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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood



Canterbury is particularly adapted for those who wish to indulge in this fine old English game. Plenty of level land and good grass-growing soil supply every requisite required to make a fine cricket ground. For some years now players have had one or more good grounds to play upon, and a short history of page 131the game and play—more especially of the early days—in this Provincial District, may not therefore be uninteresting.

The first match was played in Hagley Park, at the end of March, 1852, between the married and single, which resulted in a win for the Benedicts. Afterwards, £30 was collected towards making a ground. To give our readers some idea of the difficulties under which the game was played, a few lines about the nature of the country in those days may not be amiss. Christchurch was situated in a swamp. Flax and native tussock were in abundance, and a spade rather than a scythe had to be used to prepare a wicket. There were no English grass paddocks for some few years after the date we have mentioned. It was necessary to pare off the native tussock, and after some little trouble a pitch was obtained sufficiently level. It was upon such wickets as this that the first games were played. The first club —the Christchurch Cricket Club—was formed in 1852, and played their first matches in the season of 1852.3. They were two games with the working men, and resulted in a win for the Club on both occasions. They were played in Hagley Park, opposite the College grounds. For some two or three years occasional games were played, and then the Club became defunct.

It was not until 1858 that the game was revived and put upon a more permanent basis; in fact, this really may be called the commencement of cricket in Canterbury, as, after tins date, it has been carried on season after season until the present date. It is curious what small things lead to big results, and the revival of the game in Christchurch arose from one of these small incidents. Some short time after his arrival in the colony Mr. George Turner, the veteran who now stands umpire in some of our local matches, saw some one in Cathedral-square with a bat in his hand. He hailed him with delight, and in the course of conversation with the stranger, who he found was Mr. William Hobbs (father of Mr. Fred. Hobbs, of Christchurch), known then and afterwards as "Bill" Hobbs, he discovered that a Mr. George Dickinson—better known in these days as "Old Dickinson"—possessed another bat. No sooner was this information obtained than he trudged off to St. Albans, through the flax and swamp, to unearth this treasure. Having ascertained the fact, Mr. Turner inserted an advertisement in the Lyttelton Times, calling a meeting, and, in response, fourteen or fifteen colonists attended. At this meeting the Albion Club was formed, being called after one of the same name in England, with which Mr. Turner used to play. The enthusiastic promoter was appointed Secretary, and for all but the last year of its existence held that office. The scene of its play was Latimer-page 132square, which was ploughed up and sown down for the purpose. It was never a good ground, but in those days the batsmen were not so particular, and received their knocks without a murmur. The formation of this Club was soon followed by another, called the Avonside, which played in the late Mr. W. G. Brittan's paddock, at Avonside, just below Ward's brewery. The first inter-club match was played on this ground on February 17th and 18th, 1859, and resulted in a win for the Avonside by 59 runs. There was a large number of spectators, as a cricket match was an important event, and the early colonists were always fond of a day's sport. This being the first club match played in Christchurch we give the score to show who were our principal players:—

First Innings.
  J. C. Veel, l.b.w., b. Dickinson 5
  G. Miles, b. J. Marshall 2
  A. C. Croft, b. J. Marshall 0
  E. F. B. Harston, c. Turner, b. Dickinson 3
  W. H. Dawe, c. R., b. J. Marshall 25
  J. Longden, b. R. Marshall 6
  F. E. Stewart, c. J., b. R. Marshall 18
  G. Palairet, c. Green, b. Dickinson 0
  A. Blakiston, c. Turner, b. Dickinson 1
  T. Henley, not out 0
  S. S. Field, b. R. Marshall 0
  Wides, 6; byes, 6 12
Second Innings.
J. C. Veel, b. Merton 6
G. Miles, c. Auckland, b. Dickinson 10
A. C. Croft, b. Merton 2
E. F. B. Harston, l.b.w., b. Bargrove 11
W. H. Dawe, c. Auckland, b. Dickinson 14
J. Longden, not out, 0
F. E. Stewart, b. Merton 30
G. Palairet, l.b.w., b. Merton 5
A. Blakiston, b. Dickinson 3
T. Henley, b. Dickinson 13
S. S. Field, b. Bargrove 0
Wides, 3; byes, 19; leg byes, 6 28
page 133
Albion First Innings.
  J. Auckland, b. Croft 11
  J. Marshall, l.b.w., b. Blakiston 0
  R. Marshall, b. Croft 0
  H. Green, b. Croft 9
  G. Turner, run out 2
  J. Bargrove. b. Croft 1
  C. Merton, run out 14
  G. Ford, b. Croft 0
  F. Slee, not out 5
  G. Dickinson, b. Croft 5
  J. Wood, run out 8
  Wides, 4; byes, 23; leg byes, 3 80
Second Innings.
J. Auckland, run out 3
J. Marshall, c. Stewart, b. Croft 2
R. Marshall, b. Dawe 17
H. Green, b. Dawe 2
G. Turner, not out 0
J. Bargrove. c. and b. Croft 0
C. Merton, absent 0
G. Ford, absent 0
F. Slee, c. Stewart, b. Dawe 4
G. Dickinson, b. Croft 3
J. Wood, absent 0
Wides, 9; byes, 9; no ball, 1 19

