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[By Wallaby.] Prior to Monday afternoon last the reputation of Otago representative -cricket was at a very low ebb indeed. And justly so in view of their displays against Canterbury and on the first two days of the Wellington match. The wonderful recovery on Monday was the pleasantest surprise wo have had since the memorable draw with Auckland in 1908, and deserves more than a word of commendation, for it undoubtedly saved the season’s northern tour from being a dismal failure. The main feature of the innings was of course Crawford’s recovery of his lost batting form. His score of 178 not out was a great one in the circumstances. It was no fireworks display either, but a sound cricket-like innings, as may' be proven by the fact that during the three and a-half hours (approximately) be was at the wickets he scored 178 out of 351 runs, or almost exactly half. Furthermore, he took two hours and five-minutes to reach his century. So far as wo can judge from the report, Crawford gave but one -chance, when—as the Press Association man says—“ he raised one of Southall’s to the deep slips ” and was missed. Shortly afterwards he “ nearly went out through an unfinished run ’’ —whatever that means. Eight bowlers were tried, but J.N. defied them all, and remained unbeaten at- the finish. He hit one 5 and twenty 4’s, and his partnership with Bruges, Bell, and Eckhold produced 83, 72, and 165 respectively. Eckhold also deserves praise for bis innings of 60 not out, made in an hour and a-half. The Grange batsman is one of the few who possess the right temperament for such a situation as that which existed when he joined Crawford; he would not be in the least perturbed. Bruges may be acclaimed as one of the successful batsmen of the tour, for he failed but once—in the second innings against Canterbury. I attribute his success to the fact that he played his usual game instead of dropping into defensive tactics, as the other naturally-aggressiye batsmen appear to have done. Bruges is not a finished, bat, but he has proved that he can get runs against good bowling. His 67 against Wellington was got in 75 minutes.

“Mr Sundries ” helped Otago's score along considerably with a contribution of 55. The Basin Reserve outfield is fast, and a fieldsman would not have much chance of stopping any of Robinson’s fast ones that got past the wicket keeper. Drawn games are never satisfactory, but in this rase Otago's great effort, which resulted in staving off defeat, provided an interesting finish in the three days’ play. Apart from this one big effort, however, the result of the tour has been distinctly disappointing. In three innings out of four our batsmen signally failed, and it remains for our coach, who has had opportunities for seeing where the defects lie, to .set vigorously to work, not only to teach the younger players to make correct strokes, but {if this is possible) to instil into them tho confidence necessary to success in big cricket. Our batsmen fail time after time because they alter their game when they play in rep. matches, and treat all bowling, good, bad. and indifferent, with absurdly exaggerated respect. “ Stay there and the runs will come” is a good enough maxim, but our men are ns a rule content to stay without attempting to punish the loose stuff that is sent down to them. This weakness is invariably recognised and commented upon by Otago’s opponents, and the opinion expressed that “more runs .should have been made off tho bowling.” 1 have hoard it many times.

I am told by a Dunedin cricketer who saw Midlane’s innings of 222 not out that tho rims were got by beautiful cricket. His off play, especially behind the wicket, whore most of the runs were got, was superb, and the unfortunate bowlers wore never given the slightest hope. After passing' the 200 the Wellington man is said to have given a difficult chance to ■wicket-keeper Chadwick, but that was the only blemish, and he carried his hat through tho innings. The ovation which he received on leaving tho field was thoroughly deserved. Crawford, who began so well by getting the first four wickets for 34 runs, suffered pretty severely afterwards, and fiTiis'ned AvitVi five for 143 oft 40 overs. It is difficult to believe that J. N. Crawford. one of the finest bowlers in Australia during the past two seasons, could be scored off to that extent by the Wellington batsmen, and I was inclined to think that his side must have troubled him. His subsequent big innings, however, disproves that theory. My informant, quoted above, says that the Otago howling was undoubtedly good right through, but tho Wellington hatting was so sound that our attackers could make little impression. Watson, who sent down only 31 halls, captured three wickets for 15. It was one of those performances that prompt the question, “Why wasn’t he tried before? 1 ' —the question of the wise o tics, after tho event.

