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The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949

Cricket at Victoria

Cricket at Victoria

It was in the year 1906 that, inspired by Allan MacDougall and D. R. Niven, fifteen enthusiasts convened a meeting which led in that year to the formation of the Cricket Club and the affiliation of the Club with the Wellington Cricket Association. In the following summer the newly affiliated Club entered teams in the Association's Junior and Third Grade championships.

Even in those days there were difficulties with practice wickets but the players seem to have overcome them; and, in 1907, the Club met Canterbury University College in the first inter-University match, which resulted in a win for V.U.C. after a stern uphill battle. In 1909, on the introduction of district cricket to Wellington, the University Club was classed as a district, which led to the entry of the Club into Senior ranks, but the new club found wins in the top grade hard to achieve.

In 1911 Auckland University College was played for the first time and, at Easter 1913, the first of such matches was played with Otago University.

In the early years of the Club's history there were many prominent figures: H. W. Monaghan, the New Zealand representative player who played for the Club for several seasons; F. Joplin who gained Plunket Shield Honours, was a sound and reliable bat, and who afterwards for years was coach of the Wellington College XI; the late Gilbert Howe, for several years a Wellington representative wicket keeper; and C. Berendsen (now Sir Carl Berendsen) another Wellington representative wicket keeper; and the representative players Dr Foster, J. F. W. Dickson and J. page 101 Fanning were prominent members of the Club. J. V. Saunders, the Australian and New Zealand International, who was coach in Wellington for some years, was allotted to Varsity as a playing coach, and his presence in the side led to further improvement. Indeed it was the War alone which halted the Club's progress. For, with practically all the active members of the Club at the Front, 'Varsity cricket was very hard hit, but it struggled on manfully. Many ex-members of the Club gave their lives during the four years of war, and the Senior Eleven of the Club, not being able longer to extend the other teams in the Senior grade, lost senior status.

After the War, however, a new start was made with a team in the Junior and Third grades. In 1919-20 the first North-South University cricket match was played and won by the South by an innings and 158 runs. H. E. Moore, J. L. Dighton, L. A. Charles, W. H. Stainton and Randell gained places in the North team from the Club. Prominent members of the Club were the late P. B. Broad who afterwards was the Chairman of the Wellington Cricket Association and who was Club Captain, and C. H. Hain who for years has given a prize for the best fieldsman in the University Club. The rise of the Club following the War was rapid, and, in 1923-24, the first eleven won the Junior A Championship of the Wellington Cricket Association. This was the first occasion the Club had won a championship; and the handsome win by an innings and 267 runs in the Speight Trophy match with Auckland was another good augury for the future. In this match, A. M. Hollings and R. H. C. Mackenzie, both destined to be Club stalwarts in later years, scored brilliant centuries. With a young and keen team, only two members of which were over 20 years of age, the Club bad good reason to look ahead with confidence.

That this was justified is seen by the results of the following season 1924-25 when the Club again carried off the Junior A Championship. The cause of the Club was then taken up by some prominent members of the cricketing fraternity and at a specially convened meeting, 'Varsity was once again given senior status.

The results of the 1925-26 season demonstrated that this promotion was justified. Four teams were maintained in the Association's grade championships and the Club was third in the Club championships. The first eleven had only two wins in its senior matches but was able to give several of the leading teams severe shocks. R. H. C. Mackenzie, A. M. Hollings and E. T. Leys all represented Wellington that season but none gained places in the Plunket Shield sides. The match with Auckland University College was a draw and the second eleven defeated every team it met and easily won the Junior B Championship.

Fair success attended the Club the following season, the Senior eleven winning two games out of nine. Particularly noteworthy was the performance of A. M. Hollings who scored a century in three consecutive Club matches and earned a place in the Wellington Plunket Shield team. He thus became the first 'Varsity man to gain this honour since the end of World War I.

In 1927-28 the Senior Eleven put up a fine performance, being third in the Senior Championship. Mackenzie averaged 69.87 and secured 20 victims behind the stumps, and the high position of the team was largely due to his brilliance. E. G. McLeod, a New Zealand International, joined the Club and proved a tower of strength. C. H. Arndt scored a brilliant 209 not out for the seconds in the junior grade, an outstanding achievement. The match with Auckland was ruined by rain and drawn at stumps. V. U. C. were 29 runs behind and had three wickets in hand.

