By Russell Bennett
Like the motley crew of unlikely heroes they share a name with, Pakenham Cricket Club’s ‘Dad’s Army’ will long be remembered and celebrated through the generations to come – thanks to Saturday’s reunion with a twist.
In the era of the 1970s and ‘80s, the Lions boasted a crew of premiership winners who later came to be known simply as ‘Dad’s Army’ – as favourite son and current club president Phil Anning explained.
“They were all the older blokes – blokes who’d, for example, retired from footy and wanted something to do during the summer,” he said.
“They got together and said they wanted to have a side, and called themselves ‘Dad’s Army’.
“We put the side in, and in that era the group of them won four premierships in 10 years.
“It was led by (Dave) ‘Digby’ Hogben – he was the instigator of it all – and they were just fantastic for the club, both on and off the field.”
Anning acknowledged the key role the group would go on to play in forming the rock-solid culture that the club enjoys today.
“They used to support all the social functions, and everything we did, really,” he said.
“And when they won flags, they’d celebrate as hard as anyone I’ve ever known.”
And now, it’s high time they’re recognised for their achievements.
“Back in those days you never got a premiership cup like you do now,” Anning said. “You got a shield, but it was perpetual so you had to hand it back.”
The records the Lions have been able to compile over the journey indicate they’ve won around 50 senior premierships throughout the grades.
And amongst them are the famous victories of Dad’s Army.
“They’re all getting a bit older,” Anning explained.
“We wanted to get them together because, unfortunately, five of them – who played in one or more premiership – have passed away.
“We’ve been guilty of this before too, but most of your reunions are focused on your first XI and the lower grades don’t get the recognition they deserve.
“I think it’s important we recognise them because they are part of the history of the club.
“These blokes were a significant part of our history because of what they contributed both on and off field.”