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Club History

Last updated Saturday, 10 October 2010

The origin's of the Union Cricket Club go back to 1876, with the Tradesmen's Cricket Club. Over the following years the Tradesmen's C.C. would be known as Trades, United Trades , and then Union in November 1880. However in the mid-80's, when a real (more likely imagined) military scare with Russia threating to invade New Zealand, the Tradesmen's C.C. formed with the Tradesmen's Racing Club, the Capulet Cricket Club in 1885-86. Tureka was a Cricket Club based on the Excelsior Rugby Club and Railway workers and was formed in the 1898-99 season. Both of these clubs would be founding members of the North Otago Cricket Association in 1899, with Tureka becoming the first club to win the Senior competition after an undefeated season in 1899-1900. Records indicate that Tureka would repeat this feat in five seasons later in 1904-1905. Capulet despite good numbers during theĀ 1880's slowly started to struggle and withdrew from the competition in May 1908.

The Union Cricket was founded in 1909 with the combining of the two Takaro Park clubs, Capulet and Tureka. With cricket at a low ebb in 1909 a meeting was called to form a club. It was decided to call the club United but at the following meeting this was changed to Union. According to research done for the clubs centenary in 2009 a Mr D W Rosie was elected treasurer, who worked for the Union Steamship Company, and subs were set at five shillings. Union played its first known game against the North Otago Farmers Co-Operative Association at Takaro on Thursday 21 October 1909 and recorded a win by 40 runs. The scoreboard was:

Vs North Otago Farmers Co-Operative Assoication at Takaro Park on Thursday 21 October 1909
Union 119
N.O.F.CO-OP 79
The team and individual performances
C Rivers 1 wicket, R King 12, J Matryn, A King 48 not out & 4 wickets, J Gibson 21 & 1 wicket, D Rosie, G Bain, Hurndall, Knights, P Bateman, F Couper result: a win by 40 runs

The 'A' team started Union's winning tradition playing five matches, winning three, and losing one against the Albion club, Dunedin. The 'B' team lost to St Paul's Bible Class by one run.

At the time of the clubs centenary in 2009 it was lucky to have the original minutes book from 1909. The following was copied from the inside cover of the book mintues book (this article was orginally taken from a newspaper on Thursday 22nd of September 1910):


Union Cricket Club
The Union Cricket Club held its first annual meeting last night, when Mr R Wood presided over an attendance of more than 25 members, all of them enthusiatic, so that the clubs prospects this season are good.
After the report and balance-sheet (previously published) has been adopted, officers were elected as follow:- Patron, his Worship the Mayor (Mr R. Milligan); president, Dr Orbell, vice-presidents, Drs Douglas, Garland, M'Adam, and Whitton, Messrs E.P. Lee, T Williamson, and W. Mowbray; captain, D W Rosie; deputy-captain, C Stagpoole; secretary, H L P Bateman; treasurer, D W Rosie; coach, A H King; auditors, Messrs R King and A Keith; committee- Messrs A Aing (A King?), J Martyn, G Bain, A Keith, with the captain, deputy captain and secretary. The Borough Council wrote granting the club permission to play on Takaro Park. The opening day was fixed for October 6, and the Match Committee was instructed to arrange as many matches as possible for the season. Twenty new members were elected.
A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr R King, the retiring secretary, also to Mr Wood for presiding at the meeting.

It took the club only 10 years, in 1920-21, to first win the North Otago Senior Competition. However for parts of the 1920ties Union struggled to provide a Senior team and only provided Junior teams in 1924/25 and 1925/26. This did not stop the club from winning the Borton Cup four years in a row from 1928/29 to 1931/32. The club was originally based on Takaro Park but was transferred to King George Park in the 1915-1916 seasons.

Timeline of Early Union (taken from Union Cricket Club - Abbreviated History from 1909)