In 1928-29 University were fourth in the Senior Championship. During this season the first Christmas tour of the Manawatu, Wanganui, and Taranaki districts took place. These tours have become an annual event, and have done an immense amount of good for cricket. R. H. C. Mackenzie was Captain of the Town Representatives against the Country and R. J. Bagge was also in the Town team. The match with A.U.C. was drawn, R. H. C. Mackenzie scoring a fine 70 not out in the second innings.

The 1929-30 season saw the Senior eleven runners-up equal with the Wellington College Old Boys for the Senior championship. E. G. McLeod, the captain, had a remarkably successful season and represented New Zealand against England in the Test at Wellington, thus gaining the distinction of being the first V.U.C. men to gain a place in a New Zealand team whilst playing for 'Varsity. E. G. McLeod and R. H. C. Mackenzie played in the Plunket Shield matches for Wellington, E. T. Leys being chosen and unable to play, whilst E. T. Leys represented Wellington Town against Country.

The following season, 1930-31,. was a much leaner year and the seniors won only three matches. Mackenzie had retired and his loss was severely felt. E. G. McLeod represented Wellington against the West Indies and in the Plunket Shield matches. C. S. Harrison bowled ably for the senior team, taking 38 wickets at an average of 18.57 and E. J. Aim also bowled well, capturing 31 wickets.

1931-32 saw the departure of still more of the older hands and H. C. Bailey ably led a rather inex-perienced team which won two matches. J. A. R. Blandford was in good form with bat and gloves and represented Wellington against Hawkes Bay. A.U.C. were beaten by 10 wickets and the Junior B team were runners-up in their grade.

In the following year 1932-33 the Club was third in the Club Championship and the Senior eleven was fifth equal in the senior grade. L. M. Pacey was an efficient captain. J. A. R. Blandford was in fine form and gained a place in the Wellington Plunket Shield team. The Junior B team thoroughly page 102 deserved their place as winners of the Junior B grade championship. A sensational finish in the match with A.U.C. saw Auckland just fail to snatch victory, the match ending in a draw.

In 1933-34 the senior team was again captained by L. M. Pacey, and, scoring 36 championship points, was at the top of the second section of the senior championship. W. Tricklebank performed very ably, taking 60 wickets at an average of 12.63, an outstanding performance, whilst D. S. Dean also bowled very well, capturing 38 wickets at an average of 16.60.

On the Christmas tour, Blandford scored 184 v. North Taranki and Paetz scored a century against Manawatu.

University were third in the Senior championship in 1934-35, a good side performing very ably under good captaincy by J. R. Stevens. W. Trickle-bank who captured 37 wickets at an average of 14.75 gained a place in the Plunket Shield team and his fine performances in representative cricket earned him selection for the North Island against the South at Wellington. P. D. Wilson and J. A. R. Blandford and R. C. Connell were in good form with the bat whilst D. S. Dean again bowled well.

In 1935-36 University were sixth in the Club championship, but the senior team under J. R. Stevens had bad luck with the weather, rain depriving the team of almost certain wins in four matches. One match was won and five lost. The team was handicapped by the absence of J. A. R. Blandford who played in the Town v. Country match, in all Plunket Shield matches, for the Wellington team which defeated the M.C.C. team and for New Zealand in the second and third matches against E. R. T. Holme's side, keeping wickets admirably on each occasion, scoring 40 and 36 and participating in a century partnership in each match. The absence of W. Tricklebank in Japan with the N.Z. University Rugby team was a big loss, but W. F. Vietmeyer, a century scorer, was in good form with the bat and ball, whilst A. G. Wiren batted and fielded well. N. H. McMillan, a fine all-rounder, was very consistent, and W. F. Vietmeyer and W. Tricklebank were awarded New Zealand University Blues for the season.

1936-37 saw Blandford available for most games and Tricklebank back with the side. The senior eleven performed well and was fourth in the championship. W. Tricklebank and J. A. R. Blandford represented Wellington in Plunket Shield matches, and Blandford also represented Wellington-Auckland combined against the M.C.C. team at Auckland. N, H. McMillan ably captained the senior eleven.

