In December 1951 a
small group of New Zealanders met at the old New Zealand
House in the Strand and decided to try and form a cricket club for visiting
Fired by the enthusiasm and determination of the late Trevor Campbell, they
fashioned a club with the object of ‘providing the opportunity for its members
play and enjoy cricket in the home of the Game and to meet socially’.
Those were very
different times and New Zealand was not the cricketing force
that it later became. Without hope of a permanent ground the task might have
discouraged lesser men, but seeking the guidance of the M.C.C. they were told
it’s New Zealand, there are no snags’.
With that blessing and
the support of influential men in the game both here and
at home, the club got off to a very good start. The first Club Captain was a
Blunt, a former New Zealand captain, and the first President and rock on which
young club was established, was E.R.T Holmes - M.C.C. captain in 1935/6.
By 1959 Club
membership was 195 with an additional ‘overseas list’ of 113. Early
matches were played against ‘An Oxford XI’ at Oxford’s; ‘A Cambridge XI’ at
London University and Surrey Club at the Oval, and many more. But of the
fixtures, Ripley in Surrey, alone remains.
Since the first
season, some famous cricketers have occasionally been seen in club
colours; Martin Donnelly, John Reid, Tom Pritchard, Tony MacGibbon, Bob Cunis,
Richard Hadlee, Trevor Franklin, Aaron Gale, Mark Richardson, Andre Adams,
Matthew Bell, James Marshall and Graeme Thomson. Famous ‘off shore’ players who
have joined LNZCC’s ranks are:
May, Jim Laker, Ken Barrington,
Butch White and the incomparable Graeme Pollock
(at the Oval in 1969) among others.
Through the years the
numbers of available cricketers has fluctuated but,
with the hard work of a few individuals and the underlying and generous
of our hosts and friends amongst the clubs we play, the Club continues to thrive
into its sixth decade.
There are many more
former members than existing ones, with branches in
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Perhaps that is testimony enough that
the original recipe - enjoyable cricket in good company - is the right one.