Brooklyn Cricket Club
This is a strictly amateur attempt at researching and recording the history of the BCC. In attempting to research the club's history, I had to first learn how to research. Typing 'Brooklyn Cricket Club' into the National Library computer search box produces one result. Typing 'Brooklyn' produces 10,000 results; and the information we want is somewhere in between. For every item of history produced, two more questions are raised; so there is plenty of scope for further detailing of the clubs history.
I will present the information chronologically and just include everything, letting you decide what is interesting or relevant to the club. I believe it was Josh Williams and a work mate looking at papers past from the National Library that started our quest with a remark something like, “Here’s an interesting article, when did you say your cricket club was formed?”
The Evening Post article
On 5 September 1912, Page 8, under Lodge Meetings. ‘A concert arranged by Mr B Walter in aid of the Brooklyn Cricket Club will be held at the Masonic Hall, Brooklyn, to-morrow evening.’ If you look around the paper of that same date there is a second reference to BCC in the entertainment section: ‘Masonic Hall, Brooklyn. To-morrow (Friday), 6th Sept. At 8pm. GRAND CONCERT! Arranged by Mr B Walter and Friends. In aid of BROOKLYN CRICKET CLUB. Tickets 1 shilling.’
It was quite a way into researching and looking at other things before it occurred to me that if the concert was that well reported might there not also be a review of the event?
Learning to research
There was. From the Evening Post, 7 September 1912. Saturday. ‘BROOKLYN CRICKET CONCERT. A concert arranged by Mr B Waller in aid of the funds of the Brooklyn Cricket Club was well attended last night. The audience was highly appreciative, and specially applauded two instrumental quartets by Misses Malcolm and Waters, and Messrs. Jones and Walton. Miss Ethel Missack pleased with a song and recitation, and Mr Probert kept audiences amused for ten minutes with a character sketch. Mr Rankin, who is well known to Brooklyn audiences, contributed a musical monologue and humorous song, and Mr J Cumming created an atmosphere of mystery with his ledgerdemain’.
Well, this splits the search into two areas of interest, the people and the place. The latter first; the Masonic Hall in the articles still stands in Washington Avenue opposite the school, although it is now a private residence with the addition of a garage in front. I approached the owners but they could offer no history of the building just the re-collection that “when the building was sold by the Masons they stripped the interior before possession”. No chance of a photo of what the interior may have looked like on the night of the concert then.
I approached the Masonic office in Willis Street armed with the details of the lodge and Mr B Walters, who must have been involved enough with the Masons to secure the use of the hall, and was given a further contact but that has not produced any results to date. I am assuming that the Mr B Waller in the review is a typo. Whilst looking into the Masonic side of this information I became aware of a Templars Cricket Club that was in existence at this time. I followed this thread for a while to see if I could make a link to BCC but was unable to find any. The water was further muddied by the Templars Abstinence Society which holds no interest for me.
I have not made any enquiries into the performers mentioned in the review, but I imagine some details may be discovered about them especially as one is reported to be ‘well known to Brooklyn audiences’.
The only other reference I have uncovered prior to the start of the first season is an item in the Evening Post, 20 September 1912, Civic affairs Reserves committee. ‘That the Brooklyn Cricket Club be informed that the council cannot undertake to prepare the club a wicket on the Tanera crescent Town Belt Reserve, but the club will be allowed to prepare its own wicket.’
The first season 1912-1913
Brooklyn entered a team in the Third Class championship for the 1912-1913 season, I have found records of at least 10 other teams in this league but cannot say if this is the full number. In the Dominion Post between 11 November 1912 and 10 March 1913, I have found six match reports for Brooklyn games against various opposition. The reports give us some of the first names to go on the Brooklyn roster and some standout performances such as ‘Brooklyn defeated St. Davids, Beavis four for 4 and two for 16, and Wakeham six for 15 and four for 33’. Unfortunately the paper generally only gives the surname of the players. No final results table or anything similar has been found.
