JOHN Houston wishes he had the magic ingredients for success.
But the seven-time Warrnambool and District Cricket Association premiership coach believes he’s just been lucky.
The current-day Woodford mentor returned to his old stomping ground Dennington on Saturday night and was named coach of the Dogs’ best team of the past 80 years.
Houston led Dennington to four flags in the early-to-mid 2000s before joining Woodford and guiding it to the past three premierships.
“If I could work it out, I’d bottle it and sell it,” he said of the recipe for success.
“I think it’s just about the way you can gel a team, you have to get on a roll and work together and try and make it fun and exciting. But you have to work hard as well – there are no shortcuts to success.”
Houston took the Dogs to the pinnacle in 2000-01, 2001-02, 2004-05 and 2005-06.
“We had a similar make up of players for years to be able to do that and had a few new faces to reinvigorate the group,” Houston said.
“You’ve got to get them to believe in themselves and actually do it, to want to be in that big moment and grab that big moment with both hands."
Houston said he was honoured to be picked as coach of the star-studded 12-player outfit.
“Leo Howard was a really good coach – I might have been a bit lucky,” he said.
Dennington announced its team of the past 80 years as part of its anniversary celebrations.
Menacing fast bowler Stan Wilson – considered one of the competition’s finest players – was picked for his 1950’s performances.
Wilson took 816 wickets, including 82 five-wicket hauls, across his 188-game Dennington career.
Games record-holder and six-time club champion Terry Beks, who has notched 368 games, was selected as was teenage prodigy-turned-Footscary champion Michael O’Keefe (59 matches).
Five-time club champion Dustin Drew was recognised for his all-round efforts, which include 4350 runs and 297 wickets. His father Ray, who took 403 wickets in 167 games, joined his son in the team.
Three-time association cricketer of the year David Hunt, former captain Carl Lang, three-time premiership batsman Neil Ramsay and all-rounders David Herbert, Bill Slessar and Michael Rantall were also honoured, as was fast bowler Ron Reed who went onto carve a successful journalism career in Melbourne after starting at The Standard.