Albion set to celebrate centenary

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The Albion Cricket Club is 100 not out.

In October, it will celebrate 100 years since it formed as a Saturday cricket club, based in the Tees St Hall.

The switch to Saturday club cricket was an important distinction, Albion Cricket Club president Steve Halliwell said, as cricket had generally been played on Thursdays.

“It was seen as a gentlemen’s game, and the only people who would be able to play during the week would be those who didn’t have to work,” Halliwell said.

Albion was set up as a tradesman’s club where players could play during their days off – and the working class aspect was still part of its identity today, Halliwell said.

The club is in good heart, with two senior teams and three junior teams.

Albion has 20 Borton Cups to its name, winning its first in the 1932-33 season.

For a 10-year period between 1983-84 to 1992-93, it won six Borton Cups.

During those years, it was not uncommon for there to be more than 35 players at training.

Notable players in those years were life members Ian Pitches, who started at the club in 1965-66, and Trevor Robertson, who started in the early 1970s.

That was before the advent of twenty20 or even one-day cricket – it was played over two days with eight-ball overs and no over restrictions.

“We used to just play over two days and it was not uncommon for teams to bat well into the second day,” Robertson said.

“It could be quite dour sometimes, but you valued your wicket.”

Pitches is the club’s highest wicket-taking bowler, with more than 1000 wickets to his name.

“When you play 35 seasons, they add up,” Pitches said.

“Even the runs add up, and my average was never great.”

The club has produced one Black Cap – Sean Tracey, who played for New Zealand in two tour games in England in 1983.

There have also been several Otago representatives, most recently Amber Cunningham and Nathan Smith, who comes back and plays for the club when available.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Albion is holding a centenary event over Labour Weekend, and is calling for anyone who has been involved in the club in any capacity to join.

There will be informal events at the Athletic Marist clubrooms on Friday and Saturday nights and a game of cricket on Saturday.

“It’s very informal, that is us,” Halliwell said.

“There will be a few things said, a few toasts to past members and a lot of stories told.

‘‘For us, cricket has always been a bit of a sideshow to a few mates having fun together.’’

For more information on the centenary event, contact Ricky Whyte on 027 440-4695, at oamarualbion@gmail.com or visit the Facebook group facebook.com/groups/Albion100.