1909
Cricket in Oamaru had become defunct, prohibition had told its tale. A meeting was called in November to all interested in forming a club. From a small attendance a club was formed to be called UNITED. A further meeting was called with better attendance, the name was changed to UNION.
1910-11
The first AGM was held at Mowbrays Tearooms on September 21st. Patron Mr R Milligan (mayor) President Dr R.S. Orbell.
The Oamaru Borough Council granted permission to play on Takaro Park. Subs where seet at 5/-.
1911-12
AGM on September 19th at Mowbrays Tearooms
Senior subs 7/6d Junior 5/-
1912-13
Owing to the unsatisfactory state of the books the correct financial statement could not be tabled.
The Secretary to write to the High School and Oamaru for more Regular matches, and to Albion C.C. Dunedin, congratulating them on their 50th Anniversary.
1913-14
AGM at the Queens Hotel.
Subs senior 10/- Junior 7/6d opening to be held at Takaro Park.
Of five local matches we won four and lost one, we also played against Seacliff Sports club at Seacliff.
1914-15
Owing to the loss of several players who had volunteered and left for the war it was considered useless to organize the club during the present season, so no Annual meeting was held.
1915-16
King George Park first used for cricket, a match between Union and Oamaru.
A King had the honour of hitting the first ball onto the pavilion.
1919-20
AGM held at Ongley & Bulleid office.
No annual report was read as the club had not officially operated since the 1915-16 season on account of the war.
Subs, seniors 10/6d juniors 7/6d
1920-21
Subs senior 25/- junior 15/-
Clubs assets two half lengths of matting, one set of wickets, three pairs of pads, two not in good order, one good, several damaged bats and three balls.
Cash credit balance £ 3.11.11d.
1921-22
Union won the senior competition.
1922-23
The club had 38 members
The club won the senior competition and the junior won the Dell cip.
Other matches played were Celtic from Timaru, Palmerston, a Combined Country team and Tokarahi
1923-24
Recommend that the N.O.C.A. make some define effort to contest the Hawke Cup next season.
1924-25
The club is in a very strong position, assets are £ 44.11.8d. liabilites nil.
1925-26
Mr F W Ongley awarded life membership of the club.
1926-27
The club moved to donate £ 2.2.0d to the borough council towards the cost of Triplex mowers.
1927-28
Mr A North moved that players doing the most work be given preference to others. Albion had its first win over Union.
1928-29
Club membership of 40.
During the Xmas holidays the club travelled to Waiwera, South Otago and played games against Clydevale and Waiwera.
1929-30
Subs were over 21, 30/- 18 to 21, 20/- under 18 15/- subject to an additional 2/6d if not paid by December 1st.
1930-31
A friendly game was played with the ships team of S.S. Rimutaka which proved to be more of a social event than a test of cricket ability. Patearoa paid a visit early in the season, the club endeaviured to return the hospitality shown to our boys the previous season.
Unbounded hospitality was shown to our boys at the Easter Tour of Central Otago.
A club dance was held towards the close of the season.


Union Junior Eleven 1920/21
back row:~ A.V Young, C. Granger, L. Havey, S.G Holt, H. Robertson, H. Benson, W.R McNaught, J.L Sinclair
front row:~ C.E Crone, A. North (Captain), R Maddox

When King George Park (KGP) was taken over by the Union Cricket Club the building was in a very bad state of repair and much work was needed. In the thirties the pavilion was partly destroyed by fire, as a young boy had run away from home and been using it for shelter. He had knocked some candles he had used for light at night and set the place on fire. The club lost all gear, mats, nets, mowers ect. With no insurance those days the club faced a heavy loss.


Senior Team 1930/31
Winner Borton Cup
back row:~ C.G Meikle, A.S Blair, H. Robertson, J. Robertson, S.A Robbie, W.H Tonkin
front row:~ A Gutteridge, W.L Burrows, J Maddigan (Captain), R.W McDonald, E.D Brown

Union wasted little time to win the Borton Cup after WW2 returning the cup back to KGP in 1947-1948. However over the next few decades the Borton Cup was to be dominated by the Oamaru Cricket Club, who had many skillful players and at one time former New Zealand captain John Reid. But over the years Oamaru started to lose its hold on the competition and other clubs started making headway and become more competitive. In this time period the Borton Cup made a visit to the club 13 times of which Seniors won the Borton Cup/Duck Hunt double 5 times. The lower grades provided a number of highlights with the Junior team winning the J Dell Cup for the first time in 1963/64 and then successfully defending it the following year. Union continued be strong and the next time period, while at times not showing in the trophy cabinet, showed that the club was still as competitive as ever.


Union Senior Reserve 1991/92
back row:~ G.R Cameron, M.J Douglas, A.L Bain, G.I McCurdy, B.R Hiscoke, D.A Meikle
front row:~ I.F Pali, M.R Hunt, P.R Cameron (Vice Captain), G.D Hiscoke (Captain), C.T Bain, G.B Kenworthy

During the period from the 1990ties to present day Union, despite a downturn in the playing numbers in the region, has continued to be strong in the North Otago competitions. Its Senior team has won the Borton Cup 6 times and with the introduction of a final during the 1993/94 season has played in the finals other than 1994/95, 2004/05, and 2007/08.


Neville Donaldson & 100 Games Players 25th Febuary 2006
This marked Donaldson 200th Senior game
Back Row:~ Robert (Bob) Pile, John Crombie, Dennis Johnston, Robert Coates, John Smyth, Glynn Cameron, Peter Cameron
Front Row:~ Neville Donaldson, Russell Payne

The club’s strength can not be indicated by the senior team only as in the lower grades Union has provided some very competitive teams. In the Senior Reserve competition the club has had at times have provided two teams for this grade and has in the past few seasons managed to have a second grade side.

This period also saw club members Duncan Drew, who also played for Otago against the touring English, and Neil Rushton become the first players to make Otago first class honors.

As Union celebrates its 100th in 2009 it looks to be in a strong position for the future being the only club in the region to own its clubrooms which overlook its playing fields and the harbor.

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