VDCA History Cricket has a long and rich history in Victoria, and has been a favoured destination for many touring sides. We have hosted teams from all over the world, most notably the Australians, the MCC eight times, Kent C.C.C. twice and a team of former Indian test players led by Bishen Bedi. The 1990 VISAS Festival had the pleasure of hosting Sir Richard Hadlee, who treated the large crowd to an impressive exhibition of his skills in a ceremonial opening match involving players representing a number of the participating teams.
In 1863, the year after the incorporation of the City of Victoria, the local paper announced "The first cricket match of the season will be played tomorrow at Beacon Hill". Cricket, however, had been played as early as 1849 in Victoria, when a British Army officer, Captain Walter Colquhoun Grant, arrived with some cricket gear. In due course, matches were arranged against visiting Royal Navy ships. Cricket was so popular in the newly formed nation of Canada that in 1867 the game was declared the National Sport by the first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald and his Cabinet. In May 1876, the Victoria Cricket Club was formed and was to continue until the 1930s. Depression, followed by the Second World War were to cause it to discontinue. The present Oak Bay club, in existence prior to the First World War but disbanded in 1915, was re-formed in 1945 and was probably its true successor since it was sparked by several prominent members of the former Victoria Cricket Club.
Albion CC was founded in November 1891 and, having their priorities right, the first recorded expenditure of the club was $0.65 for a dozen beer glasses! Both Incogs CC and Cowichan CC were established in 1912 and since then have played continuously in the League. The Cowichan club now has the distinction of owning the only private cricket ground in Western Canada, where they have played since 1976. Incogs started on the ground at what is now St. Michaels University School, its players originally being drawn from staff, old boys and students of the school.
Cricket at Windsor Park dates from 1906. Alcos CC was founded in 1946. Originally known as Ex RAF, it was formed by ex-RAF personnel who first came to Victoria for training during the Second World War. Castaways CC played its first game in 1965, having been founded by a group of cricket enthusiasts who brought back into the game a number of cricketers who had not played for some years.
Nanaimo CC represents the resurgence of a long interest in cricket in that city. The Club is referred to in an exchange of correspondence as long ago as 1864 about the use of part of the Nanaimo Indian Reserve for a cricket ground. Cricket was certainly played in Nanaimo in the 1920s and 1930s but stopped during the war. Carico CC, Colts CC (players under 21) and Metchosin CC are more recently formed clubs but have already proved worthy opponents on more than one occasion, as their trophies will confirm!
Metchosin's ground in the Western Communities improves with every year and is delightfully situated with views over the Straits to the Olympic Mountain Range.
The Midweek League, playing usually on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, was established in 1988 and has proved to be very popular, with ten teams participating, all with affiliations to pubs or clubs, together with a young team during term-time from St Michael?s University School.
The Victoria and District Cricket Association together with the Beacon Hill Park Cricket Society promote cricket on the island in association with its many teams and its up and coming youth programs.
The oldest cricket international competition in existence is the Canada-USA series, which pre-dates the Ashes, and was last played in Victoria in 1972. This is but one of the many major events Victoria has hosted, from the Western Interprovincial Tournament in 1931 to the National Tournament in 1971. In addition we have had several visits from the M.C.C., the Australians and numerous county club and international touring sides.
VDCA / VISAS in the press
In Canada: Dark Ladies and Quick Cricket
[Reprinted from TIME magazine, October 3, 1988]
The gaily painted horse-drawn wagon slowed momentarily as it passed Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia. "On your right you can see a cricket match," the guide from Tally Ho Sightseeing told her dozen tourists. Their heads swiveled to take in a game in progress on an oval expanse of neatly mowed grass patrolled by a line of russeting plane trees, "It is said to be the forerunner of American baseball," the guide continued her well-rehearsed lines. "There are a few differences, however. A cricket game can last anything from one day to one week."
If her inference was that cricket is always dull and drawn out, the guide and her charges might well have lingered longer as Beacon Hill Park. They would then have noticed that there were six players per side (instead of the normal eleven) and that the games, played at a fast, even frenzied pace, were completed in an hour and a half, after each side had bowled its regulation 60 balls. Six-a-side cricket may not, in the eyes of purists, really he cricket. But six-a-side, whose origins are obscure, is catching on among the game's amateurs, many of them middle-aged cricket junkies who will abandon jobs and spouses for a week to huff and puff about a playing field in some remote part of the world at their own expense.
