St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Cricket Museum St George's Park - Collection may be lost due to shortage of space
Collection may be lost due to shortage of space
Ivor Markman

UNLESS a safer and more accessible spot can be found for the cricketing memorabilia presently displayed at St George‘s Park, 90 per cent of the items may be lost to the Western Province Cricket Association at Newlands.

So said Simon Bezuidenhout, former EP cricket player and owner of the memorabilia, which is at present in the Khaya Majola Room at the cricket ground.

“The public are not supposed to have access where it is at the moment. It is inside the Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board building, but there is little security to stop people walking in. I‘m looking for an area where the public will have access with proper security,” said Bezuidenhout.

“I‘m not happy where it is at the moment. Anybody can walk in and take some of my stuff and disappear. I don‘t even think the EPACB have got it insured,” he said. “I live in Cape Town now and I‘ve got access to the Western Province facilities. They‘ve got some lovely stuff in their museum and I mentioned the memorabilia I‘ve got here. They said ‘we‘d love to have it here‘,” he said.

“But I have an arrangement with Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board CEO Dave Emslie. He has been most co-operative. He has provided me with this facility and I‘m sure he‘d love to have another venue, but he‘s a busy man, he probably hasn‘t had time to do anything about it.

“The Eastern Province Amateur Cricket Board have been very nice in allowing me to display the stuff,” he said.

Emslie said: “I find his decision to want to remove his stuff very surprising. We‘ve had it for five years, we‘ve never had any breakages or any loss of equipment.

“We have been talking about a museum, but one‘s got priorities in terms of what you spend. Until you‘ve got enough money to do it properly we are not going to embark on it.”

Bezuidenhout started his collection about 25 years ago and it has grown to the point where he has on display more than 30 cricket bats of various types, including a replica of an 18th century bat manufactured by Gray Nicolls.

Other items in his collection include many team photographs, batting and wicket-keeper gloves, balls, wickets, bails, caps, blazers and others, but the lack of space prohibits them from being displayed.

Bezuidenhout large collection of cricket bats includes branded ones with names such as Dudley Norse, Wally Hammond, Johnny Waite, Eric Rowan, Peter May, Ali Bacher, Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock, Richie Benaud, and Roy McLean.

The Herald
November 29, 2006.

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