ANCESTRY OF SYDENHAM CRICKET CLUB AT PAPERS PAST BY FLAGON PARK SECOND EDITION, FEBRUARY 2014
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1 ANCESTRY OF SYDENHAM CRICKET CLUB AT PAPERS PAST BY FLAGON PARK SECOND EDITION, FEBRUARY 2014 INTRODUCTION Ken Julian asked me to write an occasional series for the Sydenham Cricket Club website based on lots of interesting items I found at the fabulous Papers Past website hosted by the National Library of New Zealand. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/ The articles will present long forgotten details of the history of our Sydenham Cricket Club, its predecessors and other Sydenham-based cricket clubs. One of these clubs changed its name to Christchurch which leads me into a discussion involving the four clubs that called themselves Christchurch, and that morphs into the story of early cricket in Christchurch long before the advent of the various southern clubs in Christchurch. My search at Papers Past was sparked by finding a reference in the Press to a Sydenham Cricket Club in existence during the mid-1880's long before the supposed start date of our club in 1895. When I asked others about the history of the club I was told that much old material of the type that one might hope to find in our club archives is missing and maybe lost forever. Papers Past can help to fill in many of the gaps. The articles will especially concern the period before the advent of district cricket in the 1905-06 season and will also present material regarding the district cricket years 1905-1920. Also, while looking for Sydenham-related articles, I came across other items worthy of presentation. There must be other sources that can be used, for example at the Christchurch branch of Archives New Zealand, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Public Libraries, the Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA), archives of other clubs, and so forth, but I will be concentrating on Papers Past as my source. Papers Past is an absolutely free online treasure trove of digitised old New Zealand newspapers from 1839 to 1945 which can be browsed or searched by date, region and newspaper plus it has a facility to convert images of individual newspaper items to text using OCR software. Images of individual items or whole pages, even entire issues of a newspaper, are easily saved. There is already a wonderful array of old newspapers online at Papers Past but the project is ongoing and more are added from time to time. At the time of writing Canterbury alone already
2 has nine old newspapers online. The main papers of interest at Papers Past currently are the Press 1861-1920, the Star 1868-1909, the Lyttelton Times 1851-1869 and the Ellesmere Guardian 1891-1945, although relevant articles can often be found in other newspapers especially if a story had more than local interest. Information about the formation of newspapers in Christchurch can be read here: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc03Cycl-t1-body1-d3-d24.html If you can't wait for the remaining articles to arrive then don't be shy, dive in and have a go at Papers Past. You will not be disappointed! Please make it known if you find great material. In the old newspapers, just as in today's newspapers, you can head straight to the sports pages of the Monday issues to find out what happened on Saturday, or midweek issues for informed comment by seasoned cricket observers such as 'Dark Blue,' 'Light Blue,' 'Scoring-Board,' 'O.U.T.' and others. Anyone wishing to devote themselves to teasing out a particular aspect of our club's history at Papers Past to add to our knowledge should first read the article by Dick BRITTENDEN, 'The beginnings 1895-1905,' in the historical section of the 1995 centenary booklet of the Sydenham Cricket Club, for a brief but informative overview of our club's early history. It can be viewed online at http://www.sydenhamcricket.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&It emid=59 Another excellent read, 'The Making of New Zealand Cricket 1832-1914' by Greg RYAN, published in 2004, which he developed from his 1996 doctoral Ph.D thesis of the same title, contains an interesting discussion of early cricket in Christchurch, especially the controversy surrounding the start of district cricket in 1905. The thesis examines the membership of early clubs in Christchurch to conclude that membership of particular clubs over many years was, in the main, class based, and suggests that the class differences between clubs, making the top senior teams relatively closed shops to newcomers, was one of the influences leading to the change to the more egalitarian district cricket system. However, like most histories touching on early cricket in Christchurch or Canterbury, neither the thesis nor the book examines the fine detail of individual cricket club teams' performances from season to season or Saturday to Saturday. My aim in this introduction is to give a framework for the articles to eventually follow which in most instances will largely consist of newspaper articles presented in chronological order according to topic. The level of detail in a number of the future articles will seem at first glance to be overwhelming but those who persevere with them will find many gems amid the dryer stuff if they hurry on through them. The chronological format is necessary so that
3 developments can be followed without confusion on the part of the reader. I also have an eye to posterity in the hope that the collection of articles will inform future research on the history of our club and its antecedents. Many of us thoroughly enjoyed the centenary celebration of the Sydenham Cricket Club in 1995. Dick BRITTENDEN in his centennial article says that L. M. ISITT (Leonard Monk ISITT), the Wesleyan minister, was reported by J. A. CAYGILL (John Allot CAYGILL) as the person who made the suggestion a hundred years before in the winter of 1895 that the Addington Cricket Club should combine with the Sydenham Cricket Club. The Addington club already had fifteen years of history behind it while the Sydenham club was brand new having been formed earlier that year in April. The resulting amalgamation was the Sydenham and Addington United Cricket Club, the name being adopted at the first AGM before the start of the 1895-96 season. Star , Issue 5226, 5 April 1895, Page 3. "Sydenham Cricket Club— A meeting of those interested in the formation of a cricket club at Sydenham was held at the Sydenham Chambers last evening. The Mayor (Mr J. Brown) occupied the chair. It was decided to form a club to be called the Sydenham Cricket Club. Messrs S. J. Denholm, Jacobs, Waddell, A. Lawrence, Lafferty, Rowe, Scott and Halley were appointed a deputation to wait on the Borough Council at its next meeting in reference to obtaining the use of Sydenham Park." Star , Issue 5229, 9 April 1895, Page 2 "BOROUGH COUNCILS. ...SYDENHAM A deputation from the Sydenham Cricket Club waited on the Council with reference to a proposed cricket ground at Sydenham Park. The deputation wished the Council to assist the Club to lay out the ground. Councillor Caygill moved "That having heard the deputation from the Sydenham Cricket Club, this Council grants permission to the Club to use the Sydenham Park as a cricket ground, and to lay out and keep in order a portion of it, and will contribute one-half of any money required provided the total liability of the Council shall not exceed £20." Councillor M'Millan seconded the motion, and after discussion the matter was held over till next meeting." Press, Volume LII, Issue 9077, 13 April 1895, Page 10 "TENDERS are invited for LAYING DOWN and PREPARING as a CRICKET GROUND 3 Acres, more or less, of the SYDENHAM PARK Specifications to be seen at the Sydenham Chambers (late Sydenham Hotel), Battersea-street Tenders close at Sydenham Chambers, 6 p.m., Saturday, 13th April. RUSSELL HALLEY, Hon. Sec, pro tem."
