St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Tournaments St George's Park - Return catch for EP Amateur Cricket Board as club hands over prize bat, ball
Return catch for EP Amateur Cricket Board as club hands over prize bat, ball
Ivor Markman

THE Port Elizabeth Cricket Club has returned the 1876 Champion Bat and the 1889 first Test cricket ball to the Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board.

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Port Elizabeth Cricket Club president Terry Reid returned the controversial 1887 Champion Bat and the 1889 first Test cricket ball to the Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board president, Raymond Uren, on Tuesday morning at St George's Park.

Yesterday’s move is seen as the first step in bringing the controversy surrounding the historic items to an end.

Although metro mayor Nceba Faku still has to rule on the curatorship of the bat, the PECC went ahead and returned the items to the cricket board at St George’s Park.

Under pressure from historians and cricket administrators, PECC president Terry Reid handed over the bat and ball to board president Raymond Uren.

Reid said “the club had never anticipated the problems and controversy that accompanied the intended fund-raising venture.

“We came up with the idea of selling the bat and ball in order to raise funds which would give some of our members an opportunity to play cricket overseas,” he said.

Reid conceded that the PECC committee had been “totally unaware of the technical and legal ramifications regarding the export of our heritage items and did not foresee that the plans would result in a public outcry”.

Uren said the board was happy that the PECC had done the “morally correct” thing.

EPACB would be approaching an independent cricket historian to assist with research into the ownership of the ball.

When asked what he intended doing about the rest of the cricket items in the showcase at their premises that former Eastern Province Cricket Board president, Flip Potgieter, claims belong to the EPACB, Reid replied: “Nothing.”

Jenny Benny, Bayworld historian, said: “I cannot understand how two items from a collection can be separated from the rest.

“Surely the whole collection belongs to the EPACB?

“The ownership of the items must be established.

Port Elizabeth Historical Society chairman Bill Wright said: “From the PEHS point of view, we would like to see all these historical artifacts properly catalogued and registered.

“Our biggest concern is that these items must stay in the country and be lodged in a recognised museum and not spirited out of the country.”

The Herald
February 2, 2005.

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