In 1937-38 the senior eleven under the captaincy of N. H. McMillan finished second to last in the competition. Time deprived the team of outright wins when behind on the first innings on two occasions, and, on other occasions, after being in a winning position, the eleven failed to drive home its advantage. P. D. Wilson and T. A. Harpur opened well and invariably gave the team a good start whilst A. G. Wiren and W. Tricklebank batted well. W. Tricklebank, J. B. Stephenson, P. A. Ongley and P. Knowsley were leading bowlers. The Auckland University College match was won by 83 runs and, at Christmas, University played Wanganui at Wanganui. W. Tricklebank represented Wellington against Hawkes Bay and Rangitikei, and T. A. Harpur and J. B. Stephenson were awarded New Zealand University Blues for the season.

In 1938-39 the University Club, which had J. R. Sheffield (formerly an Essex County player and the Association coach) allotted to it, gained two wins, one loss and four draws in the senior competition. The side was a good one, but its place in the championship was lowered by the number of drawn games. J. A. Ongley gained a place in the Town representative side against the Country, scoring 36 not out and 57 not out, this gaining him a place in the Wellington Plunket Shield team, where he scored 110 on his first appearance on first class cricket against Otago. He followed this up with good performances against Canterbury and Auckland, and gained his New Zealand cap against Sir Julien Cahn's visiting eleven, scoring 35 when he opened for New Zealand. T. A. Harpur also represented Wellington in the Plunket Shield matches against Otago and Auckland as did the coach, J. R. Sheffield. N. H. McMillan represented Wellington against Marl-borough at Blenheim. The captain of the eleven was W. Tricklebank. An outstanding feature of the season was the huge innings of 286 played by F. Betts for the now famous Junior C Social team captained by E. E. Blacker. This innings is a club record. New Zealand University Blues were awarded to W. Tricklebank, T. A. Harpur, J. A. Ongley and P. D. Wilson.

University under J. R. Sheffield as captain were sixth in the senior championships in the first War season of 1939-40, winning three, drawing two and losing five. Top batsman was E. M. Hay with an average of 35.40 who scored a century for the side. J. A. Ongley gained a place in the Wellington Plunket Shield team against Auckland and Otago and also represented Town versus Country. I. T. H. Manley also represented Town in this match. J. A. Ongley and T. A. Harpur were awarded New Zealand University Blues for the season.

During the following season 1940-41 University were seriously hit by loss of players to the Armed Forces and did not win a match in the senior championship. Great difficulty was experienced in keeping together an eleven. P. D. Wilson gained Wellington Representative Honours in first class matches against Auckland and Canterbury, and captained Town against the Country. He also represented Wellington against Wanganui, as did G. Craig.

page 103

The next season 1941-42 was again a difficult one, but the senior team gave a better performance, winning three, drawing three, and losing eight. The club was seventh in the Club championship out of twenty clubs.

In 1942-43, with the War making still heavier demands on manpower, the University Club again had a very difficult year, but the team finished eighth equal out of twelve teams in the senior championship. Six wins, six draws and eight losses gained the team 30 championship points. G. H. Stringer scored over 500 runs for the side and, in the only representative match of the year, P. D. Wilson performed well for Wellington against Combined Services.

The Club still managed to maintain a senior eleven the following season of 1943-44 and was sixth out of ten teams in the senior championship. The Club was seventh out of 19 Clubs in the Club championship which was a good performance considering war conditions. In the Second B grade University B were runners-up for the championship and G. H. Stringer represented Wellington against Canterbury and Auckland, performing well in both matches.

In 1944-45 University were second to bottom in the senior championship, further difficulty being experienced in keeping a team together owing to the War. In the Second A grade University were third in the championship and the side was a promising one. This was a good augury for the future.