4 Star , Issue 5241, 24 April 1895, Page 4 "SYDENHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL. Consideration of Councillor Caygill's motion in reference to granting the Sydenham Cricket Club the use of a portion of Sydenham Park as a cricket ground was resumed. The motion was agreed to, with the exception of the latter portion in reference to the Council contributing £20 towards the cost of preparing the ground, which was held over until after the estimates were considered. Permission was granted to the Canterbury Rugby Union to use the east side of Sydenham Park for football matches from April 27 to the end of August." Star , Issue 5272, 31 May 1895, Page 1 Sydenham Cricket Club.— A meeting of members of this club was held at the Borough Council Chambers on Wednesday evening. It was reported that the contract for forming the ground was nearly completed. Subscriptions to the amount of over £21 had been promised, and the sum of £17 14s had already been collected. Fifty-five members had been enrolled. Press, Volume LII, Issue 9199, 2 September 1895, Page 6 "The annual meeting of the Sydenham Cricket Club was held on Saturday night at the Sydenham Chambers. Mr J. A. Caygill presided..... .....The Club was also congratulated upon the amalgamation effected with the Addington Cricket Club, which, besides making a substantial increase in the membership, would enable the Club to enter the senior cup contests, an advantage that could hardly be overestimated. The Club could also enter for each of the other cup contests..... .....The meeting then proceeded with the revision of the rules. It was decided that the name of the Club should be the Sydenham and Addington United Cricket Club, and the colours old gold and scarlet (the colours of the late A.C.C.)..... Star , Issue 5382, 8 October 1895, Page 1 "A meeting of the committee of the Canterbury Cricket Association was held at the City Hotel last evening.....A letter was read from the Sydenham and Addington Club applying for a handicap of four men in the Senior Cup competition. The request was acceded to." The handicap of extra players in the item above was a common feature of cricket in the old days. Excellent examples of handicapping are the Canterbury representative teams which fielded 22 players against the All-England Eleven in 1864 and 18 players against an All-England Eleven in 1877 but still lost both games. A Canterbury 18 escaped with a draw against All-England in 1882 only because too much time was lost due to rain, Canterbury being 6 wickets down for 15 runs in the second innings and still 115 behind All-England's 230 of the first innings. A Canterbury 15 beat the touring Australian team of 1878 by 6 wickets having
5 destroyed the Australian batting in the first innings of the match, a fantastic result with not such a large handicap as in the other matches. There was a scandal in 1877 when Edward POOLEY, in Christchurch with the All-England touring team to play the Canterbury 18, played an old ruse by making a wager with a local man called DONKIN that he would predict the scores of each of the Canterbury players, giving away one shilling for each player scored incorrectly but collecting one pound for each player scored correctly. Canterbury were so weak compared to the Englishmen that POOLEY merely predicted that each of the Canterbury batsmen would score a duck so that he stood to collect a big sum after the inevitable large number of duck eggs occurred among the 18 batsmen, but DONKIN refused to pay up. A court case resulted when POOLEY assaulted DONKIN over the non-payment of the wager. That was the end of the tour for POOLEY who had to make his own way back to England. Despite the advantage of fifteen players throughout their inaugural 1895-96 season, Sydenham & Addington United lost every match they played until they upset Lancaster Park's title chances in the last game of the season to register their very first win. Lancaster Park choked in the last innings batting on a dodgy pitch (some things never change). The parent Addington club too had handicaps over a number of seasons in the senior cup competition. Despite being undefeated during the 1881-82 season (the team photo is in the Sydenham archives), the young Addington club suffered a reality check going winless against the Midland, United and Lancaster Park sides during the 1882-83 season, the first season of the Canterbury Cricket Association's new Senior Challenge Cup competition. In this first season of the competition the rules did not allow the use of handicap players, but Addington applied to the Association to play with fifteen players the following season, which was granted. The rules didn't allow matches to be left drawn, so that matches often extended over more Saturdays than is now the case. Matches were played in the afternoon. Star , Issue 4478, 31 August 1882, Page 2 "A special general meeting of the Canterbury Cricket Association was held at the City Hotel last evening to consider the advisability of establishing cup matches in connection with the Association. There was a good attendance, and a motion to the effect that cup matches should be forthwith established was carried by 17 votes to 10. The management of the Cup, by the rules adopted last night, is to be vested in the Match Committee of the Association, who, in all matters connected with it, are to be all-powerful. Each Club competing will have to pay an entrance fee of 10s per season, and the rules are so worded that no match can, except under very extraordinary circumstances, be left drawn. The hours of play are rigidly fixed, and it is
6 hoped that one great effect of these matches will be to enforce the punctuality that is so conspicuous by its absence at present. For the coming season at any rate it is not intended to allow handicaps to competing clubs, which we take leave to think is a great mistake. It is impossible for junior clubs to cope on level terms with their more powerful rivals, and the result must be to cut them out of the matches altogether, a result which we imagine is scarcely a desirable one. Otherwise the rules are well adapted for their purpose, and will furnish a means of tight control over cricketers that has hitherto been altogether wanting, and which can but result in material benefit to the game. The value of the cup has wisely been limited to £20, on the ground that it is not the intrinsic worth, but the honour that is sought for, and a Committee was appointed to provide the necessary funds, and obtain a trophy of the kind required. In a couple of months, therefore, we presume, Cup matches will be in full swing on our Metropolitan grounds." Lancaster Park won the first Senior Cup competition of 1882-83. The speeches in the report below of the Lancaster Park dinner following their win are priceless. E.C.J. STEVENS (Edward Cephas John STEVENS), who makes a speech, later played for Addington and also for Sydenham & Addington United. He made massive contributions at many levels of cricket after arriving in Canterbury in 1858. Another speechmaker, F. WILDING (Frederick WILDING) a solicitor who later took silk when he became a King's Counsel, was also a major contributor to cricket at all levels. He was the father of Anthony