St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

100 Seasons Ago St George's Park - 100 Seasons Ago
The week ending May 23, 1903

Added 23 / 5 / 2003

The cricket world will have received the news of the tragic death of Arthur Shrewsbury with feelings of the profoundest regret. Shrewsbury was one of the greatest giants that the game has produced.

Indeed, he had only one superior, and that was his senior, WG Grace, who never seems to wear out.

Grace and Shrewsbury occupied a class by themselves. They outstayed all their contemporaries.

Grace was born in 1848 and Shrewsbury in 1856, and each began first-class cricket at an early age. Abel, the Surrey marvel, was born in 1859, but he did not commence at as early an age as either the above.

Shrewsbury was essentially a scientific batsman, and when at his best the hardest man in the world to dismiss. He did yeoman’s service for Notts, and he helped England to beat Australia in many an historic encounter.

For several years past his health has been poor, and this no doubt played on his mind. Few, however, could have dreamt of the possibility of taking his own life. His death is the greatest shock the cricket world has sustained since the death of Johnny Briggs.

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Chief interest in football circles centred in the meeting of the Crusaders and Swifts, on the former’s ground. A large number of people turned out to witness the game, which resulted in a bad defeat for the Uitenhagers, who made a sorry exhibition.

In justice to them it should be stated that they put a weak team into the field, and missed such a formidable quintette as Rodgers, Burke, Ryan, Botha, and Gubb, who have done such yeoman service for the club.

Several of these will play in the Cup matches later on, as well as Gould. Moreover, the Crusaders were stronger by the inclusion of Heddons, a man with some practical knowledge of the game, Hudson, and Olver.

Still opinion favoured the swifts to maintain their last season’s record, although when the teams lined out and the composition judged the Crusaders came into favour, especially so with their own supporters, despite the poor exhibition last week.

The visitors were set to face both wind (of which there was a deal going) and sun, and after some opening exchanges the local team worked their way inside their opponent’s 25, when it looked as if they were certain scorers, until the Swift’s custodian sent the ball dead.

The dropout did not ease matters much, as Olver found touch inside the Swift’s 25, and twice the visitors were penalised for offside play, the oval again going behind dead.

By way of a change the Swifts did a bit of attacking, and reached the home 25, but they were promptly repulsed, and had to defend close home. Having cleared their line they returned to the attack, but the danger was momentary, Olver dispatching the leather up the field.

The Swifts got a bit loose, which enabled the local team to break away with some good footwork to neutral ground, and forcing their opponents on their goal line the custodian had to kick dead to save, the movement having to be repeated a little later.

Just before half-time the Crusaders found an opening, and Walton registered the first try amidst loud cheering, Hudson evoking further cheers when he majorised.

It was with every possibility of victory that the Crusaders re-started the game after lemons, and wretched fumbling by the visiting backs let them through to the 25 line, and after a sharp rally the Swifts were again forced backwards, close home, when Hughes was successful in clearing.

A free kick for off-side play was given almost under the posts, but it was a poor shot. Hunt later on was conspicuous for some very useful work, he running through the first two lines.

Walton received, but spoilt an opening by passing forward when grassed. However, Grey got possession and added the second try, which Hudson failed to convert. A few seconds later Hunt got away with the ball, but being checked passed, and the receiver was promptly held as he crossed the line, a “five yards” scrum ensuing.

The venue of play was again changed, a welcome relief to the Swifts, but they failed to seize an opportunity to score. Towards the close of the half, Heddons scored a fine drop goal for the home team, who retired victors by 12 points to nil.

Mr Harry Kemsley was the referee.
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