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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29



Rreviewing the Cricket of the past season—at the commencement of which cricketers thought a good time was in store for them—a new club, the Midland Canterbury, was formed by some of the leading members of the old Christchurch C.C., and many gentlemen soon threw in their lot with the new club, which had a very successful season, and played—with their second eleven—a large number of local and suburban matches; and, thanks to the untiring energy and example of their captain, did not lose one single match.

The first Eleven were not so successful in arranging matches; the great wished-for-match—by the cricketers and their supporters—with the old club (the U.C.C.C.) could never be amicably arranged, some of the officers of the old club contending it was useless trying, as they had no bowlers. But I believe the majority were in favour of playing, but allowed themselves to be over-ruled by a few.

The two great events of the season of course were the Otago and A.E.E. matches; and, as detailed accounts of these games have already been recorded, it is almost useless to comment upon them, although a few words may not be out of place in this short review of the past season.

Through the visit of the A.E.E., it was proposed at first by Otago to postpone the match, as several of their best men, it was alleged, could not possibly spare time to play in both matches; and, as they wished to play their best strength against the A.E.E., it was thought better not to play Canterbury, as it would be the conquering match, each Province having won five each; and there is no doubt Canterbury secured an easier victory through this cause than probably they otherwise would have done. But, at the same time, Canterbury played rather an up-hill game, in consequence of the serious loss of their two best bowlers, Messrs. Frith and Fuller. However, the ensuing season may see a tough fight when Otago meet Canterbury on the former's ground. I wish it may be so.

page 188

I think most of my readers will concur with me, when I say I should like to have seen a return match with the A.E.E. At one or two periods of the game it looked very well for Canterbury; but the magnificent bowling of Allan Hill, in the Canterbury second innings, changed the course of events; and it was remarked by numbers of those who knew him, that he had never bowled so well before; and the Melbourne Clubs seem to have been fully alive to his remarkable powers, as he has been engaged by them at the handsome salary of £200 for the season, in conjunction with Ullyett, the latter a very fine fast bowler and magnificent field, but not, I think, to be compared with Hill in regard to bowling. But I am wandering from my subject. The main result of the match showed pretty clearly where we were most deficient, viz. in our batting defence. Most of the players were far too anxious to make runs at once, no matter what the bowling was like, and it would be well for some of our leading men to take a few lessons from Leach—who certainly is one of the most patient bats it has been my good fortune to witness—who came recently amongst us with a good reputation as one of the gentlemen of Lancashire's finest bats, and certainly he has not disappointed us.

The management of the grounds and foreign matches are to be arranged under different auspices than hitherto next year, a Cricket Association having been formed; and I think, if properly managed, should certainly tend to improve the standard of Canterbury cricket, both socially and practically, as we have more than once had our seasons marred through the different clubs holding various opinions as to the manner in which things were managed. I hope it may be so, and wish the newly-formed Association every success; and, at the same time, that they may be instrumental in arranging the proposed match with Melbourne, when I think Canterbury would give a good account of themselves.

Football is now in full swing. With the except ion of the Temuka match, where for the second time the Christchurch men were defeated, the matches have not possessed any great interest. It has been proposed to hold a series of Interprovincial Matches on the Wellington ground. I hope the promoters will be able to carry out their idea, as each Province can send forth a formidable team, and the proposed series of matches would increase the interest in this favourite winter's amusement.