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Detailed History of the St Albans Cricket Club

The 1920s
[ St Albans Centennial Book (1905-2005) ]
The World War I years < Index > The 1930s

The 1920s were notable for prolific scoring, prompting images of glorious summer afternoons at Hagley Oval. Frank Woods led the way with three double centuries in the 1923/24 season, surely one of the greatest feats in Canterbury club cricket.

Woods hammered a club record 234 against Riccarton, 223 against West Christchurch, and 222 not out against East Christchurch, finishing the season with 1006 runs at an average of 77.38. He was also club secretary.

The club scene was gradually changing. Residential qualifications were lifted, and the High School Old Boys and Christ's College clubs were formed. It was feared the formation of old boys clubs would weaken those already in existence and members were reminded of their loyalty to St Albans. In 1925 a conference was held to discuss a possible amalgamation between St Albans and High School Old Boys.

At a smoke concert after the 1926/27 season a gold medal was presented to the most improved player, a young fellow named Frank O'Brien. That launched a career which extended to a record 237 appearances. By the time he stopped in 1954 O'Brien was to play more innings, score more runs, more centuries and half-centuries, and hold more catches than any other St Albans player.

That summer Neil Dorreen (226 not out) and Harry North (65 not out) shared an unfinished third wicket partnership of 311 runs against West Christchurch. With Woods (105) and Cyril Crawford, who had toured Australia with the New Zealand team the previous season, having opened the innings with a 134-run stand, St Albans had the luxury of declaring at 505 for four.

Within two years of New Zealand being accorded full international status M L (Curly) Page became St Albans' first Test cricketer. An All Black in 1928, Page had transferred from High School Old Boys for the 1930/31 season. He toured England during the next southern winter and captained New Zealand in a home series against South Africa.


The World War I years < Index > The 1930s

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