On the 31st of January 2016, the Buller Cricket Association made history by winning the prestigious Hawke Cup for the first time, in their very first challenge.
Remarkably, Buller don’t have a grass pitch in their region which may force their next fixture, a challenge from North Otago, to be moved outside of the area. As this 1908 letter from the Buller Cricket Association shows, this was an issue for the cricketers of the West Coast before the Hawke Cup even existed. The quality of their pitches forced officials to attempt a re-write of cricket laws.
F.C. Raphael Esq Westport
Hon. Secretary N.Z. Cricket Council Nov 16th 1908
I am instructed by the management Committee of my Association to refer the following matter to you for the opinion of your Council which my Committee will be glad to receive at the earliest possible date the matter is one which is of great importance here, and which may affect the result of Cup matches:
In this district there are no grass wickets, all the pitches being made of concrete, asphalt, or some similar substance, over which matting is spread before a match. On some of the grounds the pitch and matting is 4ft 6in wide and on some 6ft wide and on others is a little narrower than the pitch ie. the concrete may be 5ft and the matting 4ft 6in. The surrounding ground is frequently very uneven indeed, under these circumstance it is not uncommon for a round the wicket bowler to pitch a ball off the matting; such a ball will sometimes strike a lump and shoot into the wickets unexpectedly. Some of my Committee therefore are of the opinion that it would be in the best interest of local cricket, if all balls pitched off the matting were to be given “wides.” But others do not think so. All members however are agreed not to take such a serious step as to modify any of the laws of the game unless your Council gives its sanction and consent and in fact expresses the opinion that such a modification of the wide “Law” would be in the interest of cricket in this district and is therefore justifiable.
Secretary Buller Cricket Assoc.