Known as the Southern Tasmanian Cricket Association from its inception in 1866, the overall records of team members reflects the nature of matches at the time, as does it reflect the fluid nature of player movement between clubs. Three clubs, Break o’Day, Derwent and Wellington contested the early years of the competition.
The 1866/67 – 1875/76 team is highlighted by the selection of captain Sir John Davies (pictured). On the cricket field Davies was a regular Tasmanian representative, making his first-class debut against Victoria in 1871. Off the field Davies was a prominent member of the Hobart community at the time. Davies became a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, Mayor of Hobart, and being the son of John Snr. who was co-founder of The Mercury worked at the newspaper for many years.
Charles Butler claimed the highest score in the competition’s short history, 191* for Break o’Day against Derwent in February 1976. Break o’Day scored 359 in their first innings off just 67.4 overs, before dismissing Wellington for 35 and 138. Only two centuries were scored for the decade, the first being by Derwent’s William Walker who in January 1876 score 117 but his side lost the match to Break o’Day by seven wickets.
Butler’s 1875/76 season was the most prolific for any individual batsman, amassing 374 runs at 62.33. Break o’Day’s Crawford Maxwell also enjoyed the 1875/76 season, claiming an equal-high 39 wickets at 9.90 and the second most runs for the season behind Butler with 304 at 50.67.
Edward Butler has the dominant bowling records of the decade, claiming 247 wickets for Break o’Day and Wellington at the miserly average of 8.84. Described as a fast but sometimes erratic bowler, Butler also played 10 first-class matches in his career.
In November 1869 Richard Barnes claimed the first 10-wicket haul in an innings in the competition’s history. Playing for Wellington against Break o’Day Barnes claimed 10/35 in Break o’Day’s second innings total of 115.
Premierships were first awarded in the 1869-70 season, with Wellington successful the first two season, followed by Derwent winning three in a row, before Break o’Day broke through for back to back titles.
The competition grew in its second decade with New Town joining in 1879 and Lefroy in 1883. But it was Wellington that dominated the period, winning six of the ten premierships including five in a row from 1881/82 to 1885/86. Wellington’s success was reflected with its representation in the team of the decade for the period.
Three players, Edward Butler (captain), Charles Butler and Henry Bayly were named for the second decade in a row, whilst a young Ken Burn makes his first appearance. Burn first played for Wellington as a 17 year-old in 1883 and went on to become one of Tasmania’s most decorated Test and First-Class cricketers.
Also selected is George H Bailey, the great great grandfather of current Tasmanian Tigers and Hobart Hurricanes captain George J Bailey. Bailey played during four seasons of the decade, scoring 1264 runs at an average of 63.20, including a new competition record high score of 227* for Derwent from a total of 494 against Break o’Day in November 1880. That season (1880/81) Bailey set a new record for the most runs in a season, 560 at 93.33.
Charles Butler was the most prolific batsman of the decade, scoring 3006 runs at an average of 34.55. Butler scored eight centuries during the period, the highest being 178 in February 1877 for Break o’Day against Derwent.
Two bowlers surpasses the 200 wicket mark in the period, Henry Bayly who was regarded as Tasmania’s best bowler in the 1870’s with 241 and Tom Kendall with 217. For Wellington Kendall claimed 35 or more wickets in a season for four successive years, 44 in 1882/83, 50 in 1883/84, 43 in 1884/85 and 35 in 1885/86. However, Thomas Ryan set a new mark for the most wickets in a season in 1884/85 with 52 for Derwent.
Kendall had previously been a member of the Australian team in the 1st Test match played at the MCG in 1977. His cricket career was rescued by Sir John Davies who brought him to Tasmania in 1880, first as a coach and then as an employee at The Mercury newspaper. The left-arm bowler liked it so much he married, raised a family and spent the remainder of his life in Hobart.