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In the Media


Beyond the Bay Oval Lights - first International played in BOP -1921

The last decade has brought the best teams in the world to the Bay Oval, where the super stars of the game have thrilled the large crowds in head to head T20, ODI and test cricket combat.

We now take for granted the annual visits of the stars of the game to the Bay of Plenty region. However few would know, that the first international cricket visitors made their entrance in the Bay of Plenty nearly a century ago.

On the 6th April 1921, the touring Australian cricket team ended its visit to the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' with what was then called a one day single innings match against a Rotorua representative side.

Historical records tell us that cricket had been played in Rotorua from 1875. In 1918 a Rotorua Cricket Association was formed, with the game against the 1921 Australian side becoming the start of international cricket in the Bay.

The Australian tour of the colony was undertaken by a virtual an Australian second eleven, as the 1921 ashes series with England was in progress at the same time. The only player with test experience was VS Ranford who had played 20 tests before WW1.

The two month tour kicked off against Wellington at the Basin Reserve and included eleven provincial games, a match against New Zealand Minor Associations and the main attraction of two tests against New Zealand.

In addition to the Wellington tour opener, the provincial matches included games against Manawatu, Auckland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wanganui, Canterbury, Southland, Otago and Ashburton County before the tour signed off in Rotorua.

The Rotorua match was played at the then hub of sport in Rotorua at the Government Gardens. The initial international match, preceded two further encounters at the central Rotorua venue by the MCC in 1936 and Sir John Cahn's XI during March 1939

Along with several of the other provincial matches, the game was played under unusual handicap conditions, with Rotorua batting 15 players and the Australian side restricted to the standard 11 players.

The match consisted of eight ball overs. Rotorua batted with their fifteen players bowled out for 250. As was the custom of the day the home team were referred to in the scorebook by surname only. Batting at eight, Cook top scored with an outstanding 90 runs with Warner 37 and Godsalve 27 also producing scores of note.

EEB Forssberg top scored for the visitors with 74 runs, as they went on past the winning total, to post 314 all out. Both VY Richardson and J Bogle went pass the half-century mark with AF Kippax falling one short of posting fifty runs. The best of the home teams bowlers was Wallis who took four wickets at a cost of 112 runs.

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