The next references to BCC come at the end of the first season. Dominion Post 23 April 1913, Cricket. The Third Class Honours. ‘At a meeting of the Wellington Cricket Association last night, it was decided to bracket Petone and Brooklyn as being dead-heat for the third-class championship. The decision was arrived at by finding the proportion of points scored to points possible. Petone played 18 matches, and scored 36 points out of a possible 54. Brooklyn played 19 matches, and scored 38 points out of a possible of 57. Each therefore, obtained 66.6 per cent of their possible points. The next club, Karori, obtained 36.15 of its possible.’
We did not achieve this result alone as I discovered in the Evening Post 19 September 1913, Central Club. ‘The committee of the Wellington Central District Cricket Club congratulates members on last season’s performances. The senior eleven were not successful in winning the championship of their grade, but are to be congratulated on attaining the position of runners-up to the North Club, the winners. The junior eleven were also runners-up in their grade, the championship being won by the St Mark’s Club. The club was unable to enter for the third-class championship, through lack of members, but the Brooklyn Club became affiliated with the club, and performed exceedingly well, tieing with the Petone Club for the third-class championship.’
One of the hardest things I found in compiling this history was to understand the structure of the grades and competitions at the time. Not all competitions or associations were under the Wellington Cricket Association. There was, amongst others, the Warehouseman Association. It is reported that they formed a committee to review the laws of cricket and if necessary make new laws to the benefit of the association. Would love to know how that worked out. Making sense of the grades took some time and it was only after seeing the Central Club article and others mentioning Junior teams on territorial duty that I had a better understanding of the grades. Senior, Junior, Third-Class were all adult grades. Matches at the time were always played over two innings and if the game was not concluded on the Saturday it was resumed on Sunday, the following day. I found one instance where the match was unfinished by stumps on Sunday so the teams resumed the match on Monday.
The second season 1913-1914
The first mention of BCC in the 1913-1914 season is found in the Evening Post 7 October 1913, Brooklyn Cricket Club, Annual Meeting. ‘The annual meeting of the Brooklyn Cricket Club was well attended. The report congratulated members on the club’s success in winning the third-class championship last season. Three trophies had been presented for competition during the coming season. It was decided to enter a team for the junior championship. Officers were elected as follows: President , Mr M Barnett; vice-presidents, Messrs W Donovan, R O’Connor, and T Thompson; management and selection committee, Messrs M Barnett, G Brown, and J Lowe; secretary and treasurer, Mr G Brown; delegate to Wellington Cricket Association, Mr J Lowe.’
Between October 1913 and April 1914 I have found five references to BCC, four are the usual match reports detailing results and highlights like ‘for Brooklyn Hudson took five wickets for 12 runs; Barnett two for 11, and O’Connor one for 17.’ The fifth item found is a report from Wellington Cricket Association showing the results of the junior championship. There were eleven teams in the competition which Artillery won with a 100 per cent record, Brooklyn placed 10th out of eleven winning 25 per cent of games played.
While the results for the second season are not as good as the first, the information recovered does allow us to add more names to the playing roster of the club and gives us further avenues for research. After finding the notice of the AGM I went back to try and find if there was any record of an AGM for the previous year but was unable to find anything, and since the one found talks about election of officers I am assuming there was no previous election of officers to the club. There is often confusion over the names reported, I have found variously Hudson, Hutson, and Rev. Hudson, whether these are typos from the original source or mistakes in the later digitizing of the information I cannot say. Remember Rev. Hudson though.
The third season 1914-1915
The information for this season is scarcer than for the previous seasons and with the coming of The First World War it is hardly surprising. Often teams are recorded as being unable to play due to military service and by the latter half of the season the Artillery team is gone from the competition completely. I cannot confidently say how this season finished for Brooklyn, since I cannot locate any reports or articles about the finish of this season. There is no mention of Brooklyn Cricket Club after the 1914-1915 season but that does not mean they are not there, simply that I have been unable to find any with my limited research skills.
