Born in Dunedin, forged in the south

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014

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January 23, 1864 - it was the birthdate of Southland representative cricket.

For the first time a Southland representative team flew the province's flag on a cricketing field when they took on Otago at the Dunedin Oval in a two-day fixture, starting on January 23, 1864.

The details of how the game came about and how the Southland team was selected are sketchy today but what we do know - and what maybe shouldn't be paraded around too much by Southland cricket followers - is that the Otago team won comfortably.

In fact, it was a right old hiding. Otago won by an innings and 143 runs.

The home team batted first and posted 222 in their first innings before rolling through Southland for just 45 their first innings, and then 34 in the second turn at bat.

The game was played just four days before the first recognised first-class fixture in New Zealand, between Otago and Canterbury in Dunedin.

The Southland-Otago showdown all those years ago holds a special place in Southland cricket's history, despite the result, and started what has been a proud journey for many.

One hundred and fifty years on, Southland cricket teams still grace the fields and their success stories have flowed amid the odd difficult time.

Southland cricket has produced internationals, many first-class players and has held the prestigious Hawke Cup on six occasions, including being the first team to win the cup when it was first played for in the 1910/11 season.

There have also been visits from international touring teams, including the day one of the greats, Sir Garfield Sobers, came with the West Indies team.

This weekend the Southland cricket community will celebrate 150 years since that first representative match in Dunedin in 1864.

Many former players, coaches, administrators and supporters will recall the highs and lows of Southland cricket.

Southland need success to ensure they get a Hawke Cup challenge this year, but they will have even more motivation given the presence of many former players.

commemoration get-together will start with a golf day on Friday, followed by an informal dinner at Queens Park. Then on Saturday there will be a lunch at the Hawke Cup fixture at Queens Park, where Southland will meet Otago Country, before the formal dinner on Saturday night.

Southland need success to ensure they get a Hawke Cup challenge this year, but they will have even more motivation given the presence of many former players.

This week in The Southland Times we will look at some of Southland cricket's memorable moments and players that have helped make it what it is.

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Despite the outing in 1864 it wasn't until 1892 that the Southland Cricket Association was officially formed. It celebrated its centennial in 1992.

- The Southland Times

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