The 50th jubilee year and late 1950s
[ St Albans Centennial Book (1905-2005) ]
The club's 50th anniversary was celebrated in style when the first grade side won the 1954/55 championship. Harris became Canterbury captain, leading club-mates Burtt, Poore, and Coull in red-and-black. Poore played for New Zealand against England, and he was joined by Harris on the pioneering tour to India and Pakistan of 1955/56. Burtt retired from first-class cricket, receiving a tumultuous reception at Lancaster Park when going out to bat against the MCC.
The jubilee was celebrated in March 1955, and a special Monday afternoon match was played between teams captained by Bob Webb and Trevor Tucker. A dinner was held at the United Service Hotel in Cathedral Square, with wives and girlfriends invited to a film evening and supper at Wilding Park a month later. Such were the customs of the day.
Just when plans were about to be prepared for the new pavilion it was learned the defunct Addington Tennis Club wanted to dispose of its building in Poulsen Street. The St Albans tender of 175 pounds was successful, and a contractor agreed to move it to Hagley Oval for 530 pounds. More raffle tickets were distributed to cover the costs.
A contemporary report in The Press described our headquarters as one of the few structures to be built from the top down. In its original form it was too tall to be transported under overhead wires, so the top floor was taken to Hagley first and supported on piles. The lower floor was then placed under it, much as one might shut a drawer.
After years of overcrowding in company with West Christchurch, the players enjoyed the luxury of a fine social area, spacious changing facilities, and a magnificent view overlooking the oval. The balcony was added in the spring of 1965 and extensive renovations were made to the ground and top floors a decade later.
St Albans' third Test player of the 1950s was all-rounder (batsman, bowler and wicket-keeper) Sam Guillen, who had settled here after touring with the West Indies in 1952 and first played with West Christchurch. Guillen was to share in New Zealand's first-ever Test triumph - ironically, against his homeland - at Eden Park in 1956. Team-mate Noel McGregor, then from Otago, later joined St Albans after moving north.