A hidden gold nugget from the past

Sports correspondent & historian
with Sideline Sid

One of the real joys of being an amateur sports historian, is when a hidden gold nugget from the past is found, repolished, and then displayed for a new audience.

Last week, when surfing through papers past to gather information on the initial years of the BOPCA Williams Cup, I stumbled on a cricket feat that defies belief.

A Press Association report that appeared in the majority of New Zealand daily newspapers on the 19th December 1932 stated, "There was a sensational finish to a representative match between the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty teams at the weekend, when J Hinton bowling for Rotorua, dismissed the last five Bay of Plenty batsmen with five successive deliveries".

Today a hat-trick (three successive wickets) is greeted with great applause - so how does one begin to describe five wickets from five successive balls?

Delving back into the papers past, cricket history of the early 1930s reveals the tale of the beginning of the Bay of Plenty Cricket Association as we know it today and a local player that could hold his own with the best of his time.

In 1932, there were two regional cricket bodies that claimed the Bay of Plenty Cricket name.

The Bay of Plenty Cricket Sub-Association, dating back to the very early 1900s, was based in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, while the Bay of Plenty Cricket Minor Associations, believed to have been formed in 1921 in Rotorua, held a relationship with Tauranga cricket.

During 1931, the Bay of Plenty Cricket Sub-Association applied to the New Zealand Cricket Association for affiliation, with the 1931 AGM minutes showing "the number of affiliated associations increased to 23 with the addition of Bay of Plenty".

February 1932, saw a match between a Bay of Plenty side drawn from Whakatane, Waimana, Te Teko and Matata, play a Rotorua representative team. The match was dubbed a selection trial, to select a Bay of Plenty side drawn from the two associations, to challenge South Auckland for the Hawke Cup.

The first Bay of Plenty game recognised by the New Zealand Cricket Association was the Hawke Cup match against South Auckland, where JC Hinton became BOPCA player number six.

It was very much a learning experience, being several notches up from Bay of Plenty club games, when the fledgling Bay side squared off with South Auckland at Seddon Park in Hamilton on the 26th and 28th March 1932.

The home side batted first, and set Bay of Plenty a big batting challenge when they were eventually dismissed for 333. Bay of Plenty were bowled out for just 59, in their first turn at bat, with J Hinton recorded as being their top batsman with 14 runs.

It has been impossible to find the first names of JC Hinton, as the custom of the time was to show just christian name initials of players, and in some cases just surnames.

The Bay of Plenty representatives performed better in their second innings being bowled out for 171, but suffered an innings and 103 run defeat.

It was to be four years before a Bay of Plenty representative team played their next match, with the Hawke Cup Direct Challenge being JC Hinton's sole Bay of Plenty appearance.

My philosophy about sporting history, is that how can you go forward if you don't know where you have come from, which has driven this Sideline Sid piece.

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