St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Tournaments St George's Park - Press Release from NMMM
Press Release from NMMM
THE CHAMPION BAT SHOULD BE RETURNED THE NELSON MANDELA METRO

It is important that the valuable Champion Cricket bat, as well as the ball used in the first cricket Test between South Africa and England at St George's Park remain in Port Elizabeth to be preserved as part of the city's sport history, says Sport, Recreation and Culture councillor, Charmaine Williams.

Responding to the "Battle of the Bat" controversy surrounding the proposed sale of the bat and ball to the Marylebone Cricket club (MCC) by the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club (PECC), Clr Williams said it would be  "very shortsighted" by the PECC, especially if it was done for financial gain.

"These items are our own heritage. It must be borne in mind that Port Elizabeth hosted the first cricket and rugby Tests matches ever played in South Africa," she said.

"These items should be preserved in a museum as part of our sport history and as the bat was donated in 1876 by the then Mayor of Port Elizabeth, Henry Pearson (on behalf of the Municipality of Port Elizabeth) as trophy for the first inter-town competition in South Africa., it should be displayed in a museum for generations to come.

"There will be 12 memorabilia boxes in the Red Location museum, and there is nothing reventing us from donating one to sport , and the bat and ball can be made available to the museum," Ms Williams said.

She said the focus of the Red Location museum would be on the liberation struggle, but as sport formed an integral part of this struggle, it would be correct to preserve the two items there as part of the country's past sporting history.

"It is most important that the bat and ball be kept in Port Elizabeth, if the PECC is wanting to sell it because they are cash-strapped it will show that they have no regard for the historical value of these items.

"The correct route for them is to pull out of the deal," she added.

January 25, 2005.

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