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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 1, 1935)



A quite remarkable coincidence attended the drawing of the stumps at the end of the 1934–35 competition in each of the four centres this year. In each the competition was very close the result depending upon the fortunes of the last match. In three centres the first and winning team compiled a reasonably good total on the first day and left the losing team a fighting chance on a somewhat poorer wicket on the second day. These losing teams all gave a more or less disappointing display, redeemed in each case by only one feature—a stern fight by one batsman to rise superior to adverse fortunes and conditions and hit off the necessary runs to snatch victory for his side.

In Auckland, Bob Steho was the hero, and his 48 represented a much better performance than the figures indicate. Digging himself in after his earlier comrades failed, he showed that he could find the boundary even with the featherweight bat he insists on using, in spite of expert advice. In Wellington, the youthful ex-Otago all-rounder, Moloney, made 103 in a great innings, inspiring for its courage and determination. In Christchurch, Charley Oliver did equally well with his 162, displaying a great variety of scoring strokes and, in the latter part of the innings, banging the ball to all parts of the field. M'Mullan, in Dunedin, made only 40, but his, too, was a dogged display given when all seemed lost and raising the hopes and cheers of the spectators.

Such efforts to turn defeat into victory are among the most stimulating features of the old game, and it is pleasing to record these and also to remind you that Steho and Oliver are Railwaymen.

The season was rather a lean one in each of the four centres. Despite the wonderful weather, no outstanding innings was recorded, the bowling lacked distinction and the fielding, taken on the whole, was poor. A ray of hope comes from the country districts, particularly perhaps Hawke's Bay and Taranaki, where the average of the play is distinctly higher than of old, and the play of the locally nurtured cricketers shows that to acquire free batting style and sound, accurate bowling free from body-line tactics, it is no longer necessary to learn one's cricket at an English university. I am afraid that even that good sport D. Blundell will, on this year's play, have to admit that there is something in this latter contention. Earlier in the season, Mark Nicholls promised to shine equally well as a batsman-wicket-keeper, as he did as a five-eighths, but the hopes faded and the younger half-back, Tindall, is still the star candidate for the batsman-wicket-keeper position in a New Zealand team.