 to 1948. He resigned from the Spartans at the end of the 1947/1948 season to accept the position of Captain-Coach of the newly formed Hilton Park Cricket Club.

George Prince also returned to lead the attack, where he received considerable assistance from another pre-war player in Tom Langlands, who had been an outstanding all-rounder in country cricket, and a new face in that of young demon fast bowler Tolly Chalmers.

By now, the 1945/46 season was well and truly approaching, and the Club had been overhauled, reestablished and ultimately reborn following the Second World War, a monumental effort from the Committee that is responsible for our ongoing success to this very day.

The years between 1945 and 1949 were unfortunately not our most successful on record, the Club finishing in sixth place in each of those seasons.

Nevertheless, this period is amongst the most significant in our history, having seen the Club reborn following global atrocities, and it is very reassuring to know that even man’s most deadliest conflict could not halt the Spartan Cricket Club.

Previous Chapter (The War Years)

Next Chapter (The Rise To Power – 1960-1978)

The Spartan Cricket Club’s 1956/57 Second Grade Premiership, a win that saw the Club return to the First Grade, where we have competed ever since.

1945/1946 Season – The Club Reborn

President: Mr. A. West (1st Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (1st Year)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. A. West (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. A. West (1st Year)

There is very little information in regards to our performances in this season, and each season following up until 1949, due to the aforementioned termite infestation destroying the historical records kept by President West.

It is known that this was not a very successful on-field season for the Club, the Spartans finishing in sixth position in an nine team competition.

The focus was likely more of an off-field one, with the need to reestablish all aspects of the Club following the return from the Second World War in October 1945.

Notably, the Club welcomed a series of newcomers including Jim Fletcher (who later joined the Scots Cricket Club where he captained, served a term as President, and was awarded a Life Membership), Joe Rayner, a well known servant of the Spartans, who played for 21 years before resigning to accept the post of Captain-Coach of the newly formed Medina Cricket Club, and Bob and Keith Jeffries.

The side looked strong on paper but the playing results did not match the promise and so a finishing in sixth place was the result.

1946/1947 Season

President: Mr. A. West (2nd Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (2nd Year)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. A. West (2nd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. A. West (2nd Year)

This season was much the same as the previous, as it took a great deal of time for the Club to fully re-establish itself following the return from the War, and once again, a position of sixth was beckoning.

1947/1948 Season

President: Mr. A. West (3rd Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (3rd Year)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. A. West (3rd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. A. West (3rd Year)

1948/1949 Season – Much The Same

President: Mr. A. West (4th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. K. Clifton (1st Year)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (1st Year)

1949/1950 Season – Post-War Success

President: Mr. A. West (5th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (1st Year, 4th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. K. Clifton (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (1st Year)

The 1949/50 season was certainly better one, and the Spartans tasted their first post-war success by reaching the semi-finals, only to lose to an old pre-war rival in East Fremantle.

This was despite the efforts of Keith Jeffries, who took 7 for 39 in the match including a hat-trick.

Reaching the semi-finals for the first time following World War Two, we were knocked out by longtime rivals East Fremantle, despite our own Keith Jeffries claiming a hat-trick and 7/39!

Off-spinner Jim Fletcher also had a great season capturing 81 wickets.

1950/1951 Season – Form Slump Returns

President: Mr. A. West (6th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (2nd Year, 5th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. K. Clifton (2nd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. K. Clifton (2nd Year)

The 1950/51 season was a disappointing anti-climax to the previous season, as the Club slumped to an eighth placing in a nine team competition.

The other clubs at this stage were W.W.F. (better known as the Lumpers), Scots, East Fremantle, CBC Old Boys, Hilton Park, Park Cricket Club, South Fremantle, and Wanderers.

Off the field, for his phenomenal work in re-establishing the Spartan Cricket Club following the Second World War, President Albert West was formally inducted as the Club’s first Life Member.

Previously, the Club’s senior executives had opposed Life Membership, a sentiment that largely stemmed from our time in the Churches Cricket Association, but it was finally introduced this season, and has since become our most prestigious individual award. You can view the full list of Life Members here.

The next few seasons continued to be lean ones with the Spartans never really threatening to be a force in the competition until 1957.

1951/1952 Season

President: Mr. A. West (7th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (3rd Year, 6th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. K. Clifton (3rd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. K. Clifton (3rd Year)

1952/1953 Season

President: Mr. A. West (8th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (4th Year, 7th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. W.J. Rayner (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. W.J. Rayner (1st Year)

1953/1954 Season

President: Mr. A. West (9th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (5th Year, 8th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. B. Jefferies (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. J. Hilditch (1st Year)

1954/1955 Season

President: Mr. A. West (10th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (6th Year, 9th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. J. Benjamin (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. W. Morcom (1st Year)

The 1954/1955 season saw two major developments take place in the Fremantle & Districts Mercantile Cricket Association, with two-day cricket being introduced and the competition being split into two grades.

