Cricket before ANU was Established
Cricket in Canberra had very early origins with the Hall Cricket Club inaugurated as far back as 1854. A more formal structure to matches played in the region occurred in 1914 with the creation of a programme of matches for the Moore Shield which had hitherto for many years been contested for on an ad hoc basis on Wednesday afternoons. Don Selth, historian to the A.C.T. Cricket Association, postulates that given the existence of a number of enthusiastic clubs in Canberra it is probable that a Cricket Association would have been formed shortly thereafter to conduct Saturday matches but for the intervention of the Great War. On 13 September 1922 the Federal Territory Cricket Association (the precursor to the ACT Cricket Association) was formed thereby entitling all clubs within a ten-mile radius of the Ainslie Post Office to affiliate and participate in a Saturday playing day competition. In the first season of 1922-23 the Territory boasted a population of 2,500 from which seven clubs, Hall, Ainslie, Westridge, Canberra, Eastlake, Duntroon and Cadets became founding members. Ainslie has the distinction of being the first premiers. In December 1929 by statute the Canberra University College was created and affiliated with Melbourne University.
SANCTOS RECLUDERE FONTES
Unseal the sacred founts (i.e. the fountains of learning)
Such was only intended to be a short term arrangement pending the establishment of a university of full status. History now records that it took some thirty years for the establishment of a full university catering to undergraduate and postgraduate students to occur. At the start of the 1930 academic year a part-time staff of eight catered to an elite group of 34 part-time students, providing courses mainly in Arts and Commerce and some in Science. That student roll grew to 134 in 1937 by which time the Canberra population had increased to 8,410. In mid 1937 hockey enjoyed the distinction of being the first competitive sport pursued by Canberra University College students. Not far behind was cricket. An enthusiastic group of cricket devotees, including Neville Kruger, Jordan Starkey, George Rance, Jack Richardson, Bill McNiven, and Joe Stephenson all of whom who had been founding members of the hockey club a few months earlier along with Men Millett, formed the Canberra University Cricket Club for participation in the 1937-38 season.
Cricket in the inaugural season was played in three competitions, A and B Grades and SubDistrict though this terminology may be a little inaccurate. The Sub-District competition was effectively a C or third grade competition. The Canberra University College was admitted to the Sub-District competition and competed against RMC Cadets (two teams), Hall, Barton, Kingston, Grammar, Manuka, Northbourne, and the Catholic Youth Welfare Association (C.Y.W.A.) teams. The team was known as ‘University’.
|CUC Cricket Club 1937-38|
|Rear : Merv Millett, Jack Richardson, John Donohue, Eric Peterson, Nevill Kruger, Jordan Starkey, Harold McGiness, Brian Martin|
|Middle : Frank Boileau, George Cordy, Pat Cashmore, Norm Lynraven (c), Joe Stephenson, George Rance, Bill McCullough|
|Front : Bill McNiven, Charles Comans, Leo Rabl|
The season opened on 9 October 1937 with University competing against Kingston who achieved first innings points before the close of play on the first day. The match was played on a concrete wicket at Acton Oval near the Canberra Hospital. The area is now covered by Lake Burley Griffin. The Club’s President Norm Lyng (later to change his surname to Lynravan) captained the University side. The second day’s play was washed out.
|C.U.C. INAUGURAL MATCH|
|C.U.C. v KINGSTON at Acton Oval, 9 & 16 October 1937|
|University – 1st Innings|
|M. Millett||c Plaisted b Wharton||2|
|J. Richardson||lbw Traynor||41|
|F. Giles||b Wharton||4|
|J. Stephenson||st Pike b Traynor||23|
|N. Lynravn (c)||c Traynor b Wharton||3|
|F. Boileau||c Trevillian b Traynor||20|
|W. McNiven||b Traynor||4|
|G. Rance||b Traynor||0|
|C. Comans||b Traynor||4|
|J. Peterson||st Pike b Traynor||5|
|N. Kruger||not out||0|
|Bowling:Wharton 3/31, McFarland 0/21, Plaisted 2/20, Traynor 7/23, James 0/11|
|Kingston – 1st Innings|
|Pike||c Richardson b Rance||4|
|Wharton||c Giles b Richardson||23|
|Drayton||c Giles b Richardson||41|
|Bowling: Rance 1/16, Boileau 1/29, Giles 0/32, Richardson 2/36, Lynravn 0/10, Kruger 0/2|
|RESULT : Kingston Won on First Innings|
At the end of the competition rounds, there being no finals series, Hall were declared premiers with Barton being runners-up and University third.
