For a small country with a small cricketing population New Zealand has been most fortunate in the number of tours in which it has engaged and, particularly, in the number and quality of the teams which have toured the Dominion. The arrangement of such tours reflects much credit on the administration, for nearly always grave financial risks have had to be taken.
The following table shows the extent of New Zealand tours by overseas teams and indicates, in the last few years, the quality of the great cricketers and teams who have played on New Zealand grounds.
For convenience the visiting teams are shown under decades.
|1860–69 (1)||Parr's All-England Eleven|
|1870–79 (2)||Lillywhite's All-England Eleven, Australia|
|1880–89 (5)||Australia (2), England (2), New South Wales|
|1890–99 (5)||New South Wales (2), Fiji, Australia, Queensland|
|1900–09 (4)||English Eleven, Australia (2), M.C.C.|
|1920–29 (6)||Australia (2), Victoria, New South Wales, M.C.C. (2)|
|1930–39 (5)||South Africa, M.C.C., (3), Sir Julien Cahn's Eleven|
|1940–49 (4)||Australia (3), M.C.C., Fiji|
|1950–59 (9)||M.C.C. (3), West Indies (2), South Africa, Australia (2), Fiji|
|1960– (4)||M.C.C. (2), Australia, Commonwealth team.|
Canterbury Province on Tour
New Zealand tours overseas have been far less frequent than those from visiting teams to this country, but the list is still of considerable length. It begins, rather strangely, with a provincial team going to Australia. Canterbury, flushed by its success against the Australians in 1878, sent a team to Victoria in 1878–79. It played six games against strong clubs, winning three and losing three. Unfortunately, public interest in the tour was not all that was expected, so that the Canterbury players were stranded in Australia and came home only when funds had been sent to them from Christchurch.
New Zealand's overseas tours have been:
|1927||England and Australia|
|1937||England and Australia|
|1953–54||South Africa and Australia|
|1955–56||Pakistan and India|
|1965||India, Pakistan, and England|
Although New Zealand has engaged in international competition since 1896 it was not given official test status until the 1929–30 season, when four matches against a team sent by the M.C.C. were regarded as full-scale test matches.
In official tests New Zealand has had only three victories in 60 matches. The full record (to 1963) is:
In 1963–64 a South African team toured New Zealand and played three tests, all drawn. In 1965 a Pakistan team toured New Zealand. All three tests were drawn.
In matches other than tests, and in matches against counties and provinces, New Zealand's record is far better. A full list of New Zealand matches, other than tests, is as follows:
|New South Wales||8||1||..||7|
|Gentlemen of England||1||..||1||..|
|West of England||1||..||1||..|
|Sir Julien Cahn's Eleven||1||..||1||..|
|South of England||1||1||..||..*|
|T. N. Pearce's Eleven||1||..||..||..|
|Prime Minister's Eleven||1||..||..||1|
|Chief Commissioner's Eleven||1||..||1||..|
|Cricket Council Board||1||..||1||..|
|South African Teams|
|Orange Free State||2||1||1||..|
|In New Zealand|
|Rest of New Zealand||3||2||1||..|
An Amusing Incident
There are few games so full of humour as cricket, though this usually depends on the personality of the individuals concerned. But there have been occasions when extraordinary situations have developed. One only may be cited here. T. Reese, in the first volume of his New Zealand Cricket, referred to a game in South Taranaki between rangers and troopers in Colonel McDonnell's Bushranger Corps, which at that time was engaged in the pursuit of the Hauhau Maoris. The players all wore revolvers, carbines were at the feet of the fieldsmen, and the umpires – even in those days weighed down with impedimenta – held the batsmen's guns. Some of the Hauhaus emerged from the bush to watch the performance, and their reaction made the Hill at Sydney Cricket Ground seem like a kindergarten. When the last pair of rangers' batsmen was together, intent on scoring the 11 runs needed to pass the troopers' score, the Hauhaus swept the field with rifle fire and, in a matter of seconds, both cricket teams, as well as the spectators, were busy driving off the intruders. The game was continued mainly, it seems, because every trooper and every ranger had wagered his rum ration on the result, but the Hauhaus persisted, from a safer range, with light rifle fire. It is little wonder, then, that the rangers failed by seven runs to catch their opponents' score.
The main source of information on New Zealand cricket, apart from the council's own records, is the work of T. W. Reese, who produced New Zealand Cricket in two volumes. The first covered the period from 1841 to 1914, the second from 1914 to 1935–36. From the 1947–48 season New Zealand cricket is adequately covered in the Cricket Almanac, edited by A. H. Carman. For the period between Reese's publication and the beginnings of the Almanac, the council's annual reports provide results of major matches.
The following give other aspects of New Zealand cricket:
- New Zealand Cricketers' Annual 1897
- New Zealand Cricket Annual 1931, Garbutt, E. G.
- Silver Fern on the Veldt, Brittenden, R. T. (1954)
- Statistics of New Zealand Cricket, Peake, J. F. (1924)
- Great Days in New Zealand Cricket, Brittenden, R. T. (1958)
- Cricket Companions, Mitchell, A. W. (1950)
- New Zealanders in England, Hintz, O. S. (1931)
- The All Blacks at Cricket, Caple, S. C. (1958)
- New Zealand Cricketers, Brittenden, R. T. (1961).
(Awarded by the Technos Watch Co. for the provincial team playing the most positive cricket)