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Name:Bertram Louis Cohen
Date of Birth:25 September 1892 (d 30 June 1955
Career:1910/11 - 1938/39
Teams:Prahran, Carlton, St Kilda, VCA Colts
Matches:297
Batting Style:RHOB
  

 

 

Captain throughout the most-fabled early period in St Kilda history when the Saints became the first club to win four first XI premierships in a row, Bert Cohen collected a fifth title in 1931-32 and was a frontline influence in District cricket well into his 40s.

Few were as determined, or as competitive as the accomplished right-hand opener, who later was to nurture and develop a host of budding stars, including a young Keith Miller, as captain-manager of the VCA Colts in the late'30s. "He was first-class and great for all us kids," said Miller. "He had time to talk and we were all ears I can tell you."

Learning the rudiments of the game under noted coach and player Tommy Warne at Carlton, Cohen linked with St Kilda in 1918-19 after five years at Prahran and played through until 1932-33, when he was 40. From the time he bacame captain, during his third season, his positive leadership was as noted as the stars under him. "We have seen few captains in recent years able to maintain so well the offensive on the field," said a Sporting Globe writer in 1930. "St Kilda nearly always give the impression of having the upper hand when the other side are batting and a batsman going to the wicket is made to fight for his runs."

Cohen was tough - one day at South Melbourne he didn't like the colour of the ball and insisted it be replaced - but he upheld the game's highest traditions and was a fine player, as shown by his six St Kilda centuries, including a high of 152 against Richmond in 1919-20. The following summer he shared a record opening stand of 276 with Doug Hotchin against Northcote. His 76 in the 1925-26 final ahainst Hawthorn-East Melbourne was another memorable knock and allowed St Kilda to recover after an early collapse and win a famous match by an innings, its two champion bowlers Bert Ironmonger and Don Blackie being unchanged.

On joining Colts in 1933-34, Cohen made a century on debut, his sound batting a fine example to the team's promising youngsters. Later he was content to bat in the last two or three, his advice and encouragement always of the highest order. He remained on St Kilda's committee, serving as a delegate, too, to the VCA. He regarded cricket as an ideal diversion from the pressures of business in the automobile trade. His 10 years as St Kilda's captain is a club record. In 1929, he was elected an honorary life member of the club.

Bert's son, Bert jnr, played 25 games alongside Bert snr, with the Colts. He also represented St Kilda's second XI in three seasons after the War.

From "Down At The Junction" by Ken Piesse