WILDING, the famous tennis player killed in the Great War, whom many might not realise played cricket for Canterbury like his father. Star , Issue 4674, 23 April 1883, Page 4 "THE LANCASTER PARK CLUB. THE ANNUAL DINNER. In order that the cricket season 1882-83 might be fittingly concluded, the Committee of the Lancaster Park Club decided to hold a dinner in the Oddfellows' Hall, where, accordingly, some seventy gentlemen sat down on Saturday evening. The chair was filled by Mr A. C. Wilson, President of the Club, and the vice-chairs by Mr F. Wilding, Captain of the First Eleven, and the Hon E. C. J. Stevens, President of the Canterbury Cricket Association. Among the invited guests were the principal members of the United, Midland, and Addington Clubs, and, as an unusual honour, certain lady members of the L.P.C. were present in the hall after dinner. During the evening, which proved a thoroughly enjoyable one, a number of capital songs were sung to a pianoforte accompaniment. After ample justice had been done to a good dinner, and the toast of the "Queen and the Royal Family" responded to, the Chairman proposed the health of the Lancaster Park Club and First Eleven, coupled with the name of its captain, Mr Wilding. All would admit that the Club had turned out a great success, and by the spirit of rivalry its existence had called forth had done much to improve cricket in Christchurch. This was exactly
7 the object with which it had been started, not to monopolise cricketing skill and strength, but to produce plenty of tough conquests in which nothing more was desired than that the best men should win. Mr Wilding, who was loudly cheered on rising, dwelt on the many excellences of cricket generally, and on the improvement visible in Christchurch cricket in particular, which latter he ascribed to the Challenge Cup matches. Any success the Lancaster Park Club might have achieved was certainly due in no slight degree to the President. (Cheers.) As for the first eleven, it had won the Cup. In this they had been doubtless helped by luck, as the superior batting strength of the United Club was unquestionable but he could claim that his men had worked hard and well to deserve victory. In Mr Frith they had one who on all sorts of wickets and in all sorts of company had shown himself the best bowler in New Zealand. (Cheers.) But the strength of Lancaster Park lay in its veterans ; in those who, but for the establishment of a new ground, would probably, from various causes, have had to give up the game altogether. First and foremost there was the veteran Ollivier. He, after many years' good service, was beginning to relinquish cricket and settle down to a peaceful old age amid his roses and violets at Opawa; but on the starting of Lancaster Park he scented the battle from afar, flung down his hoe and watering-pot, seized his bat and gloves, mounted his most spirited bicycle, and charged into the fray once more. (Cheers.) Then there was Mr Reeves, who had also come forward for the Park, and proved himself the best and stoutest batsman of them all. (Cheers.) Then there was another veteran, his friend, Mr Henry Loughnan, who before Lancaster Park was quite retired from cricket but now took such a revived interest in it that he was never more than forty minutes late for the most important match. Then there was another Mr Loughnan the gay and admirable Frank, whose recent century showed of what he was capable. Next came his friend Mr Atack, who, at the call of duty and the Park, had relinquished the pleasure of battling with theatrical troupes, and chosen foemen more worthy of his steel, and who, in a dangerous crisis, had shown what a stout heart and a cross bat could do for a side in difficulty. Lastly, there was the veteran, Mr Stevens (cheers), grown grey in conflict, but who had shown that age could not wither nor batting practice stale the infinite variety of his play. As for Mr Henry Cotterill, there had been doubt as to whether he was a Cotterill at all, but by his fine fielding in all the matches, he had shown himself indeed a son of that grand old sire who had given to Canterbury so many of her ablest cricketers. (Laughter and cheers.) Mr H. Cotterill had the toast of the evening to propose ; it was that of the Lancaster Park ladies, the winners of the Challenge Cup, coupled with the name of Mr W. P. Reeves. All would admit that this title was literally true. Not being eloquent, he could not say much about the ladies, but he could think a great deal. Mr Reeves hoped that his first remark would not be received with groans. Till then he had felt the presence of the ladies that evening an honour, just then he could wish them anywhere but where they were. The man who had to speak of the ladies in their presence had a very
8 responsible task before him. Those Lancaster batsmen who had failed when they ought to have succeeded and returned amid a dismal silence to the pavilion, knew what it was to face their ladies after failure; not that anything was said, but where ladies were in question there were such things as looks, which meant far more than words. On behalf of the ladies he would thank the Club for its courtesy during the season, though this courtesy, after all, was only the effect of an enlightened selfishness. The ladies would especially thank the Committee for having enabled them to show kindness and hospitality to their visitors and opponents. When these gentlemen were beaten, they found in the ladies good Samaritans, who, if they had not actually to bind up wounds and pour in oil and wine, yet bound cricketers together by their kindness, and poured out for them tea and coffee. (Laughter.) Hence their fame had spread far and wide. There were gentlemen in the South and far North of the Colony for whom the red rose of Lancaster bloomed in memory yet who had gone away beaten, yet happy, and whom he could fancy saying to that irresistible bowler, Mr Wilding:- "You may break, you may scatter our stumps if you will, but the tea and the roses will comfort us still." As an example of the appreciation felt for what the ladies had done for the Club, he would read to them a description of the Lancaster Park first eleven, sent to him by a poetic friend, a genius, but too modest to reveal his name (Laughter.) It ran:- A RECIPE FOR CHALLENGE CUP : A NEW SUMMER DRINK. Take four brave batsmen who, in various styles, Know how to baffle all a bowler's wiles; Take bowlers twain, good men of grit and power, To pound away, if wanted, by the hour ; Three famous fielders never known to fail, Two hardened sinners add to end the tail; Last, let THE LADIES stir the whole well up, And that's the mixture for a Challenge Cup. — (Loud cheers.) Mr H. H. Loughnan, in a neat speech, proposed— "Other Clubs," to which Messrs Hartland (United), Strange (Midland), and Wheatley (Addington) responded. Mr Hartland attributed the loss of the Cup by the United to their inability to fight against the fair sex, who had been such powerful allies of Lancaster Park. He must admit, too, that he and his men had taken things too easily at practice. Next year, however, they meant business, and would try to be there, or thereabouts, when the Cup was won. Professor Cook proposed— "The Canterbury Cricket Association," coupled with the name of its President, Mr Stevens, than whom the game possessed no more ardent devotee. The Hon E. C. J. Stevens, in replying, dwelt, amid loud cheering, on the long and important services rendered to the Association by Mr Condell, its Honorary Secretary. He impressed upon