The return match was played in March, at Hagley Park, when the Albion won by five wickets. About this time these matches were made the occasion of much enjoyment. There were no pavilions, so large tents were erected for the use of the cricketers and for luncheon. A band played in the afternoon, and everyone went to see the game. These two Clubs kept up a wholesome rivalry until 1861, when the Canterbury Club was formed, which included most of the members of the Avonside. This year the ground up by Dilloway's was used, and a pavilion built by private subscription. A grand match was got up to celebrate page 134the Anniversary of the Province, between the Town and Country. The Town, chiefly by the aid of Mr. B. Parkerson, who made 48, scored an easy victory. This score was the highest, individual total made in a match up to that date, and was looked upon as a great performance.

About this time the goldfields in Otago and Nelson attracted a number of visitors, some of whom were good cricketers; but their assistance was only transitory. Club matches kept the game alive, and it was very amusing, when any ship arrived in Lyttelton, to see the rival representatives of the two Clubs looking after recruits. A new bowler was "kept dark," and none of the opposition Club were allowed to see him bowl. In those days you knew everyone, and the Club matches were the occasion of many a gay gathering. Of course, the friends of the respective Clubs were much interested in the game, and it was truly a pleasant meeting, and one which will never be forgotten by those who took part in them. About 1863-4 another club was formed, which received the name of the first one, viz., the Christchurch Cricket Club. It was composed mostly of young players who could not afford the entrance fee and subscription to the Canterbury, which was looked upon as the "Swell" Club. They used to play in a paddock behind what was then known as "Kohler's Gardens," just beyond the West Christchurch School, on the Lincoln-road; but after this ground being required for other purposes, application was made to the Provincial Government of the day for the use of ground in Hagley Park. The result of this was that ten acres were allotted to each of the three Clubs; and on most of the maps of the city these are shown. The Christchurch Club were the first to move in the matter of forming their ground. This was in 1865; but we are passing one of the greatest events which occurred in connection with the game. In 1863-4 Messrs. Kissling and James Fulton, of Otago; and Messrs. H. P. Lance and E. C. J. Stevens, of this province, were chiefly instrumental in establishing the inter-provincial matches which up to the present season have been played annually—alternately in each town. We can recollect quite well the first Canterbury Eleven going South. The oval upon which the match was played that year, and for some seasons afterwards, had been newly turfed, and during the game Mr. Sale, while batting, hit the ground and knocked a large piece of turf out, which, of course, had to be replaced. As few people know anything about this match, the score may not be uninteresting. Mr. H. P. Lance acted as Captain for Canterbury, and Mr. James Fulton, for Otago:—

