Essendon Ladies Cricket Club was founded in September 1905 in Mt Alexander Road (Annals of Essendon) and was one of 21 clubs that formed the Victorian Ladies Cricket Association.
Since that time the club has produced 11 Australian players, 2 Australian captains, 1 Australian coach, 2 Australian selectors and 1 New Zealand player, including current squad member Molly Strano. Numerous Essendon players have represented Victoria in both senior and junior teams.
In 1981 Maribyrnong Park Ladies amalgamated with Essendon (most of them were ex Essendon players anyway) and the club is now called Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club.
In 1982 Victorian Women's Cricket established headquarters at Aberfeldie Park and many Interstate Championships were played there. The highlight however was the Australia v England game played in 1984.
In the 2000 honours list - of the 13 Victorian recipients of the Australian Sports Medal for services to women's cricket, six were ex Essendon players and one coach.
We have confirmation from the International Women’s Cricket Association that Essendon Maribyrnong Park is the oldest women's cricket club in Australia and the world. Many teams were formed in both England and Australia in the 1800’s but all those had folded by the end of the 1950’s.
The club has had many successful eras in it's time. At one time in the 1980's the club fielded as many as five teams and won 11 premierships between 1983/84 and 1991/92. After this time the club's fortunes experienced a downturn in success with the number of teams diminishing also. However in adversity the true club spirit shone through. At the beginning of the 2001/02 season, a new era was to begin and the players named it 'Bombers Reborn'. On field success was difficult, but player commitment to their club could not be questioned. The clubrooms were renovated and decorated to reflect the culture the current group of Bombers wanted to build on. The pride the group had in their club and the strong club spirit was evident and clearly going to win out in the end.
In 2002/03, the Under 17's became back to back Premiers. Open aged Premierships were difficult to come by, but with such a young playing group, patience was required and the rewards were certain to come eventually.
The hard work paid off in 2003/04, the club's 99th year, as the 2nd XI brought home EMP's first senior Premiership in 12 years. The Premiership was well earned, and those that made the choice several years ago to stay loyal and put in the hard work, were rewarded for their effort and commitment to EMP. 12 players took the field for that Grand Final, but this Premiership was won by all loyal and committed EMP people. The Premiership team contained six players under the age of 16, and as the club reached its centenary, the future for EMP looked extremely bright.
The appointment of Melanie Jones as club coach in the 100th season was a major bonus for the club and with so much talent and youth, the club had the right people in place to help take EMP back to the top. Another highlight in the 100th year was 1st XI Captain Clea Smith taking out her 2nd Una Paisley award, the award for the VWCA's best and fairest player.
In 2007/08, EMP did what many outside the club thought would never happen - win a Premier First Premiership. Lead by Clea Smith, who joined the club as an 11 year old in 1991, the Bombers broke the 18 year 1st XI Premiership drought and did so in front of a sea of red and black supporters. The win was more than just a Premiership and only those close to the club could truly understand the significance of it. It was a Premiership built from scratch and one that will always be remembered as one of the club's biggest achievements on and off the field.
The club has since gone on to win a further two 1st XI Premierships (2010/11 and 2011/12) as well as three 1st XI Twenty20 Premierships (2009/10, 2012/13 and 2014/15). The depth of the club continues to grow with a 2nd XI Premiership in 2009/10 and an under 16 girls Premiership in 2010/11.
Silverwear however isn't what the Bombers are all about. EMP has since become the first female club to tour India (2011) and South Africa (2013) ensuring life experiences for club members are not restricted to on the field.
In season 2013/14 former Southern Stars captain Karen Rolton was appointed Club Coach. Prior to her retirement in 2010/11, her first-class playing career included 141 One Day Internationals, 15 T20s, 14 Tests and 114 appearances for South Australia in the Women’s National Cricket League.
EMP has survived some extremely tough years and there is no questioning the pride and spirit that this club has. That is why we are still here, 110 years on.