Spartans were placed in the second grade having had a less than flattering past five seasons, although this enabled the Club to introduce some young players and rebuild the side.

President Albert West also reached his tenth successive season as President of the Club in 1954/1955, the second person to this milestone after his predecessor Mr. S Thomson.

It is worth noting that the Club did not make finals in this season.

George Prince became the Club’s second Life Member.

1955/1956 Season

President: Mr. A. West (11th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (7th Year, 10th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. J. Benjamin (2nd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. W. Morcom (2nd Year)

This reshaping of the team’s personnel following our demotion to second grade in the F&DMCA was met with almost immediate success, and was in fact the foundation of a quarter of a century of high achievement by the Spartan Cricket Club.

In 1955/1956, Bill Morcom led the side to a Minor Premiership in the second division, before the Club emerged as premiers the following season.

As such this was a very successful season for the Club, and the benefits were multiplied by the fact that a number of younger players could experience victory in the side, learning how to win and be successful, something that paid dividends in the years to follow.

1956/1957 Season – Premiership Glory

President: Mr. A. West (12th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (8th Year, 11th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. G. Pluske (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. W. Morcom (3rd Year)

The Spartans went one better in the 1956/1957 season, with captain Eric Dumble leading them to the Second Grade Premiership.

Alongside Dumble, a leg-spinning all-rounder, the premiership side featured, Lew Read ranked by many as one of the Club’s greatest batsmen – as well as being a fine wicket-keeper, batsman Alan Johnstone (who later transferred to CBC and captained that club to a First Grade Premiership), George Pluske, a great fast bowling all-rounder who took 70 wickets for the season, Jeff NewboldJoe Rayner, Alf Dyer, a courageous opening bat (who also served the Association as secretary for many years), Bill Morcom, Colin HydeTom Langlands and Colin Crompton, who gave great service as a captain in First and Second Grade.

Off the field, Tom Langlands was inducted as the Club’s third Life Member.

The Spartan Cricket Club’s Second Grade, following their premiership victory in 1957. Click to view a larger version.

1957/1958 Season – Return To First Grade

President: Mr. A. West (13th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (9th Year, 12th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. G. Pluske (2nd Year)
Treasurer: Mr. W. Morcom (4th Year)

The results of the 1957/1958 season surprised even the most avid of the Club’s supporters!

Promoted to the First Grade as a reward for winning the Second Grade title, they carried all before them to reach the Grand Final against another pre-war rival in South Fremantle.

South at this stage were a very strong combination indeed, and ultimately defeated a Spartan side that was in comparison far inferior to the First Grade powerhouse that was South Fremantle.

Nevertheless, the season proved to be a fantastic one for the Spartan Cricket Club, returning to the First Grade with a bang, reaching the Grand Final against all expectations, and marking the first of many First Grade Grand Final appearances over the next fifty years.

1958/1959 Season – West Retires

President: Mr. A. West (14th Year)
Senior Vice President: Mr. J. Knox-Peden (10th Year, 13th Overall)
Junior Vice President:  
Secretary: Mr. C.A. Crompton (1st Year)
Treasurer: Mr. L.F. Read & Mr. B.M. Waterer (1st Year)

Despite the shrewd leadership of Captain Colin Crompton, the 1958/1959 season was somewhat of an anti-climax as the Club didn’t really go close to achieving a place in the finals.

The success of the first year in their return to the top grade was short lived, largely due to a lacking in the balance of the side.

The attack was certainly hostile and accurate and the fielding was sound, but the batting was extremely brittle and lacked the ability to grind out runs under pressure.

Off the field, this season marked the beginning of a series of changes in the Club’s Committee, the biggest period of change in personnel seen since the Club was reformed more than a decade prior.

Albert West served his fourteenth consecutive and final season in charge, ultimately overseeing a period of rebuilding and reformation at the Club unheard of since its inception in 1918.

A demotion into the Second Grade was amongst the lowlights during this period, but the wisdom and experience of West proved sound and two years later, the Spartans returned to the top division with a vengeance, reaching the Grand Final in its first season back.

Fremantle Park sometime in the late 1940s. At this time, the ground served as the primary playing location for the Spartan Cricket Club, although we also used the Church of Christ Hall in Fremantle as our ‘clubhouse’ of sorts. More Information.

The Era In Review:

This era would have to rank as one of the single most vital in Spartan history, as it saw the Club formally return following World War Two on the back of phenomenal work.

The retirement of the Club’s third, and to date, second longest-serving President, Mr. Albert West, meant that the winter of 1959 marked the end of the Club’s fourth chapter.

This period marked our return from the greatest adversity the Spartan Cricket Club has ever had to face, the horrors brought on by World War Two, and as such is best remembered as a period of reestablishment and rebirth.

