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Diamond Harbour CC History

In 1956 there was a meeting of nine prospective players who reported that seven more keen cricketers were intending to play. This gave great encouragement to the original nucleus which was
Garth Williams, Frank Atkins, Royce Grey, Jeff Johnston, Paul Stapylton-Smith, Dick Barnett, Bill McLean, Bill Cronin, Robert Gardiner, George Sudlow and Fred Mackey. Of those men who attended that first meeting, two of them – Dick Barnett who was the Club president for 26 years and Paul Stapylton- Smith the first club captain, played for well over 30 years a piece.

Dick Barnett still enjoys Popping down to the ground to watch the games and chat about the good old days with fondness.

The Bradley Estate hay mower was used to cut the table high grass down to a playable length and after several working bees, even the roughest areas around the Boundaries were flattened out to make the natural Amphitheatre a picture to look at.

There were other problems the club faced in those early years, the after hours phone service finished in the early evenings so team selections were made difficult so a board was placed in the local shop which the players used to write their name on if they were available.

The natural Amphitheatre made for problems too. Though it made a great place for watching cricket, it also formed a great swamp when it rained. Early attempts by the cricketers to drain it with a mole plough revealed the grounds previous history as rubbish dump, for the plough brought up rubbish, rocks, tins and old bottles so the ploughing had to cease.

By this time Pat Leahy and Dixie Dean (Both Carpenters) had joined the club and built a concrete cricket. Unfortunately their measurements were incorrect and it was a foot wider at one end and a foot shorter than it needed to be. I don’t think they were ever aloud to forget their mistake. The Club used many different covers for the wicket but in 1965 they settled on a composition wicket of chipped cork and rubber.

The Blakely family moved to a farm in Purau and several of them were keen cricketers, Jim Blakely played for Otago and his Son Stuart was shortly to play for North Canterbury. It was Stuart’s suggestion that the club change from playing on Sunday’s to a Saturday club playing in the Banks Peninsula competition.

By 1969, the club with Stuart Blakely as captain decisively won the Peninsula competition, losing only one game. They won again in 1974 and 1976 this time Trevor Turner was at the helm.

Eventually a grass wicket was laid at the ground which meant the club had to build a roller which cost $600 then they had to build a roller shed which was constructed by Bob Coultas and Miles Stapylton- Smith.

Later, a newly founded rugby club was formed and they did not like the composition wicket in the middle of the ground so without consultation and maybe under the influence of the amber nectar, they tore it up and threw it away. (So the story goes).

The club remained stable throughout the 80s and 90s, mostly because of the good work of Richard Coop and his son Tim. Peter Jones took over the Presidency from Richard and has been a major factor in the clubs successes. His grounds man skills have been invaluable for our club and we are lucky to have him as a club member and volunteer.

Banks Peninsula cricket, like a lot of rural clubs, had a number of teams fold and in 2008 Diamond Harbour merged with the Kaituna club and with the collapse of the Peninsula competition, joined the Ellesmere competition. When the teams merged, it created a fantastic team that was made up of a lot of young keen cricketers which cleaned up the Ellesmere competition for two years running and in the process, winning all the trophies available.

The club has also had some All Blacks play cricket for it on a rare occasion, Andrew Ellis, Wyatt Crockett, Scott Hamilton and James Ryan not to mention young Mark Abbott who played lock for the Wellington Hurricanes and now for the Sunwolves.

Canterbury Country Cricket took over the reins in running the competitions in 2013 and they created the Canterbury Country premier competition which meant that we travel and play Cheviot, Lincoln, Southbridge, Dunsandal, Sefton, Kaiapoi, Southbrook, Weedons, Scargill, South Malvern and Kirwee

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