page 135
First Innings. Second Innings.
C. Morris, c. Powys, b. Stevens 1 run out 2
J. Jacomb, l.b.w., b, Taylor 0 b. Dickinson 2
C. Mace, b. Stevens 1 b. Stevens 0
J. H. Hope, b. Stevens 3 c. Dickinson, b. Tennant 17
J. Redfern, b. Taylor 14 c. Murison (subs), b. Stevens 13
J. MacDonald, b. Taylor 0 b. Tennant 12
J. Fulton (capt.), not out 25 b. Taylor 1
J. Mace, c. Bennett, b. Taylor 1 b. Dickinson 8
B. Couldstock, c. Murison (subs.), b. Taylor 2 b. Dickinson 0
G. K. Turton, c. Bennett, b. Dickinson 7 not out 0
H. D. Maddock, c. Dickinson, b. Taylor 10 c Stevens, b. Taylor 4
Extras 14 Extras 12
78 74
First Innings. Second Innings.
W. C. Wilson, run out 2 b. MacDonald 1
A. L. Powys, b. MacDonald 1 c. Hope, b. MacDonald 0
A. E. Tennant, b. MacDonald 1 c. Redfern, b. MacDonald 3
H. P. Lance (capt.), c. Jacomb, b. J. Mace 3 C. Redfern, b. J. Mace 0
E. C. J. Stevens, run out 5 b. J. Mace 0
G. S. Sale, c. MacDonald, b J. Mace 0 not out 15
J. H. Bennett, l.b.w., b. Macdonald 5 c. Fulton, b. J. Mace 5
H. Mytton, b. J. Mace 7 c. Fulton, b. J. Mace 3
J. W. Stevens, not out 3 b. MacDonald 6
G. Dickinson, c. Hope, b. J. Mace 2 c. Hope, b. MacDonald 0
R. Taylor, b. MacDonald 1 c. J. Mace, b. MacDonald 5
Extras 2 Extras 5
34 42

Mr. Tennant, who played in this match, was one of the best cricketers the province ever had; as, besides being a grand batsman, he was a magnificent field and good fast bowler. He now resides on the West Coast. At this time bowling over the shoulder was not in general practice. Mr. E. C. J. Stevens, when he arrived from England, where it had just been allowed, was "no balled" for bowling over the shoulder, and gave it up in consequence. Since then he has never been able to recover his lost art. He was very destructive, which was perhaps some reason for his being "no balled." The Stevens who bowled in the above match was J. W. Stevens. Mr. H. P. Lance is still in Canterbury, and Mr. Geo. Dickinson can always be found on the ground when an important match is being played. Mr. G page 136S. Sale is now a professor in Otago, and Bob Taylor we occasionally see in town. It was in this year that Mr. Jones, of Otago, brought "Parr's" All-England Eleven over to New Zealand, and a combined match.—Otago and Canterbury—was played after the Interprovincial. Parr's Eleven played a twenty-two of Canterbury on the ground near Dilloway's Plough Inn. Canterbury made 30 in the first innings, but thanks to the splendid play of A. E. Tennant, who scored 28, the total reached 105. W. C. Wilson made 12, and T. R. Moore, then a College boy, contributed 10. Parr's Eleven made 137 in the first innings, and won the match by an innings and two runs.

The following year Canterbury turned the tables upon Otago, and won the match by four wickets. It was in this year (1864) that A. R. Bloxham, E. S. Harley, and W. P. Cowlishaw first played for Canterbury. In 1865 local matches became more frequent, but it was not until 1867-8 season that any great improvement took place in this respect. In the meantime the Christchurch Club had commenced the formation of their ground, and the Canterbury Club finding it difficult to raise funds for making theirs, an arrangement was made by which these two Clubs united, and thus came the United Canterbury Cricket Club. The formation of the old Hagley Park ground was not completed until the autumn of 1866, but owing to the very dry spring play did not commence on the ground until the end of November or beginning of December. Our cricketers, consequently, obtained very little practice, and suffered a severe defeat at the hands of our Otago friends. In fact, this was the worst defeat Canterbury has ever suffered from Otago—one innings and 37 runs. A. L. Parry was captain of the Canterbury Eleven for the second time. In this match A. J. Cotterill—brother to the Cotterills playing now—played in his second interprovincial match, having well earned his place in the previous contest in Dunedin by making 17 in the second innings. He and A. Ollivier, who played for the first time, showed good form. This was the first time T. R. Moore played in these interprovincial matches.

In the following year the Albion Club was revived, a monster gathering being held in Latimer-square, at which all the spectators received a free lunch. The cricket on this occasion was not of the highest order. Some good matches were played with the United Club with varying success; but owing to the want of a good ground the old Albion Club languished, and eventually became defunct, after an honourable existence of many years.

page 137

Cricket, in 1867-8, improved very much under the active exertions of the Secretary of the United, Mr. F. M. Ollivier, and in this year there was a veritable Canterbury week, three two-day matches being played during Christmas week. Although the Canterbury players improved, Otago were too much for them in the field at this time, as they received such numerous assistance from visitors who were attracted by the gold diggings. In 1868-9 was played the memorable drawn match between Otago and Canterbury, the latter having 17 runs to get and three wickets to fall. In this match A. J. Cotterill made the splendid score of 72. The following season, 1869-70, was the last that the Albion Club appeared in the field; and in the following year, in order to secure that wholesome rivalry which is so beneficial to all games, Messrs. E. S. Harley and E. Fowler (a celebrated Victorian player, who had come to Canterbury in 1868), established a new club, which for the third time received the name of Christchurch, but some years afterwards the name was altered to "Midland." The Ellesmere Club also flourished at this time, and between the three, frequent matches were played.

