BOP cricket domination

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

Mount Maunganui premier cricket team will have a big target on their back when the new Baywide Cricket season kicks off on Saturday, October 16.

The team, based at Blake Park on the Mount Maunganui isthmus, has dominated proceedings in Baywide cricket in the last two decades winning the Hart Family Trophy on nine occasions.

Otumoetai Cadets (4) are the only other name engraved on the Bay of Plenty Cricket Champions of Champions prize, first presented in 2008.

Seven Williams Cups, seven from 14 Bay of Plenty Cups and four straight Baywide T20 titles, testify to the impact the side that wears their green and gold uniform with extreme pride, have had on Baywide cricket.

The current Mount Maunganui Cricket Club celebrated a half-century with plenty of celebration and fanfare in 2017.

However, cricket has been played at the Mount for more than a century.

A recent visit to Papers Past, revealed a Bay of Plenty Times cricket report dated October  21,1912.

"Saturday afternoon saw the first cricket match of the season played, when a team from the Tauranga Cricket Club met their old adversaries, the Mount Maunganui cricketers and after a well contested game the home team (Tauranga) proved victorious."

Another short and sharp cricket report appeared in the Bay Times in February 1923.

"A cricket match was played on Saturday between eleven's representing Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. Tauranga won on first innings by 115 runs to 68. Kershaw and Goulding batted well for Tauranga while Chitty made the top score for the Mount. Baker was prominent in the bowling for Tauranga and Kenny for Mount Maunganui."

World War 1 and 2 had a dramatic effect on sport, with many sports clubs going into recess.

The Bay of Plenty Times told of the attempt to restart cricket on the Mount Maunganui peninsula at the end of hostilities in World War 2.

A meeting was held at the Returned Services Hall in October 1948, to consider the possibility of forming a cricket club at Mount Maunganui.

"The meeting resolved that a club should be formed and that application should be made to the Tauranga Cricket Association, for the team to be entered in the weekly competitions organised by the association. It was also decided that the secretary should apply to. The Mount Maunganui Domain Board for permission to use Coronation Park and the club to lay a suitable pitch there."

Well known Mount Maunganui sportsman Jack Sycamore was elected president, with other long-time Mount identities Jack McClymont and Tom Magee serving on the committee.

Social cricket was alive and well in Mount Maunganui in the 1940's, as indicated by a Bay of Plenty Times article dated December 13, 1949.

"In a cricket match played during the weekend, Mount Maunganui Volunteer Fire Brigade defeated the Mount Maunganui Cosmopolitan Club in the first innings by 69 runs to 55.

"Lennox top-scored for Cosmopolitan Club with 31 runs with no other batsman reaching double figures. A feature of the second innings was George Barney's knock of 50 before he retired. He also took five of the Cosmopolitans wickets for seven runs."

Cricket was played at Coronation Park at the entrance to the Mount Maunganui CBD for several years, before finding a permanent home at Blake Park.

The Bond & Co Mount Maunganui premier elevens first assignment, will be to defend their Baywide T20 title that kicks of the 2021/22 Baywide cricket season, with the Bay of Plenty Cup and Williams Cup also in their sights.


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