There is a well established annual six-a-side tournament in Bangkok. Houston, which holds its tournament in September, boasts of being the U.S. capital of quick cricket. This year's biennial Victoria tournament attracted 18 teams from as far afield as Bangladesh. Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands. Counting air fares and accommodations, many of the 60 visitors paid between $2,000 and $3,000 for their week of cricket. Some wouldn't have missed it at twice the price. "The cricket is the real reason you travel the distances," said David Hammond, an Australian diplomat who earlier this year played in the Bangkok tourney. "But it is not just the cricket, there's a team spirit; you make new friends and you get to see places you wouldn't ordinarily get to."
The first Victoria tournament was organized two years ago by a cadre of cricket buffs under the direction of David Billingham, a local realtor. "We wanted the cricket to be serious and competitive:' he recalled one morning as the 500-ton yacht Malibu Princess slipped out of the Sidney, B.C., harbor for a daylong cruise of the gulf islands. On board were nearly 200 cricketers and their Canadian hosts, the four-piece Dixieland Express jazz band. "But we didn't want it to be so serious that people couldn't enjoy themselves," Billingham added, perhaps superfluously. In addition to the cruise, the visiting cricketers were invited to a salmon barbecue at the graceful Beacon Hill cricket pavilion, where colorful hanging baskets of mixed petunias, lobelias, geraniums and tiny marigolds decorate the balcony.
Six-a-side cricket may not be the real thing, but off-field traditions proved durable in Victoria. At each of the three grounds, tea was served promptly at 3:30p.m. each day. The repasts were prepared by the wives of local cricketers. "A few of us get together in the morning and crack open a bottle of champagne, and then we go on a rampage making sandwiches," said Sherry Carter, the teas organizer. "We do make some cucumber sandwiches [traditional fare at cricket tea], but we draw the line at cutting off the crusts." Throughout the week the refreshment tent at Beacon Hilt Park also dispensed a hugely successful concoction called a dark lady (rum and Jamaican ginger beer) that quickly became the tournament's unofficial drink.
As for the match itself, it was won on the final day by Young Canada; a local team whose youthful legs and lungs helped them survive seven grueling qualifying games. Needing two runs from the very last ball in the final against a team from Australia, Marshall Travis, the Young Canada batsman. swung lustily and scored a 4 through cover point. "You couldn't get a better finish than that, could you now?" said one enthusiastic spectator, 81-year-old Fred Lohmann, as the teams walked off the field to loud applause. "It has been wonderful cricket.
The statistics bore that out, During six days of games, 11,258 runs had been scored, including 229 6s (cricket's equivalent of the home run) and 655 4s. Meanwhile, 20 15.5-gal kegs of beer had been consumed, along with more than three cases of rum and all the ginger beer the organizers could lay their hands on. Upwards of 2,000 teas had been served, and thanks to sponsorship, concession sales and the profits from libation-buying crowds, Billingham and his co-workers recovered most of the $50,000 they had spent on the tournament.
That night at a final dinner dance at the elegant Crystal Garden, Doc and the Doo-Wops kept the floor crowded until after midnight. Billingham made a short speech about there being no winners or losers on the field and then handed out prizes for the most promising performances off the field. One of them went to Dusty Miller of the Bahamas, at 63 the oldest player in the tournament. He had climbed out of bed one night and opened the door to the hotel corridor instead of his bathroom door. It had closed behind him and only an ice bucket taken from the vending machine saved him from the ultimate indignity as he wandered the corridor in search of help.
"No key, no trousers, no nothing," Billingham was still telling people several days later as he prepared to leave for Australia for a holiday. Why such a distant destination? A week of quick cricket in Brisbane, naturally.
- Article by John Borrell, TIME Correspondent, Mexico City.
VDCA Club Histories Alcos Cricket Club
Founded in August 1947 as the Ex-RAF CC by former servicemen after World War II, the club changed its name in the early fifties to Alcos (short for All Comers - of course!). The first major successes for Alcos occurred in the seasons 1975 to 1977 when they won the League twice and went to the final of the national club competition against Toronto CC. In 2008 Alcos won the playoffs and in 2013 attracted so many players that the club fielded two teams in the League, winning both the Colonist and Knock-Out Cups. Alcos stands by its name All Comers and welcomes members from diverse backgrounds. The club also believes firmly in fair play and takes pride in playing the game competitively and in good spirit.
