Eynesbury Eagles: New kids on block let bats do the talking

They’re the start-up club that rocked the WSUCCA and took home a premiership in their first year of existence. Within months the Eynesbury Eagles went from a team with eight blokes training and looking for ring-ins to a title. Teo Pellizzeri caught up with the Eynesbury team to find out how the Eagles took flight.


Visitors to Arthur Westlake Memorial Reserve in Melton got an impression immediately of what they were in for.

A big Eynesbury banner, complete with the club’s sponsors, hung on a fence at the southern end of the ground.

Walking onto the field was a team sharply dressed, in gear with a graphic of a swooping eagle on a shirt that would not look out of place in the Big Bash League.

But this isn’t premier cricket or a cashed-up club with international imports playing on turf.

This is the Western Suburbs United Churches Cricket Association one-day competition.

“There might have been an element of, ‘Jeez, these blokes are serious’,” club treasurer David Lane speculates.

And while the opponents may have been immediately struck by the set-up sported by the new kids on the block, the cricket is ultimately what did the talking.


Matt Scalzo was a cricketer who had enjoyed both team and individual success with Kealba-Green Gully in the North West Metropolitan Cricket Association, but he was looking for a change.

With three young children, Scalzo, who had lived in Eynesbury since March 2010, wanted to ditch the weekend drive and play closer to home.

“If you didn’t play golf there weren’t many ways for the Eynesbury community to get together,” Scalzo said. “I wanted to do something while I was young enough, start something so that by the time they’re ready, my kids can play junior sport locally.”

Eynesbury Auskick and Milo Cricket co-ordinator Heath Pritchard, a former Melton Lions sub-district player now with Caulfield, was a go-to person for Scalzo.

“He is well and truly in tune with what was going on about the area . . . he explained that juniors weren’t ready [for organised teams] yet.

“So the aim became getting a senior team up and running.”

Without a ready venue in Eynesbury for matches, Melton council offered Westlake Reserve and things were ready to roll.


Scalzo, now the club’s president and coach, put out flyers and more than a dozen responses came in. A committee quickly formed, then members came and went, and eventually the numbers settled. At eight.

“We went from 12-14 players to eight at our first training session,” Scalzo said.

“I was still happy. With eight, surely we could find three ring-ins to make an XI.”

The team had 13 available by its final practice match of the summer.

Committee member Stuart Peters said players kept coming once the team was on the park.

“We knew guys who wanted to play cricket and they just kept coming. Next thing you know, a second team is up and running and it got big.”

Lane said: “We’d gone from a handful of people to having 36 on our books.”

Eynesbury ended up fielding a “Green” and a “Black” team in the WSUCCA one-day competition, with a bit of crossover of players between the two.

“Looking back, you wouldn’t change a thing,” Peters said.

“It showed that we didn’t necessarily have a first or second XI.”


Eynesbury split its opening weekend with Green winning and Black losing, but round two was an early defining moment.

Reigning division premier Altona Roosters welcomed Eynesbury Black to Altona Green Primary School by plundering 4-321 off the prescribed 35 overs.

Up stepped brothers Justin (84) and Matthew Siedlecki (159), and Peters (60no), who blasted Eynesbury to 3-325 in reply with two overs to spare.

At home, Eynesbury Green rolled Melton South for 91 and knocked off the target with nine wickets to spare.

“They just came out and gave it to them,” Peters said.

“That was the moment when everyone said, ‘These boys are serious’.”

Scalzo said the results earned Eynesbury a bit of respect from the rest of the league.

When Green won a battle of unbeaten teams against Western All Stars by 93 runs in round five, Eynesbury knew it could match the title contenders.


Eynesbury Black went on a losing streak between rounds two and nine but started a revival to move into top-six contention in the new year.

One invaluable result to the club overall was when Black rolled minor premiership contender Charles Sturt University in mid-February.

It meant Eynesbury Green seized top of the table, and could afford to show no favour to its clubmate when the pair clashed in the penultimate round of the season. The Greens won by six wickets.

As a result Eynesbury Black missed the finals, but Green’s minor premiership proved critical, as a rain-out on grand final day handed it the division title.

“It wasn’t unbelievable by the end . . . the team had the players who could do it,” Scalzo said.

“I needed the players to believe in themselves and believe in me, and what we were trying to achieve.

“Unfortunately the grand final got washed out, but the hard work did get rewarded.”

Chris Lunn captained the Green team while Justin Siedlecki ended the campaign with 695 runs at 53.46 and Blair Sole with 37 wickets at 6.86.


Putting junior teams on the park and an oval in the Eynesbury township are the next big goals for the club, in conjunction with help from the council, township and sponsors.

At this stage the senior team’s goal is 40 registered players to field a first XI in WSUCCA A grade synthetic, a second XI and a third XI in the one-day competition.

“It’s great to teach players who have never played before and develop them into better players,” Scalzo said. “As the estate builds we seem to be getting a lot of kids between nine and 11 years old. We’re hopeful of putting an under-10s and under-12s in next season, putting out the call for junior coaches.

“Winning the premiership helps . . . when we talk to sponsors, prospective players, we’ve got a good brand.”