For the season and thereafter the controlling body changed its name from the Federal Territory Cricket Association to the Australian Capital Territory Cricket Association. University, captained by George Cordy, were runners-up to Yarralumla in the Sub-District competition. In a field of fourteen the side won 7 matches outright, 2 on first innings, 2 were drawn and only 1 was lost on first innings. Such an imposing record was still not good enough to wrest the premiership. The principal architects of these illustrious deeds were George Cordy, Harold McGinness, Bill DeSalis, George Rance, Jack Richardson and Jordan Starkey.
|G. Cordy||451||37.58||G. Cordy||46||10.39|
|H. McGinness||264||18.86||J. Richardson||33||8.18|
|W. DeSalis||185||37.00||J. Starkey||28||11.61|
|W. McCullough||184||12.27||G. Rance||22||8.14|
|G. Rance||172||19.11||W. McCullough||17||13.29|
Jordan Starkey was a founding member of the Canberra University College hockey team and in 1941 enjoyed the honour of being the first recipient of a Sports Colour or ‘Blue’ for hockey.
The successes of the 1938-39 season entitled the new Club executive for the new season (Norm Lynravn, President, George Cordy, Secretary and Neville Kruger, Treasurer) to believe the Club deserved elevated representation in B Grade but such was not to be. In the Sub-District competition of eleven matches University won 3 outright, 4 on first innings, lost 2 on first innings and lost 2 outright, to finish third in the table of nine teams. George Cordy continued his all-round dominance scoring 269 runs and taking a remarkable 67 wickets from a mere 144 eight-ball overs.
The District competition was suspended from 1940-41 to 1944-45 due to war conditions. Nevertheless the A.C.T. Cricket Association provided cricket in two grade competitions and an Inter-Services competition in support of government policy to provide recreational activities for members of the services and those in reserve occupations.
University began their participation in Second Grade with a win against Grammar just failing by 23 runs to win outright as time expired. The following match University nominated a second side replacing the bye of the first round. The second side, however, suffered a crushing outright defeat at the hands of Barton.
By the end of the season University I finished 5th while University II finished 11th in a field of twelve.
For this season University only had the one side participating in the Second Grade competition and proved themselves the better of most teams in the competition.
Against RMC IV, George Rance amassed 142 while Reg Lucehinelli took 3/25 and 3/18 and Bruce Brown took 4/8 in the second innings.
The situation was different though against O.T.W. (Officers Training Wing) Duntroon when the University bowlers were persecuted for 213 minutes during which time the batsmen amassed 308 runs.
The following match University defeated Grammar by an innings and 31 runs within one day. Jack Garrett with 9/23 in the match was the catalyst to an opposition brace of batting collapses of 12 and 64.
Frank Pryor carried his bat with a stunning innings of 179 not out in University’s score of 268 against Ainslie.
Some records suggest that competition cricket was not played during this season though some doubt surrounds their accuracy. No cricket reports appeared in The Canberra Times.
Competition cricket was played in Divisions A and B with University and seven other sides comprising Division B.
University defeated Northbourne in the opening round due in no small measure to Bob Whitelaw’s all-round performance of four wickets and 22 runs (retired). An even better bowling effort by him of 6/11 ensured a first innings defeat of RMC 2.
Against what was reported in The Canberra Times as the premiers of the previous season, Manuka, George Cardy’s “unique off-turn” secured match winning figures of 7/27.
By the end of the season University finished fifth after succumbing to Grammar in the final match which result might have been all the more galling but for Jack Garrett’s 5/41.
Fourteen teams contested the competition in one division that was then later converted to two divisions. One of the most dominant pre-Christmas bowling performances by an individual in the history of Canberra cricket was turned in by Neville Lee.
In the first match against Barton, University’s opening bowler Lee took 7/29 in the first innings and then 7/22 in the second. Richard Brill’s inviting leg-spinners accounted for the other three second innings wickets.
Lee then took 6/79 against Manuka and but for a rush of blood to the head would have scored a century in University’s second innings of 220 almost all scored after the tea adjournment. As it was he had to be content with 97.
In the third match against Duntroon Staff he took 6/14 and 3/47 though his efforts were not quite good enough to achieve outright victory.
By Christmas Lee had amassed 48 wickets from a mere five matches and was assured of representative honours which came in the Carnall’s XI v Grangell’s XI match comprised of the district’s best cricketers which included former Test cricketer, Jack Fingleton.
Joining Lee in the same side as Fingleton were University’s Bob Whitelaw and Frank Pryor who stubbornly opened the batting together. Lee took the bowling honours of the match with 4/20.
Lee found wickets were harder to come by after Christmas with off-spinner George Cardy 5/95 and leg-spinner Richard Brill 4/58 taking the honours in one match against eventual premiers Northbourne.
By season’s close University occupied fourth position in the points table.