9 those present the necessity of attending the Association's meetings. The gathering of that evening reminded him of those good old times when cricketers were cheerful fellows, who knew what it was to hear the chimes at midnight. He then caused much laughter by "chaffing" two of the previous speakers who had twitted him and his sins in the cricket-field. He could only say to these two his Captain and his other friend that, however old and however hardened in sin he might be, he would still be ready to follow the one and play with the other "Always the same, Through grief and through danger, through sin and through shame." --(Cheers.) Other toasts were "Cricket," proposed by Mr Condell, and responded to by Mr Arthur Ollivier; "The Press," proposed by Dr Hacon, and responded to by Mr R.A. Loughnan and the "Chairman," proposed by Mr W. V. Millton, received with very great applause, and responded to by Mr A. C. Wilson. During the evening trophies, in the shape of bats, were handed by the Chairman to Messrs Reeves, Ollivier, and F. Loughnan, of the first eleven, Francis and Cooper, second eleven, and Dunlop and Richardson, juniors. The following are the averages of the Club's First Eleven, compiled from Cup and First Eleven matches:-- Matches played, 12; won, 10; lost, 1; drawn, 1. BATTING AVERAGES. Name. Runs. No of Innings. Times Not Out. Most in a Match. Average. W. P. Reeves 295 12 2 111 29.5 A.M. Ollivier 277 13 -- 109 21.8 F. Wilding 270 16 2 63 19.28 W. J. Pocock 191 12 1 42 17.36 E. C. J. Stevens 170 14 4 30 17 F. O'B. Loughnan 182 13 1 103 15.16 D. J. Dunlop 165 14 2 40 13.83 H. Cotterill 45 4 -- 37 11.25 R. M. Roach 33 4 -- 21 8.25 H.H. Loughnan 57 10 3 20 8.14 W. H. Atack 78 11 1 20 7.8 W. Frith 42 -- 7 17 6 E. V. Hamilton 15 3 -- 8 5 E. Francis 18 7 2 8 3.6 BOWLING ANALYSIS. Name. Balls. Runs. Maidens. Wickets. Runs per wicket. F. Wilding 1522 477 112 71 6.71 W. Frith* 1251 398 75 52 7.71
10 W. H. Atack 479 181 27 16 8.18 W. J. Pocock 474 209 18 14 14.92 * Bowled three no balls." Question: When two teams of fifteen played each other at Lancaster Park in 1887, who were the opponents and what was the sport? Answer: Lancaster Park C.C. 1st XV versus Lancaster Park C.C. 2nd XV in the Canterbury Cricket Association’s Senior Challenge Cup. For the 1887-88 season the Lancaster Park, Midland and United clubs asked the Association to allow them to enter extra teams in seniors as they each had extra teams in the Junior grade with burgeoning numbers of members joining their clubs and wanted to give some a crack at senior play. Thus, instead of the usual quartet of four teams playing seniors (United, Midland, Lancaster Park and Addington), there were eight teams for the 1887-88 season with the CCA granting the requests for extra teams. The Association instructed the clubs to enter their best players in the elevens and their other sides could have handicaps of 15 players. Lancaster Park wanted to enter three teams in seniors, which gives a good idea of how fast they were growing considering they didn’t form until 1881. The sides for 1887-88 were: United 11 United XV Midland 11 Midland XV Lancaster Park 11 Lancaster Park 1st XV Lancaster Park 2nd XV Addington XV Addington, having started with 11 players in the very first Senior Challenge Cup competition of 1882-83, but been drubbed mercilessly every game, were allowed a fifteen man handicap in 1883-84 which they kept in 1884-85. With the aid of the handicap they won the competition in the latter season and reduced to 13 men in 1885-86, but were back to 15 for the 1887-88 season. In the following seasons Addington varied between 13 and 11 men. For the 1893-94 and 1894-95 seasons Addington didn't have a team in seniors with their top team playing in the Junior Cup competition instead. That must have been quite a come down. Then came the amalgamation with Sydenham in 1895 and a return to senior cricket as Sydenham & Addington
11 United, but a southern team wasn't to win the senior cup again until Sydenham & Addington United did so in 1903-04 and then Sydenham in 1912-13. In fact, Sydenham won all competition grades in 1912-13, cleaning up the Peterson Shield in the process, so that season has to rank as maybe the best ever for our club. In fact Sydenham won the Senior Cup in 1913-14 and 1914-15 as well making three seasons in a row of Senior Cup success. Sydenham even had a second team in seniors in the 1914-15 season. The most recent incarnation of our Sydenham club was set with the introduction of district cricket in the 1905-06 season by the Canterbury Cricket Association. District cricket had already been tried successfully in Australia and in Auckland, and was not a new idea in England. Wellington also introduced district cricket for a few years. The residential-based scheme forced a huge shake up of club cricket in Christchurch by abandoning the old club system which for many years had concentrated top Senior Cup players in a small number of clubs making it hard for new players to force their way into such sides. Greg RYAN's book, 'The Making of New Zealand Cricket 1832-1914,' has much to say about class differences being part of the problem. The top sides in the old club system were far stronger than the weaker sides, hence the handicap of fifteen players employed by Sydenham & Addington United during their first season in 1895-96. The Midland Thirteen of 1904-05, made up from the Midland club’s second team that had won the Junior competition in the previous season, was given a go in seniors but thrashed by the top four elevens as was Lancaster Park B which also had 13 players. By this time the CCA was ready to try district cricket with other attempts to widen the senior player base as above being unsuccessful. The former Australian representative Charles BANNERMAN's ideas on the situation were influential, he having been in Christchurch to coach the Christ College team (with great success). Star , Issue 8280, 31 March 1905, Page 1 “The Past Season. … ..Senior Cup. … ..the Association decided to allow two of the clubs to enter a Thirteen as well as an eleven in the first grade competition. The idea, apparently, was to give young players a more extended trial than otherwise would have been the case. A similar course has been tried before, and, as in former times, the experiment again could not be counted a success. The games between the Thirteen and the Eleven were on the whole, very one-sided, and the Thirteen’s burden was only made bearable by the fact that under the new system of scoring the opposing Eleven often closed their only innings in order to try and get the Thirteen out twice. The results were such that the juniors must have had very good hearts to play under so discouraging circumstances; a state of things not perhaps the most beneficial for bringing on promising new blood. As a matter of fact, however, under this method it is doubtful whether young players are really catered for… ..”