One of the moot keenly disappointed men in. the beam will be lickhoff. I did think the Opoho man would get a few wickets on t.our and help Crawford in his big task; hut ho comes back without a single scalp, while his bowling cost the side 143 runs - . So much for club form. But KckhofT is not the only on© of the team who failed to reproduce, club form. Watson was a keen disappointment, his four innings yielding 9, 9, 1, 11. Sit'd©berg also tailed to register a double-figure average, and Gal land only just succeeded in doing so by virtue of his 27 in the first innings against Wellington, Shepherd, after *His brilliant performances during the first half of the season down here, was expected to make at least one big score, but he was never allowed to get far. Alloo as a bat and a bowler was something of a “passenger.” Fo got no wickets for 91 and scored 2, 1, 4, 0. There is this much to be said of him, however: bo is an excellent field Chadwick and Ramsden failed in batting, but were useful in other directions This does not leave many successes ; indeed, Crawford, Bruges, Eckhold, and Bell were the only ones to make anything like a respectable showing. Amongst the bowlers Crawford stood alone. The decision by which Siedeberg was dismissed in tho second innings against Canterbury was, 1 am told, a very bad one., tho batsman not fritting within many inches of the ball. Boxshall appealed I’cr the catch, whereupon the. bowler (Hickmott) called out “No, no.” The umpiro (Ashby) upheld Boxsha.ll, however. Hickmott afterwards expressed regret to Siedeberg for the, palpably wrong decision. In the recent match at Christchurch Crawford, it is said, was particularly keen on capturing Ecese's wicket, and very nearly did it with tho first ball ho sentdown* to him, the Canterbury skipper just keeping it out of his wicket and no more. The next delivery was too good even, to do this with, and. Reese’s slumps were spreadeagled. By the way, Reese has always been a “good thing” for Crawford. Only once, I think, has the Canterbury man. made runs against him, and that was in Adelaide during tho tour of the New Zealand team, when Reese got his century. But it was whispered that on that occasion the bowlers “eased off,” for a while at any rate, to give the Moorilanders a chance to put on a few runs. The Plunket Shield match between Canterbury and Auckland provided a line fighting finish, and in getting dose on. 300 for nine wickets in a fourth innings the shieldholders deserved to win. It was a remarkably even match right through, there being only 4 runs difference in tho first innings totals, while Canterbury only got the winning runs in tho second innings when the last mm was at tho wickets. Ton of the ©Won batsmen in Canterbury’s second strike reached double figures, the eleventh (Boxshall) facing not out. Even “Mr Extras ” got 23. Hickmott was top scores- in both innings with 63 and 56. The contest between Canterbury and Wellington should be a keen and interesting oneThe performance of tho Canterbury bowler A. W. Thomas in taking eight wickets for 99 in Auckland’s second innings was a very fine one indeed. He sent jlown 4S ’over% 20 of which were maidens^

and clean bowled four of his victims, two others being out. Ibw. Thomas ateo did useful work with the bat, making 41 and

Local matches -will be resumed next Saturday, -when the second round of senior matches' •will begin. There will be two first grade games at Cansbrook, the A playing the Colts and B the Grange. Opoho visit Culling Park and Dunedin engage Albion on the North Ground. In the course of a iunior match in Melbourne a batsman named Bose made a hit chan out of the ground, the ball landing on the head of an unsuspecting citizen who raj in a garden close by. I often wonder somebody inside or outside the North Ground docs not get badly hurt with a cricket ball.

The question of the necessity or wisdom of entertaining visiting cricket teams crops up with the con-plaint against the Canterbury officials of having treated the. Otago team and the officials accompanying them with scant courtesy. I am inclined to think that the northern provinces rather “ smile tip (heir sleeves” at us down here for the care wo take to look after the various bands of cricketers who visit us. Oertainly the Otago tennis never receive (nor do I say they expect) anything like the same kindly hospitality that we so-called 11 Scotchmen,” In our simplicity, love to lavish uponi our visitors. But we count ourselves fortunate in having in our midst a gentleman whose hobby is cricket-, and whose whole-hearted generosity stops at nothing that is likely to foster the game. This gentleman happens also to hold the highest officii;! position in the New Zealand cricket work!, as well as being at the head of our local governing body ; and we who follow and support the game in.-Dunedin certainly look to those holding office in other centres to at any rate extend the ordinary civilities to him, even if the ‘'smaller fry” and the players are left- severely alone. Failure to do this touches our loyalty to our chief and arouses a feeling of resentment. Mr House has suggested that the Otago people should suspend their judgment in the matter until the return of our team and their manager, but the statements of those already returned, and the corroboration of those statements by Mr Clark himself, is, I consider, amply sufficient to convince us that there was something lacking. Kven the crack State eleven of Australia (New South Wales) can be slack in the field. I notice that in the South Australians’ second innings Mayne and Pellew, their opening batsmen, should each have been out twice in making tiie tirst 10 runs, all four being actual chances. What a wonderful supply of good cricketers New South Wales has to draw upon, to be sure! Several of their leading men were not available for the recent trip to Adelaide and M elbourne, but both matches were won without much difficulty. What is still more satisfactory, from a Sydney point of view, is that no fewer than six of the eleven who did battle for the State in the Sheffield Shield contests were colts under 25 years of ago. Victoria has had a bad run in -Shield matches, holding the trophy only once in something like 14 years, and being last on the list for the pash six years. In New South Wales professional couching has been done away with, arrangements having been made to carry out the work with the aid of leading players, and on a purely amateur basis. Amongst the players assisting in this way arc M. A. Noble, F. A. Jredale, A. Diamond, A. -I. Hopkins, C. Cl. Macartney, S. E. Gregory, and Warren Bard si ey. who take a week in turn at coaching the- colts. R. B. Minnett put up a line performance with, the ball for New South Wales in the first innings of Victoria, on Boxing Day. He look eight wickets for 50 runs off 24 overs, .Randell, in the flips, catching three off him. Of the performance “Felix,” in the ‘Australasian,’ says; “ Minnett’s bowling in the first innings was remarkably successful, but I think the VliQtorians should have shaped at it better than they did. The breeze undoubtedly aided him in getting on the .swerve.” The weather and wicket for tihs time-honored fixture were not good, and the game lasted only two days. New South Wales winning by «x wickets.

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CRICKET NOTES, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915

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CRICKET NOTES Issue 15693, 6 January 1915

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