The on field exploits of this period were not amongst our greatest, and our relegation into the newly formed second division of the Fremantle & Districts Mercantile Cricket Association best describes the difficulties the Club had to overcome.

This was the first, and to date, only time that the Spartan Cricket Club has ever been relegated from the top division, in any association, since our inception in 1918.

A period of consolidation and rebuilding typified the years of 1945 to 1955, the Club entrenched in sixth position, and later a finishing of eighth in a nine team competition showed there was still much work to be done.

The expertise and commitment shown by President West and his deputy, Jack Knox-Peden, was pivotal in reforming the Spartan club, ensuring our return at the conclusion of the Second World War in October 1945.

As one would expect, this was a mammoth task that took many years to not only re-establish the Club, but return it to its pre-war glory days and on-field success.

This was coupled with West leading the efforts to reform the entire Fremantle & Districts Mercantile Cricket Association as well as the Spartan Club.

As one would certainly expect, it took many years for the Club to fully develop itself and strengthen the experience of its players, meaning on-field success was still aways off.

It is also worth noting that we were utilising the Fremantle Park (pictured above) and the Richmond Raceway as our primary playing grounds during this time, and the Church of Christ in Fremantle (pictured below) as our ‘clubhouse’ of sorts. 

A Monumental Effort:

With time, the Spartan Cricket Club achieved just that – the relegation proving to be a majorly beneficial help to strengthening and developing Club personnel.

Having been demoted in the summer of 1955, the Club was able to quickly turn their fortunes around, reaching the Minor Premiership the following season, and winning the Second Grade flag in 1957.

The Church Of Christ on High Street, Fremantle, (as seen today) served as a perfect location for Spartan players to congregate for many years.

This allowed for the new faces of the Club to establish themselves (at the same time the Club was establishing itself), and became far better players for it.

Returning to the First Grade the following season, the Club defied all expectations to reach the Grand Final, ultimately going down to an extremely strong South Fremantle side.

The efforts of West and Knox-Peden, as well as the entire Spartan Cricket Club Committee were finally starting to pay off.

This period must have been incredibly difficult, but, through our renowned Spartan determination, the two stalwarts almost single handedly saved the Club, restoring it after World War Two, and setting the foundation for a quarter-century of sustained success.

We owe a lot to these fine individuals in Albert West and Jack Knox-Peden, because without them, the Great War would have easily claimed another casualty.

Following On:

Whilst the First Grade success was short lived – we missed the finals in the following seasons – it certainly laid the foundation for the future.

West retired knowing that whilst there was still much to be done (in truth, there always is), he had not only resurrected the Spartan Cricket Club, but ensured it would in time reach not only the pre-war glory days, but set new benchmarks and reach new heights.

The War had an untold effect on the Club, making this period the greatest and most difficult in the Spartan’s history, and to emerge from it at all could be considered remarkable. To emerge in the manner we did – with what was essentially a second foundation, one with 27 years of history already achieved – was unheard of.

In Conclusion:

It is difficult to put into words just how significant this period was – the Club’s re-emergence following World War Two was thanks to the efforts of Albert West and Jack Knox-Peden.

It remains the most significant single event that the Spartan Cricket Club has ever had to overcome, and the fine efforts of these two individuals are ones that we sincerely hope will never have to be replicated.

Thanks to their efforts more than half a century ago, the Spartan Cricket Club, now the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club, is not only alive and well, but continuously reaching new heights.

With the start of a new decade, the year of 1960 marked the beginning of another chapter in the Spartan Cricket Club, and saw an explosion in our success.

See More Photos From This Era

Leeming Spartan Presidents To Date:

President Seasons Years Held
Rev. W.R. Hibbert 1918-1920 2
S. Thomson 1920-1942 22
A.E. West 1945-1959 14

Leeming Spartan Life Members To Date:

Life Member Inducted Debut
A.E. West 1950 1941/1942
G. Prince 1955 1945/1946
T. Langlands 1957 1945/1946

Chapter Thanks:

A special thank you to Graeme Ashley, Brian Waterer for the countless hours they have spent in compiling the historical information regarding this chapter of Leeming Spartan Cricket Club history and preparing it for our website. This incredible effort is part of what makes the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club one of the most historically accurate and successful clubs in Western Australia.

Adapted and updated with new content and imagery for the new Leeming Spartan Website in July 2017 by Daniel Coombs. Last updated in August 2017.

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The Spartan Cricket Club’s First Grade, pictured 1968.

Back Row: Brian Waterer, Ron Stanton, George Pluske, Harold Bell, Les Reynolds, Peter Dama
Front Row: Ron Caporn, Joe Rayner, Dennis Bell, Lew Read, Sam Hume, Roy Gough

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