The selection of the CTPL Teams of the Decade for the 1886/87-1895/96 and 1896/97-1905/06 periods is highlighted by the inclusion of two legends of the competition, Ken Burn and Charles Eady.
Burn was a compact, solidly built right-hander who was Tasmania’s finest batsman in the period prior to the Great War and a useful bowler. Born at Richmond, Burn played country cricket before he was encouraged by John G. Davies to move to the Wellington Club and in 1884 he was chosen in the Tasmanian team to tour New Zealand’s South Island under Davies’s captaincy.
Burn was chosen for the 1890 Australian tour of England in unusual circumstances, selected as the reserve keeper despite never having done the job. Burn found English conditions difficult, but he played in both Tests during a very wet summer. In 1892 he became captain of Tasmania, a position he held for nearly twenty years. He was lucky to have players like Ted Windsor and his mate Charles Eady at his disposal along with his own batting skills, which did not lessen with the years.
In club cricket Burn was phenomenal. He amassed 9,584 runs at an average of 67.49 across the twenty year period from 1886-1905, including 29 centuries and eight double centuries. Burn also took 302 wickets during the period, in which he mostly played with Wellington, with eight matches played with East Hobart in 1905/06.
In 1892/93 Burn surpassed the competition’s highest score record set by George H Bailey scoring 262* for Wellington against Derwent. Burn surpassed this record in February 1899, scoring 365* carrying his bat in a team total of 702 also against Derwent. Burn continued to dominate against Derwent scoring 361 the following season in November 1899.
During the periods Burn also featured in two partnerships which remain competition records. In February 1895 Burn and Louden MacLeod set the third wicket partnership record of 357 for Wellington against Break o’Day at the TCA Ground, with Burn scoring 247 and MacLeod 108. Following this in March 1896 Burn partnered GW Reynolds scoring 329 for the fourth wicket record also at the TCA Ground against Derwent. On this occasion Burn scored 213 and Reynolds 117.
Burn also became the first player to score over one-thousand runs in a season, scoring 1,155 at an average of 165.00 in 1899/00, a competition record which stood for exactly one-hundred years when surpassed by University’s Tony Daly in 1999/00.
Charles Eady was one of Tasmania’s greatest sportsmen, with cricket being his most successful sport. Born in Hobart in 1870, Eady began playing cricket at about fourteen years of age when he joined the Lefroy Cricket Club. Eady made a name for himself against Victoria in Hobart in January 1895 when he scored 116 and 112* in Tasmania’s victory, a rare win for the island. This was the first time a century in each innings had been achieved in Australian first-class cricket, and only the fourth time overall. His efforts put him on standby for the Australian team in the summer’s Ashes series, but he missed Test selection.
Eady earned selection in the Australian team for the 1896 tour of England where he won a place in the Australian side for the First Test. Despite losing, Eady emerged as the team’s best bowler, but a side strain injury kept him out of action for a number of weeks following. Eady was again chosen in the Australian team for the Fifth Test against England in 1901-02. He again bowled well to take 3/30 and was unfortunate to miss selection for the 1902 tour.
Eady continued to play for Tasmania until back trouble and advancing years led to his retirement in 1908.
Eady’s club cricket career is highlighted by the competition record innings of 566 for Break o’Day against Wellington in the 1901-02 final. He batted for 473 minutes and struck 67 fours and 13 fives in a team total of 908. The innings included a partnership of 429 for the seventh wicket with WA Abbott, who also scored 143. The partnership was a competition record for any wicket until surpassed in 2010 by Clarence’s Wade Irvine and Jon Wells with a partnership of 438.
During the twenty-year period from 1886/87 to 1905/06 Eady struck 8,447 runs at an average of 55.21, and claimed 660 wickets at 12.57.
A lawyer by profession, Eady was elected to Tasmania’s Legislative Council in June 1925, joining his old teammate, former Australian captain Joe Darling. He remained a Member for the rest of his life, becoming President of the House in 1944.
Eady died in Hobart on 20 December 1945; at the time he was the President of the TCA in his 52nd year of service to the Association. In recognition of his contribution to Tasmania he was granted a State funeral at Hobart’s St. David’s Cathedral. Such was the attendance that several Hobart streets had to be closed off. The Premier, the Speaker of the House and the heads of cricket and racing were among those who carried the old cricketer’s coffin.
Break o’Day’s Charles Butler enjoyed a long and distinguished career in club and representative cricket, and is selected for a third successive decade. Butler scored 5,966 runs across the three decades at an average of 28.68. Butler was made a Life Member of the Tasmanian Cricket Association in 1912, as were other Teams of the Decade players from the first four decades Edward Butler (1906), Sir George Davies (1907), George Bailey (1913), Charles Eady (1920) and Ken Burn (1921).
Premierships were evenly shared between Wellington (4), Break o’Day (4) and Derwent (3) in the 1886/87 – 1895/96 decade (one premiership was shared).
In the 1896/97 – 1905/06 team, Wellington’s George Gatehouse gained his third successive selection as he continued to be one of the most prolific batsmen in the competition. In November 1900 Gatehouse along with Osbourne Douglas set a competition record partnership for the sixth wicket of 370 for Wellington against Derwent at the TCA Ground. Gatehouse scored 6,058 runs across the three decades at an average of 35.02. Although not selected as the wicket-keeper in the teams of the decade as he did not regularly keep in club cricket, Gatehouse was Tasmanian wicket keeper for many years scoring one first-class century.
Three 10-wicket in an innings’ occurred in the decade. Eady claimed 10/70 in 1898 and 10/44 in 1906, whilst Wellington’s Richard Sams took 10/56 against New Town in 1896.
On 4 August 1905 the introduction of a district based competition was authorised and in October the existing clubs disbanded. A pennant competition with three grades of competition was implemented between four district clubs – North Hobart, South Hobart, East Hobart and West Hobart.
Break o’Day were the dominant club of the decade winning six premierships, Wellington three and North Hobart one.