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Detailed History of the St Albans Cricket Club

The 1980s
[ St Albans Centennial Book (1905-2005) ]
The mid to late 1970s < Index > The 1990s

The 75th anniversary celebrations, held in early April 1980, included a Past versus Present and other cricket matches at Hagley Oval, a banquet and ball at the Winter Garden, another evening function at the Hagley Sports Centre and a golf match at Harewood.

After seven years as club captain, Alan Jamieson stepped up to begin a term of president which was to extend for the next quarter-century, leading up to the club's centenary. The heavy off-field workload did not affect his on-field performances in the lower grades. In 2001/02 Jamieson won the Tom Burtt Memorial Trophy for most wickets in any grade; he had previously held that piece of silverware in 1970/71.

The early 1980s were marked by consistently high performances throughout the grades, as St Albans won the Petersen Shield as the top all-round club in Canterbury for 1980/81, 1981/82 and 1982/83. There were to be three more successes before the decade was over and four more in the 1990s.

Individual feats were notable in 1982/83. Ann McKenna (88 not out) and Vicki Burtt (148 not out) established a new women's record partnership of 242 unbroken, Paul Rutledge claimed 10 wicket-keeping dismissals in a match and President's grade batsman John Coffey scored unbeaten centuries on three consecutive Saturdays.

Some major rebuilding took place at the clubrooms in late 1984. The existing changing area was extended, the upstairs lounge was lengthened and a separate changing room and entranceway added downstairs with extra showers and toilets. A building bought for 175 pounds in 1956 was now valued for insurance purposes as having a replacement worth of $346,000.

On the field, Rutledge demolished the old Canterbury club wicket-keeping record, Geoff Smith surpassed Frank O'Brien's senior men's record for most catches and Ann McKenna toured India with the New Zealand women's team.

The focus centred on the men's and women's first grade sides as the eighties advanced. The women sparked the sequence of successes with competition wins in 1983/84 and for three seasons from 1985/86. The men not only fell into step in 1986/87 - their first triumph for 22 years - but went on to equal the Canterbury record of four consecutive two-day championship victories. For good measure, they added the one-day title in 1987/88.

McKenna and Burtt provided the experience and bundles of runs, and Kirsty Bond (later Flavell), Catherine Campbell, Sarah Illingworth and Brigit Legg were others to make strong contributions to the women's dominance.

All-rounder Neil Francis was the astute captain of a men's team which included players of the calibre of Mark Priest, Andrew Nuttall, Roger Ford, Lyn Sparks, Max Bremner, Ben Harris, Geoff Smith and Paul Rutledge.

But it was 18-year-old medium-pacer Brett Harrison who raised eyebrows with a club record bowling analysis of nine wickets for 12 runs from 49 deliveries against Marist.

The 1987/88 summer was something of a Harris benefit. With the senior generation of club stalwarts John and Zin nodding approvingly, Ben Harris accumulated a club record 1040 runs (plus 21 catches), young Chris Harris commenced his senior career with an unbeaten half-century, and Tim Harris also featured in the championship-winning first grade team.

Even though the men kept on their winning ways in 1988/89, with second grade winning as well, and Mark Priest (Young New Zealand) and Chris Harris (New Zealand under-20 and under-19) gaining national honours, pride of place went to the inclusion of four St Albans players - Brigit Legg, Kirsty Bond, Sarah Illingworth, and mid-tour replacement Catherine Campbell - in the New Zealand women's World Cup tournament team in Australia.

The decade ended on a high with Priest being promoted into the full New Zealand team. He could hardly have been left out after capturing nine wickets for 95 runs (12-162 in the match) for Canterbury against Otago. Legg and Campbell, later joined by Bond for the one-dayers, extended their White Ferns careers against Australia.


The mid to late 1970s < Index > The 1990s

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