My initial searching of this period has not yet produced any definitive results but a closer inspection at a future date may give us more information.
The research so far has given us at least three teams, a championship win, and a list of names that can be added to the clubs history, I will provide such biographical material as I have been able to find. We also have an affiliation to one of the original clubs, being Central District Cricket Club, and since that club was disbanded I would suggest that Brooklyn Cricket Club are the inheritors of that legacy.
By 1929 another of the district clubs, South District Cricket Club have also ceased in name and the ex-president of Souths, Mr R.A. Wright MP is by 1931 the president of the Brooklyn Cricket Club so perhaps we have some claim to the heritage of that club as well? In the late 1940’s Brooklyn also became affiliated with the Midland Cricket Club, are they still around?
Previously our history was thought to start with following article, I cannot source the article yet, ‘At a meeting held in the Hudson Hall on October 11, 1929, it was decided to disband the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church Cricket Club and to form a new club known as the Brooklyn Cricket Club.’ Church? Hudson? Did we not have Reverend Hudson playing for the Brooklyn Cricket Club in 1913, think I have found my next line of research.
REVEREND B HUTSON
Benjamin Hutson came from Sussex and studied at the Theological Hall, Dunedin from 1881 to 1882 he was then appointed to Helensville, where he completed his studies and was ordained in Waikato West in 1884. He was the 22nd Presbyterian minister ordained in New Zealand. Church records show he had a few ministries before finishing in Brooklyn. Inducted Whangerei 1887, Ravensbourne 1890, Reefton 1891, Stratford 1895, Fordell 1905, Brooklyn 1909-1922.
The first appearance of the Rev is in the paper of 10 March 1913 when in a match against Y.M.C.A. he took four for 45. We lost. At the time of this match, by my best maths, the Rev was 58 years old. I believe that the various mentions of Hudson and Rev. Hudson are in fact the Reverend Benjamin Hutson. On the 27th of October he got another mention when he took five wickets for 12 runs and scored 12 with the bat.
There are quite a few instances of the Rev appearing in the newspaper, at the time notices of sermons and sometimes reviews were published so searching for the Rev produces a lot of hits and I have not looked at all but here are some brief instances. He had a wife, she died in 1910, and one son. The son was Dr Herbert Hutson who in 1913 was the superintendent of Wanganui hospital. Dr H Hutson died at Greymouth on September 21st 1941. Rev. Hutson was often in the Taranaki papers around the turn of the century especially when in 1903 he pursued a libel action after letters to the editor about a sermon he delivered. Have not investigated this episode fully but I do know it was settled and the Rev was awarded the sum of three hundred pounds. Also round this time the Rev himself wrote frequently to the press with his views and complaints.
Later in his career the Rev bought a charge of heresy against another minister over views expressed in a publication of the time. The church allowed the Rev to prosecute the case but when it came time to vote the charge was defeated by 111 votes to 2. Reverend Hutson was a strong advocate of the then fledgling Labour party and his name is often found associated with political rallies of the time. In 1922 the Reverend Benjamin Hutson retired and the Presbyterian church named a hall after him in Harrison Street Brooklyn and celebrated the occasion with a plaque dedicated to the Rev and praising his work especially amongst the youth.
I am pleased to say that the Hutson Hall still stands on its original site in Harrison Street and that the plaque to the Rev is still attached to the wall after the halls recent upgrade. I believe the original history was wrong in naming the 1929 meeting as being at Hudson Hall. I think that in 1929 in Hutson Hall the Brooklyn Presbyterian Cricket Club, maybe with the encouragement of their cricket loving Presbyterian retired minister went back to being the club the Rev played for. The Rev came to Brooklyn in 1909 and although I cannot support it with evidence, at this stage, I would like to think that the Rev played more than just the two times I have found after all nobody can make the papers every week and maybe the Rev was also present at the ‘well attended’ fundraising concert of 6th September 1912.
The Reverend Benjamin Hutson stands third from the right.