12 Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12147, 20 March 1905, Page 10 MR BANNERMAN'S IMPRESSIONS. LESSONS FOR NEW ZEALAND. After the match was over, our representative had a chat with Mr Bannerman, who acted as umpire in both the Test Matches. Mr Bannerman is himself an old Australian Eleven man, and from his great experience and ripe judgment his opinions should be of considerable value to those who control the destinies of cricket here..... .....With regard to the improvement of cricket in Canterbury, Mr Bannerman is strongly of opinion that the electorate system of play should be adopted here— that is that players may not play for any electorate but that in which they live. Probably this would be opposed on sentimental grounds at first, but once properly going, he was satisfied it would wonderfully stimulate the play and also increase the interest taken in the game by the general public. He instanced the case of New South Wales. Since electorate cricket was adopted there the game had progressed marvellously, and he thought the same result would be achieved here under similar conditions. If Canterbury cricket was ever to attain the standard of Australian play it would only be done by those who had had proper coaching in their school days. At present, he said, the boys of Christ's College— to take only one example— generally joined the one Club, the United, on leaving school, and as that Club had only one team playing first-class cricket, it meant that any lad making a good score, say, 100, would be taken little notice of, because he was not playing first class cricket. Under the electorate system these promising youngsters would be spread about, and consequently would soon come to the top. The electorate system had a lot to recommend it and he was firmly convinced it should be given a trial here. Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12150, 23 March 1905, Page 6 DISTRICT CRICKET. In his remarks to our representative after the Canterbury match, the captain of the Australian Eleven laid stress upon two matters which, if attended to, would, he believed, greatly improve local cricket. These were better wickets and the introduction of the district system. Neither is entirely new. An attempt was made some time ago to reproduce at Lancaster Park the perfect wickets of Australian grounds by the importation and use of a small quantity of Bulli soil, and the advantages of district, as against club cricket, were being discussed here two years ago. The Cricket Association, however, taking advantage of the revival of interest in the game resulting from the Australian tour, has decided to ask the Lancaster Park authorities to import several tons of Bulli soil, and has set up a subcommittee to carry out a scheme of district cricket. There will, no doubt, be much opposition, as was the case previously, to this latter proposal. Most old cricketers have a strong affection for and pride in their particular club, and will resent any
13 scheme that separates them from it. It is to be hoped, however, that devotion to the best interests of the game may override such personal sentiment, natural and laudable though it may be. It is quite possible that district cricket would improve the standard of play; that it would add to the public interest in the various matches is beyond doubt. We do not need to go to Sydney for proof of that, though the statements made by Mr Noble as to the effect of the system on cricket there strongly confirm our view. Auckland affords an example nearer home. District cricket has been established there for two seasons. As in Christchurch, it was "in the air" for a long time before anything practical was done. In the meantime, as the tour of the Auckland team in 1901 showed, cricket in Auckland was sinking to a very low ebb, and finally arrived at a stage at which it was recognised that any change must be for the better, sinoe matters could scarcely get worse. So the sentiment that had hitherto bound the cricketers to their clubs was thrown aside, and a scheme of district cricket was evolved and accepted within six weeks. The address of every player in the city and suburbs was obtained, and though at first it was feared that no division could prevent Grafton having a large preponderance of good men, the districts were so cut up that at least five out of the six were placed on practical equality. It is too early yet to judge of the full effect of the new system upon the standard of play, but there is no doubt at all as to the stimulus it has given to public interest. The attendance at the Saturday matches is double, if not treble, what it was in the days of club matches. No charge is made for admission to the grounds, but as a result, apparently, of increased local pride in the fortunes of the district representatives, Eden has bought a good ground of its own, and Grafton and North Shore have each been enabled to engage a coach. The result of all this must be beneficial to cricket in the province, which, indeed, is said to be better than is generally believed. It might be well in Christchurch to adopt the suggestion that the district system should be introduced gradually, and that a series of district matches should be sandwiched in between the club matches. But it should certainly be given a trial, and we trust that before next season a feasible scheme may be worked out, and that, for the credit of the province, cricketers will give it their support. Under district cricket, the change to a strict residential qualification for club membership in all Canterbury Cricket Association grades saw the old clubs fall by the wayside, new clubs formed under guidelines established by the Association, and players on the move. The old senior teams for the 1904-05 season were Sydenham & Addington United, Lancaster Park, a Lancaster Park Thirteen, United, Midland, and a Midland Thirteen. The new district senior teams for the 1905-06 season were Sydenham, West Christchurch, East Christchurch, Riccarton, Linwood and St Albans. West Christchurch and East Christchurch were the town teams either side of Manchester Street and within the four town belts (now the four main avenues) and the other four clubs were south, west, east and north of the town belts. Old adversaries on the cricket
14 fields of Christchurch became team mates just as former team mates became adversaries. An example is O. CAYGILL (Obed CAYGILL), a stalwart of the Hagley Oak Leafs/Christchurch, then Addington, and then Sydenham & Addington United, not to mention the Canterbury Cricket Association and the New Zealand Cricket Council, who was unable to join with his old comrades in the new Sydenham district club because he lived in Fendalton. He knew what he was in for because he was one of the prime movers of district cricket. Under the new residential qualifications he had to join the new Riccarton district club instead. Riccarton took over the Midland pavilion at Hagley Park. Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12251, 21 July 1905, Page 6 "THE CANTERBURY ASSOCIATION. DISTRICT SCHEME ADOPTED. A meeting of the Canterbury Cricket Association was held last night..... .....Mr Caygill moved that a system of district matches to take the place of Cup cricket should be inaugurated. Most of the criticism levelled against the proposal had been against the partial district scheme. He could not agree with those who asserted that New Zealand was too small for district cricket; it was reasonable to suppose that the 60,000 inhabitants of Christchurch should be able to find players enough for six districts. It was a progressive scheme which had proved a success in Sydney, and would induce the public to take an added interest in the game. Mr Ridley seconded the motion, remarking that, though the prospects of the scheme did not appear to him so rosy as to the mover, he thought it well worthy of a trial. Mr Vincent said he would prefer a partial scheme to the out-and-out scheme, as he thought there would be difficulty at first in the way of arranging grounds. He considered, however, that district cricket would cause more public interest to be taken in the game. The motion was then put and carried by 15 votes to 5. It was then unanimously resolved that the out-and-out district scheme be adopted. On the motion of Mr Caygill, it was decided that district clubs should be formed for St Albans, Riccarton, Linwood, Sydenham, Christchurch East, and Christchurch West. The following rules were considered and adopted:— (1) A club shall be composed of members who have resided within the boundaries of their district not less than four months prior to the 1st October in each year. Any player changing his residence on or after 1st June shall play for the district in which he was residing on that date. Nothing in this rule shall prevent a resident or any district from becoming an honorary member of any other district club. (2) Any player arriving after 1st June may be allowed to play for the district in which he is residing upon satisfying the Competitions Committee that he intends to become a bona fide resident. (3) That all Association matches in which district or school club teams are engaged shall be played under this Association's rules for Cup matches. (4) That grounds be allocated to the various district clubs as follows: Lancaster Park: Christchurch East and Linwood; Hagley Park: Christchurch West, Riccarton, and St Albans; Sydenham Park: Sydenham. (5) That players residing in the St
15 Albans district use their best endeavour to obtain a suitable cricket ground within the boundaries of that district, at as early a date as possible, and that this Association gives all assistance in its power, both financially and otherwise, to further such a project, (6) That boundaries of districts, as suggested, be subject to revision at the close of season. A sub-committee, consisting of Messrs Caygill, Raphael, and Thomson was appointed to interview the Hagley Park Ground Committee in reference to the appointment of trustees, in whom pavilions and other property should be invested. A further committee, composed of delegates from the various clubs, was set up to consider and report in regard to the fixing of boundaries." In the item below, Wilderness Road is the old name for Barrington Street, named after Wilderness, the home of John MARSHMAN. Hills Road means what is now Port Hills Road and Centaurus Road. It follows the lower slopes of Murray Aynsley Hill and was once used to avoid ferry fees. Centaurus Road was named about 1939. Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12269, 12 August 1905, Page 4 "THE DISTRICT CRICKET SCHEME. BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICTS. The establishment of a scheme of district cricket is now an accomplished fact in Canterbury, and hopes are entertained that under the new system marked improvement will result in local cricket. At Thursday's meeting of the Canterbury Cricket Association, the boundaries of the districts were agreed to, and below are given the details of the limits of the districts:-- SYDENHAM DISTRICT Commencing at the termination of Hills road, thence northerly along the said road to Wilson's road, along Wilson's road to Shakespeare road, along Shakespeare road to Falsgrave street, along Falsgrave street to Moorhouse avenue, along Moorhouse to Selwyn street, thence southerly along Selwyn street to Selwyn road, along Selwyn road to Milton street, along Milton street to Wilderness road, southeasterly along Wilderness road to Port Hills, including Port Hills between the lines of Wilderness road and Hills road. LINWOOD DISTRICT. Commencing at the termination of Hills road, thence northerly along the said road to Wilson's road, along Wilson's road to Shakespeare road, along Shakespeare road to Falsgrave street, along Falsgrave street to Fitzgerald avenue, and the North Avon Road to Fowke street, along Fowke street to Avon road, along Avon road to the City and Suburban tram-line, along the said tram-line to the beach, including Brighton, Sumner, and Lyttelton, and the Port Hills in a line north-east of Hills road. ST ALBANS DISTRICT. All that district to the north-west of the city and suburban tramline to its junction with the Avon
16 road, along the Avon road to Fowke street, along Fowke street to the North Avon road, along the North Avon road to its junction with Bealey avenue, along Bealey avenue and Carlton Terrace to river Avon, along river Avon to Boundary road, along Boundary road and Strowan road in a north-westerly direction in a direct line to the Ashley river, including all that district to the east of the railway, also including Belfast, Kaiapoi, and Rangiora. RICCARTON DISTRICT. All that district to the south-west of the northern railway to Strowan road, along Strowan road and Boundary road to river Avon, thence along the river Avon to the West belt, along the West belt to its junction with Moorhouse avenue, along Moorhouse avenue to Selwyn street, along Selwyn street to Selwyn road, along Selwyn road to Milton street, along Milton street to Wilderness road, and including all that district to the south-west of the boundary of the Sydenham district. CHRISTCHURCH EAST DISTRICT. All that district bounded on the north by Bealey avenue, on the east by Fitzgerald avenue, on the south by Moorhouse avenue, and on the west by Manchester Street. CHRISTCHURCH WEST DISTRICT. All that district bounded on the north by Bealey Avenue and the northern boundary of Hagley Park, on the east by Manchester street, on the south by Moorhouse avenue, and on the west by the western boundary of Hagley Park." There was plenty of worry over the change to district cricket with many fearing that playing standards would drop if the increased number of senior sides had their playing strength diluted due to new and untried players making up the numbers, plus they also feared the loss of old associations and friendships which might lead to a reduction in playing numbers overall. In 1907 the Midland club and the United club attempted a revolt against the new district system, but with little effect. It didn't help them that they were sort of non-clubs by then so far as the Canterbury Cricket Association was concerned. Both Midland and United had played in the Senior Cup competition under the old club system from the first 1882-83 season to the last 1904-05 season, United with a pedigree stretching back to the very first cricket club in Canterbury, the Christchurch Cricket Club formed in 1851, In fact the change to district cricket lead to a good increase in player numbers, gave new players of ability a crack at senior cricket, and the standard of senior cricket wasn't affected so that the new system was liked by the majority of players. For example, after two seasons of the new scheme, a poll of active players in 1907 by the Canterbury Cricket Association on the basis of old club membership returned 37 of the old Sydenham & Addington United players for and 1 against the new scheme. Of the old Sydenham Rivals Club's players, 5 were for and 1 against. Overall the poll returned 224 votes for, 40 against, and 59 active members had refrained from voting. There was no going back to the old system, not for a while anyway.
