St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Tournaments St George's Park - Faku called up as third umpire in historic cricket bat controversy
Faku called up as third umpire in historic cricket bat controversy
Ivor Markman

THE fate of the historic 1876 Champion cricket bat lies in the hands of metro Mayor Nceba Faku, a historic official document uncovered by The Herald this week has revealed.

The document, entitled “Regulations governing the possession of the Champion Bat” was found in the Main Library in Port Elizabeth.

A sentence in it reads: “All questions having reference to the holding or competing for the prize shall be decided by the Mayor of Port Elizabeth . . .” The regulations were passed at a meeting of the Port Elizabeth Town Council on October 18, 1876, and were signed by the town clerk, W P Pinn.

The bat, a trophy made for South Africa’s first inter-town cricket tournament, is one of two items that the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club wants to sell to the Marylebone Cricket Club in London. The other is the ball used in the first SA-England Test in 1889.

The PECC is trying to raise funds for club coffers, but the sale has caused a furore among South African cricket administrators and fans.

Earlier this week, under enormous pressure, the PECC conditionally offered to hand over the bat to the Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board, but this compromise has been rejected and United Cricket Board President Gerald Majola has demanded that both items be handed over to it.

Attempts to contact the mayor to inform him of the enormous power he wields have so far been unsuccessful. As political head of the metro, Faku has inherited the mantle of leadership in Port Elizabeth.

Last week sport and recreation committee chairman Charmaine Williams said the metro council believed both items should stay in the city EPACB president Raymond Uren said: “We believe a lot of research has to be done on all the memorabilia to establish ownership and to enhance the cricket heritage of South Africa.

“We need to research our history for all cricket organisations and to collect all the memorabilia, keep it in one place and establish a cricket museum at St George’s Park for the benefit of cricket loving fans,” he said.

Majola, speaking from Dubai last night, said that he would contact Faku later on his return home today.

The Herald
January 28, 2005

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