In 1870-1 Canterbury, as if to make up for a series of defeats at the hands of Otago, had a full revenge by this year scoring a one-innings victory, with 29 runs to spare. Besides several of the old players, Messrs. G. H. Lee, C. S. Odell, C. Perry, and H. H. Loughnan, helped materially to achieve this result. In this year a presentation was made to William Guise Brittan, as a memento of the support he had always rendered the game, more especially in the early days of the settlement. The clock, which formed the presentation, was inscribed, "Presented to William Guise Brittan, by the Cricketers of Canterbury, N.Z., February 16th, 1871." For some seasons the regular Saturday afternoon matches had been established, and have been continued until the present time. Canterbury, thanks to the fine batting of Messrs. G. Savill (58), who played for the first time; and E. Fowler (40), again scored an easy victory over their old opponents.

Shaw's All England Eleven visited the colonies in 1876-7, and the match with our local cricketers resulted in a win for England by 24 runs.

The following year the first Australian Eleven commenced their tour of the colonies, prior to going to England. After being successful in all their previous matches, they suffered their first defeat in Christchurch, at the hands of our local fifteen. The scores were—Australia, first innings, 46; second innings, page 138143. Total, 189. Canterbury Fifteen—first innings, 135; and second innings (for eight wickets), 57. Total, 192. In 1878-9 Canterbury sent an Eleven to Victoria, when they played six matches, winning three against East Melbourne, Ballarat, and Richmond; and losing three against Melbourne, South Melbourne, and Bohemians. Upon their return they played an afternoon's match at Tasmania, which resulted in favour of Tasmania by a few runs. Only one innings each was played. In 1881 another Australian Eleven visited New Zealand, their main object being to revenge the defeat of the first team by Canterbury. On this occasion they made ample amends for their previous failure by winning the match in one innings and 100 runs to spare. This result was in a great measure due to W. L. Murdoch, who played a grand innings for 111. Australia —first innings, 323. Canterbury Fifteen—90-133. Total, 223. Several matches have been played with Auckland, the first taking place in 1873, when the Northern team defeated our local players by seven runs. Since then four other matches have been played, of which our local cricketers have won three. The interprovincial matches with Otago have continued year after year without intermission, and, in all, twenty-two matches have been played with the following result:—Canterbury won thirteen, Otago won eight, and one was drawn. About five years ago the Addington Club started, and promises to become one of our leading clubs.

In 1884 Tasmania sent an Eleven over, and played two very exciting matches with Canterbury. The first they lost by one wicket, and the next by six runs.

Shaw again brought an English Eleven to Canterbury in 1882, but owing to bad weather the match was not played out, although the result would have been an easy win for the visiting team. In 1880 the first steps were taken to obtain a freehold ground for cricket purposes, and to Mr. A. Morton Ollivier is due the credit of having secured to Canterbury such a ground as Lancaster Park. The total area is nearly eleven acres, and with the buildings and formation, cost a little over £7000.

In 1881 this ground was used for the first time, and now all the principal matches are played there. Cup matches were instituted in the season 1882-3, and, so far, have proved a great success. The benefit derived by the first Eleven, has this year been extended to the second Eleven, and now there is a Junior as well as a Senior Cup. The winning club hold it for the year, and have their name engraved upon it.

The management of the game is in the hands of an Associa-page 139tion formed of all members of clubs subscribing to its rules and regulations.

Speaking of cricket generally, the play improved very fast from the time that the present Hagley Park was formed up to 1879; after which, through the loss of a number of the best players, it fell off very much; but this year it has again improved, and but for the untimely death of Mr. Geo. Watson, the Canterbury Eleven would have been as formidable as any that have been put in the field. With two fine grounds the game is sure to progress, and in a few years a player will have to be good indeed to represent Canterbury in the Eleven.