St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

100 Seasons Ago St George's Park - 100 Seasons Ago
The week ending April 28, 1903

Added 22 / 4 / 2003

To the Editor of the Cape Daily Telegraph.

Sir - The Currie Cup tournament has ended, and no one will dispute that the trophy was won by the best team competing. The tournament will be regarded in future as historical, inasmuch as it promises to be the last of its kind played in South Africa.

In future new rules are to govern the competition, the knock-out system is to be resorted to. I agree with the remark made by Mr Frank Mitchell that the abandonment of the present conditions is a mistake, inasmuch as it will prevent various South African teams meeting together and getting to know each other as they have done heretofore.

That, however, is not the purport of this letter. It seems to me that the conditions which have hitherto governed the competition for the cup, as well as those about to be applied, constitute a serious injustice to Cape cricket.

The Cape does not compete for the cup as a united Colony. Its strength is seriously minimised by the fact that - for the purposes of this particular competition - it is called upon to place four teams in the field.

The other Colonies are not so divided. The Transvaal, Natal, the Orange River Colony and Rhodesia each count as an entire unit. When the cup was presented to South Africa, the Transvaal was not the great mining centre which it has since become, while Griqualand West was the greatest of all sporting centres.

The conditions have changed since then, and it seems to me only fair to demand that if each of the other Colonies can play as a unit, the Cape should be allowed to do the same.

It is immaterial to this argument whether or not a combined Cape team could have beaten the powerful Transvaal eleven. The fact remains that the strength of the Cape had to be split up, as of no other Colony had to be.

It must be admitted that the Colony is unjustly treated. In Australia all the Colonies compete for the championship on equal terms. Why should not South African Colonies do the same?

The effect of altering the conditions of the Currie Cup tournaments to admit of this would, in my opinion, conduce to promoting the game in this country. It would become necessary then for the governing bodies of each Colony - and particularly at the Cape - to exploit the cricketing centres more thoroughly, and to arrange trial tournaments of their own with a view to selecting the best men to play for the championship.

At all events, if there is any justification at all for splitting up the strength of the Cape there should be equal justification for splitting up the strength of the Transvaal.

I am, etc.,

Whilst the tournament was in progress we ventured to suggest that the Border had in Snooke one of the best all-round cricketers in South Africa.

The statement was laughed at in certain ill-informed quarters, but this is what the special correspondent of the Johannesburg Leader wrote thereon:

Snooke bats distinctly a tournament batsman, quite a useful change bowler, and a good enough field on the carpet, but against this he has been sadly at fault in catching.

If he can remedy this latter fault he will be well in the running for a place in Mr Abe Baileys team to England next year.

He is young and keen, and therefore likely to improve, particularly as he is now located at Cape Town where, of course, he will have plenty of opportunity to develop his game amongst good players and with good coaches to help him.

The return match, Grocers vs Town Travellers, was played on the Algoa ground, North End Park, on Wednesday. The travellers having strengthened their team, quite expected they would be able to reverse the results of the previous match, but fate - or as they put it, the weather - was against them.

The day was not an ideal one for cricket, heavy rain having fallen during the previous night the pitch was sodden and dead, and was altogether in favour of the bowlers.

Mr Harvey, the captain of the Grocers, having beaten Mr Webb on the fall of the coin, decided to put his men in first, and considering the state of the pitch and the excellence of the Travellers bowling, they knocked up the very respectable total of 52.

Chief scorers were Baker for 13, J Houghton 10, Marran 8, Harvey7. Ascham took four wickets for 26 runs, JM Smith three for 25. The Travellers replied with 47, the chief scorers being Brown 11, SH Smith 8, Ascham 7.

Brann took four wickets for five runs, Marran three for 18, and J Houghton two for 19. In the second attempt Marran made 13 not out, Brann seven not out. Another match has been arranged for next Wednesday.

It is not wise to discuss an event before it is concluded, as the following extract from a Cape Town paper will show. Speaking of the progress of the cricket tournament before the final match was commenced, it remarked:

The Port Elizabeth tournament has so far served only to show the overwhelming strength of the Transvaal team, who have fairly run rings round their opponents; at the same time it would be folly to argue too much from this, for judging from the scores the weakness of all the other competitors seems manifest.

Neither Border, Eastern Province, nor Griqualand have done anything at all startling, and their weakness in batting has been very marked.

Before these lines appear we shall know the final destination of the Cup, but at the time of writing Provinces chances are considered about even by those who have seen the Transvaal play, so there is still lots of hope to go on with.

Yesterday afternoon a cricket match was played on the Port Elizabeth ground between the Licensed Victuallers and Commercial Travellers.

The latter went to the wickets and, thanks to Messrs. Rishworth, Diver, Schivington, Altenborough and McCracken, scored 127 runs ere they were disposed of.

The worthy bonifaces were not equal to this, and only made 59, of which number Mr Extras was top scorer (17), and Mr Green (14) came next.
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