Taranaki's embarrassed bunch of rep cricketers can come out of hiding.
Their paltry first-innings effort of 35 during their heavy defeat to Manawatu last weekend was thought to have been a Taranaki record low in their proud provincial cricket history.
But, thanks to the late Brian Bellringer's book on the history of Taranaki cricket - A Tale Worth Telling - and other archives, it appears Taranaki have suffered other cricketing disasters in the past.
The most recent poor effort was another innings of 35 - made in the 1955-56 season against Wanganui.
But turning back the yellow-edged pages of history, New Plymouth cricket enthusiast Brian Beer discovered a Taranaki XI were bowled out for 32 and 47 in a match against a touring All England XI at the racecourse ground in New Plymouth in February 1877.
That was before the Taranaki Cricket Association (as it is now known) came into existence in the 1920s.
Beer found that there was no proper club cricket competition or, for that matter, a Taranaki team in existence at the time.
One cricketing trainspotter, Tim Wright, claimed Taranaki were dismissed for 29 and 35 in a match against Hawke's Bay in Hawera in April, 1892.
Wright said that for many years it was believed Taranaki's team in the 1892 match wasn't fully representative of the province - more a scratch team made up of club players from South Taranaki.
However, he said recent investigations by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians in England had led to the conclusion it was in fact a fully representative Taranaki team.
If that is the case, one sliver of good news from last weekend's heavy defeat is that the 2012 Taranaki team won't be remembered for a record they'd rather forget.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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