The next season 1945-46 was the first peacetime season after World War II. Cricket began to return to normal, and, with men returning from overseas and many promising young players in the Club, University achieved its ambition of winning the Senior Championship. Ably captained by G. H. Stringer, a strong eleven performed well throughout the season and were popular winners. P. D. Wilson headed the averages, scoring 365 runs at an average of 52.1, and also captured 22 wickets for 16.4 with his slows. D. D. Beard averaged 32.7 with the bat and took 33 wickets at an average of 15.0; whilst J. H. Oakley, who also scored a century for the side, averaged 40.9; T. C. Larkin 36.0 and G. H. Stringer, R. A. Vance, S. Wilde also batted well. R. C. Woolley was a good all-rounder, and D. E. Brian and P. G. Mullins, two fast bowlers, added sting to the attack. I. A. Colquhoun, the wicket keeper, took eleven catches and stumped three behind the wicket and kept well, whilst R. G. Wilde was brilliant at cover point, where he ran out eleven opponents. D. D. Beard represented Wellington against Auckland at Wellington in a special first class match and was unable to play in the Plunket Shield team after being selected, owing to an injury. R. C. Woolley, J. H. Oakley and D. D. Beard represented Wellington against Nelson at Wellington and R. A. Vance and T. C. Larkin represented Wellington against Taranki at New Plymouth. It was a great year for University as in the following Football season the fifteen won the senior Rugby Football Championship. After this success, with most of the previous year's eleven again available, it was hoped that the team would repeat its success in the following season, but, although the eleven performed well at times, the 1946-47 season saw University in fourth place, a loss in the last match with Kilbirnie losing the Club its chance of winning the championship. Until the last match four clubs had a chance of winning the senior championship, which was won by Wellington College Old Boys. G. H. Stringer captained the side well, but the team was not as consistent as the previous year. J. H. Oakley represented Wellington in the Centennial Cup match with Auckland and against the visiting M.C.C. team. D. E. Brian also represented Wellington against Auckland in the Centennial Cup match, whilst T. C. Larkin played for Wellington in the Town v. Country match. A North v. South University match was played at Auckland at Easter and was won by the North Island by an innings and forty-six runs. C. A. Macleod, J. B. Trapp, O. J. Creed and J. H. Murray were members of the North Island team. During the season T. C. Larkin scored 205 not out, this being the record individual score in senior cricket for the Club.

In 1947-48 the team, under the captaincy of T. C. Larkin, seemed to be out of form for the early part of the season and finished bottom equal in the Senior championship. In the Knock-out competition which followed, however, the eleven was unbeaten, but a draw deprived the side of its chance of winning this competition. J. H. Oakley was a member of the Town team against the Country. P. D. Wilson captained the Wellington Colts team on tour, whilst R. A. Vance and J. H. Oakley also were members of the Colts Representative team. In the return Town v. Country match R. A. Vance performed well and he and J. H. Oakley played for Wellington Colts v. Canterbury Colts at Easter, both performing well. A. M. Matheson represented Wellington against Manawatu and R. A. Vance played for Wellington against Fiji in a most thrilling match. J. H. Oakley was a member of the first New Zealand University eleven ever to take the field against Canterbury, when he batted splendidly.

This season the eleven has had an average season and G. H. Stringer has captained a moderate eleven with skill. Two wins have been gained up to the time of writing and R. A. Vance and J. H. Oakley have represented Wellington against the Hutt Valley, whilst R. A. Vance played for Town v. Country.

Like all sporting clubs, the University Cricket Club lost some of its finest men in the second World War. Among those who gave their lives were N. H. McMillan, a former captain, A. P. Cobden, a splendid bat and slip field, J. B. Stephenson a New Zealand University Blue, page 104 D. C. H. Cooper, a sound opening bat, and B. G. Phillips, a very keen cricketer.

Any history of the Club must make special reference to the stalwarts of other years who have placed University in the happy position it is in today. The Club is numerically strong and should do even better in the future. Amongst the out-standing figures of University cricket were R. H. C. Mackenzie, a splendid bat and safe wicket-keeper, E. G. McLeod, a true International, E. T. Leys, who said farewell to V.U.C. cricket with a dashing century, E. C. Wiren, a great club worker, A. M. Hollings, a really fine all-rounder, L. M. Pacey and H. C. Bailey, two solid opening batsmen, J. A. R. Blandford, the finest wicket-keeper the club possessed between the two World Wars, P. D. Wilson who for so many years has shown University cricketers how to bat correctly and well, N. H. McMillan, a really splendid captain and true sportsman, J. A. Ongley, a first class stylish bat, B. A. Paetz, a fine field and dashing bat, J. R. Stevens, a splendid all rounder, and W. Tricklebank, the best fast bowler the Club possessed during the period between the two Wars.

The Club also owes a great deal to G. H. Stringer who, both on and off the field, has done much for University cricket; and, as mentioned above, reference has to be made to C. H. Hain and P. B. Broad for their work following the end of the first World War.

It is difficult to mention all who have helped University to maintain its place in Wellington cricket, but reference must be made of the performances of H. E. Moore, both as a player and administrator. He has been an invaluable member of the Club.

It would not be difficult to add name after name, for the men mentioned above have had the support of many others. It is perhaps unfair to single them out but their outstanding performances entitle them to special mention. Their sportsmanship and ability have left behind a host of memories, and University cricketers and supporters will long remember them.

John Carrad