17 The Sydenham Rivals Cricket Club was a contemporary of the Sydenham & Addington United Cricket Club, both clubs taking part in the Canterbury Cricket Association competitions and both having the use of Sydenham Park. Star , Issue 6773, 19 April 1900, Page 1 "BOROUGH COUNCILS SYDENHAM .....Councillor M'Meekan moved— " That the Town Clerk write to the various clubs playing on Sydenham Park— the Sydenham and Addington Cricket Club, Sydenham Football Club, Sydenham Bowling Club, Sydenham Hockey Club and Sydenham Rivals Cricket Club - asking whether they would co-operate with the Council in appointing a permanent caretaker, and what amount they would be prepared to contribute." Councillor Johnson seconded the motion, which was carried." Sydenham Rivals started out as a minor club, one of the many that were not members of the Canterbury Cricket Association and did not play in the Association's competitions. A separate competition was started among some of these clubs for the Wisden Trophy which was a forerunner of the suburban competitions outside the ambit of the Canterbury Cricket Association. Sydenham Rivals eventually won the Wisden Trophy and then entered the Canterbury Cricket Association's competitions, first in the Junior Cup grade which later became 2nd Grade, and then entered a second team in the President's Cup grade which later became 3rd grade. Sydenham & Addington United had teams in all of the four Cup grades with Seniors being the top grade which later became 1st grade, and Vice-Presidents being the bottom grade which later became 4th grade. In an early match in the Junior Cup in 1901-02 the Sydenham Rivals were badly beaten by Sydenham & Addington but by the end of the season had won the competition, so they must have been fast learners. Sydenham Rivals disappeared with the advent of district cricket in 1905-06, it being likely that some members living in the new Sydenham club's residential catchment became members of the new Sydenham district club, a suspicion reinforced by the fact that a photo of the Sydenham Rivals' top side which won the Junior Cup competition in 1901-02 is part of our club archives. The Wisden Trophy competition had petered out a few years before but in September 1905 a new Suburban Cricket Association was formed, later known as the City and Suburban Cricket Association, to cater for the many minor clubs not participating in the Canterbury Cricket Association's new district competitions. The Suburban association ran its competitions on the basis of the old club system in direct contrast to the new district scheme of the Canterbury Cricket Association. This contrast between the two competition systems kept the two associations well apart in the early years of their existence, despite occasional calls for unification of their competitions, and it is only in recent years that such a unification has been accomplished even though district cricket was given up long ago.
18 Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12305, 23 September 1905, Page 12 "CRICKET. SUBURBAN ASSOCIATION. A meeting of delegates to form on association to carry on competitions among clubs unable to take part in the district scheme, was held in the Baptist schoolroom, Oxford Terrace, Iast evening, Mr B. Crawford presiding. The following clubs were represented:— Sumner, Spreydon, Opawa, Sockburn, Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, and Addington workshops. The association, which was by resolution constituted under the name of the Suburban Cricket Association, is really a resuscitation of the Wisden Club, which carried on competitions successfully some years ago. The following officers were elected Chairman, Mr H. Grammer; secretary and treasurer, Mr M. Pavitt; Management Committee, Messrs Crawford, Lawrence and Timms, with power to add to their number. The rules of the Wisden Club were adopted with slight alterations. It was agreed to run a senior and junior competition, and each club will be allowed two delegates to the Association." Apparently the new Sydenham district club, being able to retain much of the old Sydenham & Addington United membership, was the least affected out of all the new senior district clubs in terms of what had gone before but, even so, it was a different beast to the former Sydenham & Addington United club. The Press report of the 1905 AGM of the Sydenham & Addington United Cricket club says this: Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12290, 6 September 1905, Page 5 "The report and balance-sheet were adopted. A vote of thanks was accorded to the officers, and the club disbanded. A meeting was then held to form a new club, in accordance with the District Cricket scheme. It was resolved to form a new club, to be called the Sydenham Cricket Club, and the draft rules proposed by the Canterbury Cricket Association were adopted with small amendments." Star , Issue 8738, 27 September 1906, Page 1 16th AGM Canterbury Athletic Clubs' Protection Association "Owing to the inauguration of the district cricket scheme, the Sydenham and Addington United, Midland, St Mary's and Sydenham Rivals cricket clubs withdrew from the Association, while the following new clubs were affiliated: — The East Christchurch, West Christchurch, St Albans, Linwood, Sydenham, Riccarton and Sumner cricket clubs..." The Canterbury Athletic Clubs' Protection Association of the article above was basically a means for sports clubs to recover outstanding subs.
