It’s the “little things” that have caught Scott Cameron’s eye over the years.
From North Otago Cricket’s original maroon and green colours and Jeremy Smith scoring a half-century and taking 10 wickets in a match, to finding the year the association was founded in 1899 through an old Oamaru Mail article.
Now, all the North Otago Cricket Association historian’s work is displayed on new senior representative honours boards, installed at the pavilion in the past month.
The five boards include statistics for 50-plus matches, 10-plus wickets, five wickets in an innings, centuries, Hawke Cup challenges, Otago representatives, New Zealand representatives and overseas representatives. The boards also detail the association’s presidents, life members, photos of Hawke Cup-winning teams and international touring teams. There is even a patch from the 1968 “North Otago Tigers” Hawke Cup Challenge, and a recent medal from this year’s Hawke Cup-winning team.
It had been a 25-year journey for Cameron, who began compiling the statistics when he was at high school.
He started taking statistics for his club, Union, in the days before CricketHQ websites, and expanded to North Otago the following year.
It became “a bit of an obsession” and one that never stopped. He has recorded “99%” of the matches back to 1909, and most of the scorecards back to the first recognised game in 1896.
“Once I started, of course everybody got really interested ’cause we didn’t have anything like that at that time,” Cameron said.
“We have the legends of North Otago Cricket like Russell Payne , the Zimmermans .. you hear stories about how great they were back in the day, but then to gather their stats and look at what they did, you get more sort of appreciation for those sorts of guys.”
While he loved the statistics, it was the stories and memories, from countless hours talking to people, researching and looking through old newspapers, that stuck with him.
During the 1949-50 season, former St Kevin’s College teacher Joseph Gosano scored 119 against Otago, but all Gosano recalled was New Zealand cricket legend Bert Sutcliffe fielding close during his innings. Gosano whacked the ball, hitting Sutcliffe, who fell backwards.
“All he could think was ‘I’ve just killed New Zealand and Otago’s star batsman’.
“It’s the little stories like that.”
Smith’s 10-wicket haul against Southland earlier this year was another.
“That’s only ever happened once before and it was John Reid, and he’s one of the legends of New Zealand cricket.”
The association decided to create the honours boards about two years ago, and watching it all come together was incredible, Cameron said.
“Cricket honours boards are a big thing. Being a bit of a historian, it’s awesome seeing all this information up on the wall.
“It covers a massive period. Obviously, anybody who follows cricket, they like their stats, they like seeing the names up on the board, so hopefully it’ll encourage the guys to get their names up there.”
These days, the information was more readily available, but he had no plans to stop.
“I just enjoy doing it.”