In a country where the beach and the backyard are the scene of some of cricket’s fiercest battles, it’s fitting that the earliest reference to cricket in New Zealand is of a game of beach cricket. Played at Pahia in the Bay of Islands in 1832, that match started the development of cricket as our summer game.
From the beach, cricket in New Zealand become more organised and more serious as cricket clubs were established around the country from the 1840s, First Class associations developed from 1875, and the New Zealand Cricket Council (NZCC) was founded in 1894.
The creation of the NZCC came in the same year that a New Zealand representative side first took the field. While tours were few and far between as cricket continued to develop, a successful tour to the United Kingdom in 1927 unearthed some early stars and helped New Zealand gain recognition. Just three years later, New Zealand took the field as a Test nation for the first time, playing England at Christchurch’s Lancaster Park in January 1930. It would take another 26 years, and 45 matches, before New Zealand tasted success in Test cricket, beating the West Indies at Auckland’s Eden Park in 1956. As they continued to improve on the international stage, the 1980s would prove to be a golden era for New Zealand with world-class players leading the team to victory against the world’s best. This era would cement cricket’s place as our summer game and created icons and moments that still fill fans with pride.
At a time when one day cricket was emerging as the game’s biggest draw card, the stars of the 80s built on the early work of names like Dempster, Donnelly, Sutcliffe, and Reid to inspire the next generation of cricket fans and players. Today’s players have inherited this legacy and a passionate fan base who hang on every ball, cheer for every run, and despair at every wicket. With the excitement of T20, the BLACKCAPS’ recent 2015 Cricket World Cup efforts, and a climbing Test ranking, this team is getting pretty good at rewriting the record books.