19 The Great War 1914-1918 had a massive effect on sports clubs in Christchurch because so many members went to war. At the 1913 AGM of the Sydenham Cricket Club the annual report showed immense pride in the club winning all competition grades in the preceding 1912-13 season, the Thursday Junior Cup had been won as well, and the Peterson Shield had been won for the 7th year in succession. Six players represented the club in provincial cricket, membership was up, the balance-sheet showed a profit and club assets were good with nil liabilities. 1914 was a good AGM as well and even 1915 was not so bad although the haemorrhaging of players to the front was having a strong effect. Due to the devastation of club cricket playing ranks by the huge loss of members of military age, the Canterbury Cricket Association temporarily waived the residential requirement prior to the start of the 1915-16 season to help clubs. For example things were deteriorating for Sydenham due to difficulties fielding teams and consequent financial problems given the ever present problems clubs always had with high ground charges and ground maintenance, but they had nothing on East Christchurch which was in danger of folding altogether due to losing sixty per cent of its members to the war in a relatively short space of time. East Shirley was in difficulties even before the war to the extent that the Association had already relaxed the residency rules for that club in 1911. This was because East's membership had fallen as industry moved into its residential catchment area so that strong representations were made to the Association regarding the need to alter the club's boundaries (resisted by Lancaster Park and West Christchurch). Things became progressively worse as the war continued and by the AGM of 1917 Sydenham's annual report stated that, "At the beginning of the 1914-15 season the club had 73 playing members, but at the end of the 1916-17 season only 13 of these members were actively participating in the game." The 1917 AGM of the Linwood club is also revealing; the club had only 21 members but won the senior cup with their junior team also doing well despite the latter team having to play with only eight or nine men on several occasions. There were far fewer teams playing club cricket overall. With so many men gone to war, teams including seniors were kept going by a combination of youngsters and veterans until the end of the war allowed clubs to begin their recovery. Thus by 1917 the situation had turned around completely. Sydenham’s annual report presented at the AGM that year bemoaned the fact that the club hadn't won a single competition, that a big proportion of members had gone to war, that income was way down as a result, and a large debt was owed. Sydenham had gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. W. H. WINSOR (William Hinnels WINSOR, known as Billy), a builder who was born in England and had come to Christchurch via Tasmania then Dunedin, and was by then a long time Sydenham, Canterbury Cricket Association and New Zealand Cricket Council stalwart, assisted club funds out of his own pocket. The club eventually recovered after the war but some members were never to return
20 having given their lives for their country. A newspaper report of the 1919 AGM of the Sydenham Cricket Club, at which a letter from the Canterbury Cricket Association was read, shows that a final reversion to the old system of club cricket was in the wind. In June 1920 a specially summoned meeting of the Canterbury Cricket Association voted by 12 votes to 6 to abandon district cricket for good and revert to club cricket. The discussions and voting split show that there was just as much worry in 1920 over the final reversion to club cricket as there was in 1905 over the change to district cricket. W. H. WINSOR, despite moving in 1915 that the Canterbury Cricket Association temporarily relax the strict district rules due to the war, said at the 1920 meeting that, Press, Volume LVI, Issue 16854, 7 June 1920, Page 6 ".....those supporting the club system that night would regret it in years to come. It was a very retrograde step, going back to the days of Noah and the ark." The war had certainly upset the district cricket scheme but one of the main points against district cricket had always been the lack of choice for players. Another disliked feature of district cricket was the need to tinker with club boundaries from time to time. By 1920 it was felt that district cricket had completed the job it was designed to do by breaking up the bad features of the old club system and wasn't needed any more. Does the final abandonment of district cricket in 1920 mark a new beginning for our club? Probably not because there was no need for anyone to change clubs and the intervening fifteen years would have seen players who were forced to change clubs in 1905 being well settled in their new clubs if still playing in 1920. Items at Papers Past have led me to question the use of 1995 as the centenary year of Sydenham because ancestor clubs existed before 1895, and not just the parent Addington Cricket Club alluded to in Dick BRITTENDEN's historical article in the 1995 centenary booklet. This is because Addington was said to have evolved from the short-lived Hagley Oak Leaf Cricket Club which changed its name to the Christchurch Cricket Club before its demise. Club members common to this ancestral line of clubs include the perennially electable J. HOPPER (John HOPPER) who was president of the Hagley Oak Leaf (later renamed Christchurch), president of Addington (the child of Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch), president and then later the patron of Sydenham & Addington United (the child of Addington), and then patron of the Sydenham Cricket Club formed in 1905 for the introduction of district cricket in the 1905-06 season. The brothers J.A. CAYGILL and O. CAYGILL were also long-time club officers who both belonged to the Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch, Addington, and the Sydenham & Addington United clubs. J.A. CAYGILL didn't experience district cricket because he died in 1899 from
21 Cancer. O. CAYGILL went to Riccarton for district cricket. HOPPER and the CAYGILL brothers are not the only examples of continuity of membership in the predecessor clubs of our Sydenham Cricket Club. Just as I am led to question the 1895 origin of our club due to ancestral discoveries at Papers Past, the realisation regarding just how much district cricket changed the club system in 1905 also leads me to question the 1895 origin. Should anniversary celebrations of our club remember a beginning in 1877 - Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch? 1880 - Addington? 1895 - Sydenham & Addington United? 1905 - Sydenham? I would add 1873 (the first Waltham club), 1875 (the second Waltham club) and 1877 (the first Sydenham club) to the list of ancestral clubs above if I could be sure that the first Sydenham club joined forces with Addington prior to the advent of the Senior Cup competition in 1882-83, as hinted at in a reminiscence by F. WILDING ( I give the quote later). 1877 is the year the beautifully named Hagley Oak Leaf Cricket Club began after it was suggested to J. HOPPER, a member of the Selwyn Street Methodist Church, that he start a club for the young men of the United Methodist Free churches. HOPPER had in previous years been President or Captain of the Halswell Cricket Club and then the Sunnyside Cricket Club. Newspaper items regarding the deaths of J.A. CAYGILL in 1899 and J. HOPPER in 1914, and a reminiscence in 1900 by E.C.J. STEVENS have it that Addington, which was formed in 1880, arose out of the Hagley Oak Leaf Cricket Club which had renamed itself as the Christchurch Cricket Club at its AGM of 1879. However, the story that Addington evolved from the Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch club is not as tidy as one might think because both Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch and Addington were in existence during the same 1880-81 season (they played against each other) before the Hagley Oak Leaf/Christchurch club came to its fatal end, probably hastened by an exodus of many its players and administrators to the newly formed Addington club. Press, Volume LVI, Issue 10276, 20 February 1899, Page 3 "OBITUARY MR J. A. CAYGILL. .....He was best known, perhaps, as a cricketer, and on account of the interest he took in swimming. He was one of the founders of the old Hagley Oak Leaf Club, which eventually developed into the Sydenham and Addington U.C.C. He represented it on the Cricket Council,
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