Gazette Article
"Cricket on the Heath"

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The following is an article, appearing in the Weekly Victoria Gazette on Saturday, August 28, 1858. It is the earliest news article to appear regarding cricket in Victoria. The author, who calls himself by the unlikely name "Adonibam Whittlestick" pokes fun at the game, and at himself, for agreeing to cover the match without understanding the rules of the game!

Cricket Match in Beacon Hill Park, c. 1880s

MESSRS. EDITORS -- I have always been an admirer (at a respectful distance) of what is sportingly or sportively styled the "noble game of cricket." Nor has my admiration been lessened by my acknowledged incapacity to comprehend the details of the manly diversion. To me innings and winnings are as similar in significance as in sound; ball bowling becomes strangely mingled with punch-bowling, and wickets suggest wickedness. Forty-seven times in the fifty-seven summers of my existence, have I spent two days spread out on my native or a foreign heath, viewing contests with cricket clubs and between cricket clubs, but never had I succeeded in ascertaining the difference between outs and ins, or comprehended any score except that which I invariably found against me at the close of the day in the hands of individuals by whom refreshments were furnished for a pecuniary consideration.

I confess my weakness in not making these constitutional peculiarities known at the time of accepting your offer to act as reporter for the GAZETTE at the cricket match of yesterday. Let Mr. Winkle's experience in skating and shooting plead for me with readers of Pickwick (who certainly comprise all Anglo-Saxon humanity).

I arrived on the ground at an early period, and found the usual triad of stakes pitched in the ground opposite to each other. After waiting several hours, during which much expert ball-catching and throwing, and other gymnastics occurred, the performances began. Two men faced each other with bats in their hands. Other men assumed ungainly attitudes, with their arms in a position I can designate in no other way than as semi-akimbo. Somebody behind the batter ran backward a space slowly, then ran forward the same space swiftly, and hurled a ball fiercely at the shins of the batter opposite him, who struck it or didn't strike it, and then recipricol runs took place with the batters, who each touched the ground near their opponents' triad of stakes, and returned to position , while a general running to and fro and pitching about of the ball occurred among the other contestants. At last one of the stakes was hit, when everybody cried out as if they had suffered that indignity, and somebody stated to a man taking notes at a distance, that a party on parties had been bowled out, and a neighbour informed me that somebody had scored one.

"Good for him!" said I encouragely, at which my neighbour stared, but said nothing. The game went on. Encouraged by the reception of the sagacious remark just recorded, I ventured to add that I thought "They were rather catching it," trusting to the indefiniteness of the expression to avoid disaster, but was much confused by my neighbour's turning round and ejaculating scornfully "WHO are catching it? Why they've just begun, man."

I was so much depressed by this incident that I retired within a cloth structure in the vicinity, whence I did not emerge till the close of the day, when species of Terpsichorean entertainment, known in portions of the United States as a "stag dance," called me forth. I then fraternized with an individual in cricket costume, who gave me by word of mouth what he called "the innings." From him I also learned and state for the information of the benighted persons who may not comprehend the professional phraseology of the following tale -- that the Victoria Club had vanquished the representatives of H.B.M. Satellite. It occurred in the following gallant manner...."

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