Friday, 23 March 2012

Cricket in Windsor

I discovered the following article in Trove - http://trove.nla.gov.au - and thought that the cricket loving members of the family may be interested in how cricket was played in Windsor in the early days of the settlement. A number of families connected to our family lived in the Windsor area of New South Wales.
" THE GOOD OLD DAYS."
[For the GAZETTE, by YELDAP] .

CRICKET REMINISCENCES.

THE good old British game, cricket, is perhaps tbe most innocent sport we have. It is a national sport-the game is played in almost every clime, and it is the most popular of all pastimes. The officers attached to the troops quartered here in the "good old days," were the pioneers of cricket in sunny New South Wales, and it is safe to say that the first game ever witnessed in the colony was played in the Valley of the Hawkesbury. More than one hundred years have gone by since the founding of the settlement, and in that space the game of cricket has increased in public favour more than any other recreative sport. Over half a century ago cricket was played for all it was worth in Windsor, and it was no uncommon thing to see large crowds assemble to witness a match on the Church Green - now McQuade Park- directly opposite the door of old St. Matthews. The spirit of rivalry was then rampant, and so was the spirit of gambling, for it was rarely that a match was played unless a large sum of money sometimes as much as £200-depended upon the issue.

The name of the late George Guest will be familiar to many who took an interest in cricket in the "forties." He was regarded as a good batsman and a very fair bowler. The brothers Thomas and William Onus (both now deaceased) were also prominent figures in the cricket field in those days. They were both very tall men and excellent all-round cricketers. Tom Douglas, (who is at present employed by the the Richmond Corporation), as a boy often played with the old hands; and in later years he developed into one of the best cricketers the Hawkesbury has produced. He was a good bat and as a bowler he had no equal, whilst the late George Freeman (father of the present George) was one of the best cricketers of his day. Joe Kipling was the premier cricketer of Pitt Town, from whence also came good players in long Joe Stubbs, Hobbs, and Wilbow, whose descendants are to-day ardent cricketers. Coming down to a later period, the name of Hopkins is well remembered in connection with cricket, and the prowess of the brothers Ike and Billy, are still green in the memory of old residents. The present George Freeman was a leading light among kings of cricket in those days, and was frequently matched against individual players from other localities. He was once backed by Charlie Eather to play a man named Rutter for £50 aside, and before the match started up wards of £200 had been wagered. Freeman defeated his adversary easily, and later on defeated a man from Penrith named Lowrie. His brother, William Freeman, (now living at Gundagai), was also one of the best cricketers of those days. William Gosper and Thomas Primrose were two old rivals in the cricket-field, and they have been known to play matches for a few pounds aside, without scouts, and knock up over 50 runs apiece. Henry Moses (now a member of the Legislative Council) was also a cricketing enthusiast, and was regarded as a good defensive batsman. He and George Freeman were once matched to play for £25 aside, the former to have four innings to the latter's two, the match being won by Freeman. Mr. W. F. Linsley, (saddler. George-street), was a noted hitter in his cricketing days, and a good bowler. Benjamin Barnett (whose son, George, is developing into a fine batsman), and William McQuade were also amongst the prominent players of the early days, the latter being a splendid under-hand bowler, most difficult to play.

It may be remarked, en passant, that over or round-arm bowling was never thought of then. In a match played on the Church-green the onlookers witnessed what was to them the novel sight of one of the officers bowling round the wicket. Now things have changed, and the player who ventures to bowl what are derisively termed "grubbers" comes in for a good deal of chaff. The late George Bushell was also a good batsman, and a most effective bowler; whilst about the best players around Wilberforce were Dave, Alf, and Paul Bushell and Dave Cobcroft. Phil and Tom Maguire were also amongst the best cricketers of this time, the former being a good bowler and a reliable bat. He still plays, and his sons are all good cricketers. Tom Maguire was a very fast bowler, and a powerful hitter. William Hull, who still follows the game, was formerly regarded as a very sure bat, and frequently made good scores. An Aboriginal called Dark Phil, from Pitt Town, was also a good cricketer, whilst the name of Tuckerman has always been associated with the ' manly game' in this district.

The matches played in early days were chiefly among local teams, such as Windsor, Richmond, Pitt Town and Wilberforce, On one occasion a team called the "Australians" was brought to Windsor by the late Richard Driver, and they defeated the local men. Such exponents of the game as Jim Flood, Harry and Bob Murray, and Bob Vaughan were amongst the members of the visiting team. Now and again a match was played against Parramatta, the local men nearly always coming out on top. A memorable match was once played between Windsor and Richmond combined, and the County of Cumberland, at Parramatta. In that match the home team were all disposed of for 18 runs in their first innings, George Freeman performing the wonderful feat of securing six wickets in seven balls. Feuds were of frequent occurrence when the local teams met, particularly when Windsor and Wilberforce came together, and the game was often finished up with a general melee.

Windsor and Richmond Gazette Saturday 16 September 1893 page 6

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