Brewsky's and Prairie Inn CC
In March, 2001, a group of cricket enthusiasts on the Saanich Peninsula formed the Central Saanich Cricket Club, (CSCC), whose dual aim is to have fun while developing individual and team skills, and to promote the game of cricket amongst the youth on the Peninsula. The home ground and practice nets are at Stelly's School whose long-established cricket program has been the catalyst for the two teams fielded by the CSCC - Brewsky's since 2001 and Prairie Inn since 2003. Many players have made excellent progress and several have acquitted themselves well in matches in the Weekend League. Many thanks to to the above two generous sponsors who have been so instrumental to our success.
Cowichan Cricket Club
The Cowichan Cricket and Sports Club was formed in 1912. The club owned its own ground on Wharncliffe Road, Duncan until 1965. Before developing its present ground on Elford Road at Shawnigan Lake, the club used the playing fields at Shawnigan Lake Boys School for most of the period between 1966 and 1976. The"Golden Ages" were the years before the Great War, the nineteen sixties and the early seventies and perhaps, the nineteen nineties. The club last won the VDCA League in 2002. But the greatest day in the club's history: 17th of June 1932 when Cowichan hosted an Australian XI that included the young Don Bradman. The club's facilities have never been better, due to the philanthropy of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Russ coupled with the hard work of the past and present members. We can never have enough young players, but the overall membership has grown with the addition in 1985 of the Cowichan Over - 40's XI that plays midweek friendlies against Mainland and overseas touring teams.
Albion Cricket Club
Albion CC was formed in 1896 and is the oldest surviving cricket club on Vancouver Island. In 1998 due to the increase in membership Albion formed a second team in the League. The aim was to provide a forum for aging souls and very young players. Albion II as it was known has proved at times to be competitive on the field, and never losing sight of the fact that cricket should be fun. Albion credits its success largely to its cultural diversity. On any given weekend we may have up to 14 different nationalities on the field.
Incogs Cricket Club
Founded in 1912, the Incogs have always had a close association with St. Michael's University School whose Richmond Road campus is the home ground and whose alumni, staff, parents and students have provided most of the players. Over the years, many Incogs have represented B.C. and Canada both at the Junior and Senior levels. The Club takes pride in the fact that many of its players have learned the game here in Victoria as students at "The School". The Incogs were particularly successful in the 1980s, winning several League Championships under captain Rob Wilson, (Oxford and Canada), and representing B.C. in the Western Canada Club Championships in 1984 and were League winners in 2001 under Nick Grant.
Metchosin Cricket Club
Founded in 1976, the Metchosin Cricket Club initially played friendlies at the Metchosin Elementary School, using a roll out mat placed on the grass. Things have since progressed; the club joined the league proper in the early 80s, and in 1988 the present pitch was opened on the grounds of the Metchosin Municipal Hall. The club has been a pioneer in both bringing in players from oversees, and developing a Schools Program to introduce local youngsters to the noble summer game. In 1992 Metchosin entered a team in the Mid Week league and the club has fielded two teams ever since.
Oak Bay Cricket Club
Oak Bay Cricket Club's picturesque cricket ground is situated at Windsor Park in the leafy municipality of Oak Bay. Oak Bay CC was established in 1906 and has continually played cricket at Windsor Park to this day with the exception of a brief intermission during the First World War. Over the years Oak Bay CC has produced some wonderful cricketers who have represented both Victoria and Provincial Elevens. It has also enjoyed some memorable achievements including a mumber VDCA League Championship, winners fo the Knock Out Cup, and other annual tournaments. Other memorable club activities inclulde a cricket tour to the U.K. in 1976 , playing village cricket teams in Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Oak Bay is a competitive club that strives to uphold the traditions and true spirit fo the game of cricket, and provide a friendly and social atmosphere to all visiting teams.
Wicket Maidens CC
The Wicket Maidens began as a co-ed cricket team in 2000 after some of the wives and girlfriends of league cricket players decided they would like to play cricket as well as watch it. Currently the Wicket Maidens play in the Victoria and District Midweek League against the men's teams. There are approximately 30 active members. In the coming season, we hope to attract even more women to one of the leagues fastest growing teams playing in the mid week league. The Wicket Maidens range in age from early teens to a "certain" age. Our team's philosophy focuses on working together to expand each players skill sets, challenging ourselves and other teams while having a great time learning the sport of cricket.
Albion CC 1934
Tom Hoggarth,P.Freeman, D.Pite, Gibbons, Leech, Maurice, Smith
Enoch, Barclay, Freeman, R.M.Angus (Pres), Norman Pyte (Capt), Walton